In its first road game in almost three weeks and the last non-conference test of the season, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team (6-2-1) pulled out their fourth straight 1-0 victory, this time defeating Dartmouth (2-7-0) on Tuesday night.
The win marks the Minutewomen’s 17th in 22 chances over the Big Green, the last one being in 2007.
Senior Julie Morrissey got the Minutewomen out to an early lead when Dartmouth turned the ball over in UMass’ defensive zone just twenty seconds into the game. The goal was her team-leading fourth of the season. It was Morrissey’s first goal since she had two in a 2-1 win over Elon on Sept. 2. The goal also helped Morrissey exceed both her goal and point totals from last year when she was playing for Cincinnati.
Shortly after Morrissey’s tiebreaker, the first of many corner kicks by Dartmouth’s sophomore defender Kelly Brait came up short, ending in a foul on the Big Green.
UMass and Dartmouth would trade chances for the rest of the first half. The Big Green had a few more opportunities on corner kicks by Brait and UMass had one shot go wide off the foot of Moa Mattson. She was looking for her second goal of the season after getting her first in a last minute victory over Maine last week.
Having trouble putting the ball in the back of the net has been an all too familiar problem for the Big Green this season. In nine games Dartmouth has only managed to score four goals, two of which have come off the foot of highly touted freshman Tasha Wilkins.
Wilkins, a product of Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Ore. – a powerhouse in high school soccer – was named the Oregonian Class 6A State Player of the Year after scoring 22 goals her senior season. She also won two state championships in her time at Jesuit. Unfortunately for the Big Green, Wilkins hasn’t been the complete cure for its offensive woes.
It was more of the same for Dartmouth in the second half, as UMass goalkeeper Emily Cota turned away any chance the Big Green may have had during the game. They aren’t the first to struggle putting the ball in the net when facing UMass, as the Minutewomen defense and goalkeeping have completed four shutouts in a row, all with Cota in net.
Not too much changed in the second half for the Minutewomen either, as Morrissey continued to pepper the Dartmouth goalkeeper with shots. One of them went wide, while the other two were saved and blocked. Mattson and Deanna Colarossi also had chances that either sailed high or wide of the goal.
The UMass defense and Cota continued to stymie the Dartmouth offense through the rest of the game, as Cota saved and blocked a pair of shots by senior Ally Dutton and sophomore Marina Moschitto, respectively.
Cota would finish the game with four saves on five shots on goal, the other shot being blocked by several team defenders. The Minutewomen were outshot by the Big Green , 9-7.
Coming into the game Cota ranked second in the Atlantic 10 in goals-against average, second in shutouts per game and third in save percentage.
This is the sixth time that the Big Green has been shut out in a game this season. Up until Tuesday night’s game, opponents had outscored Dartmouth, 12-4, and outshot them, 118-70.
The Minutewomen will now have to get ready for their conference schedule. Their first challenge will come next Saturday afternoon at Rudd Field against Rhode Island (5-3-1). After that, UMass will hit the road, travelling a longer distance for the first time with games against Charlotte (3-5-3) and St. Louis (2-5-2).
Eric Mansfield can be reached at email@example.com.