The Massachusetts women’s soccer team used a dominant defensive performance to grind out its first victory of the season on Sunday, taking down New Hampshire 1-0 in Durham, N.H.
Senior Brittany Moore scored the game’s lone goal in the eighth minute – her first of the season – which was more than enough for redshirt freshman goalkeeper Danielle Kriscenski, who made five saves for her first-career shutout.
The UMass defense allowed just 14 shots and four corner kicks, further emphasizing coach Ed Matz’s belief that the defense has been the team’s strong point so far this season.
“We have a lot of confidence in our defense,” he said. “Ever since the first game of the year, our defense has played pretty solidly. Kriscenski gained some confidence back there, getting her first win.”
Moore wasted no time putting the Minutewomen (1-3-1) ahead for good. The senior rifled a shot from outside the right side of the box into the top left corner of the net to beat Wildcats (1-4-1) goalkeeper Erica Correa.
Although it took his team five games to get in win column, Matz was very satisfied with his team’s first victory. He pointed to resiliency on the road as the key.
“It was definitely rewarding to the players, especially after playing two games back-to-back on the road (UMass played Providence on Friday) in a short amount of time,” Matz said. “It was a big win for us, and it’s even better getting it on the road.
“We grinded it out, and got a lot of play from a lot of different players today,” he added. “The leaders of the team came together and kept us together to get that win.”
After starting out winless in his team’s first four games, Matz understands how big of a psyche boost Sunday’s victory gave his squad mentally. He hopes the Minutewomen can continue to build on their strong road-heavy weekend as they move in, pointing to away games as essential for his team’s success.
“One of our goals coming into the season was to fight well on the road,” Matz said. To come back here to get the win, it’s certainly going to help us down the road.”
UMass settles for draw
After registering the game’s first goal with just under nine minutes left in regulation, the Minutewomen lost it 39 seconds later and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Providence.
Forward Jackie Bruno broke the scoreless struggle in the 82nd minute. Senior Grace Coombs came up with a deflection near the top of the box which found Bruno who rifled a shot past Friars (2-1-1) goalkeeper Kristyn Shea.
Moments later, Providence’s Amanda Webster’s pass through traffic found teammate Allison Walton, who blasted the free-kick equalizer, tying the game 82 minutes, 9 seconds into the game. . Kriscenski came up with a career-high 8 saves in the contest as the Minutewomen defense continued to display signs of strength for a third consecutive game.
Providence outshot the Minutewomen, 18-8, and both squads each totaled seven corner kicks. The game also saw 37 combined fouls called.
Next up for the Minutewomen is an away game at College Station, Texas, on Friday in an 8 p.m. matchup with Texas A&M.
Joey Saade can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @Jsaade1225.