October 22, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s soccer controls its own destiny as conference tournament approaches -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass soccer deploys new formation with Keys, Jess -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass calling on young swimmers to continue strong start to the year -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WMU, Ohio, NIU pick up wins in busy MAC weekend -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A comprehensive guide to the Ebola virus -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trio of freshmen leading UMass hockey’s offense early in the season -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A guide to comic collecting in the Pioneer Valley -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letter: What’s behind the curtains on Birthright trips? -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FBI director’s fear-mongering view of data encryption is off the mark -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass Permaculture Initiative to add three new programs -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gov. Deval Patrick visits Amherst, awards $1.5 million grant for downtown development -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UHS offers more accessible vaccination clinics as flu season nears -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gamard: Is gluten really bad or just a fad? -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three new students appointed as SGA special assistants -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Allymohamed scores game winner after suffering facial injury against Boston University -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loaded weekend against Marist, Keene State challenges UMass club hockey -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UMass football seeing improvement on both the offensive and defensive lines -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Remembering Derek Jeter: an appraisal -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yellowcard switches things up on “Lift a Sail” -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Campus Sustainability Day to take place Wednesday -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Minutemen to host Hartford in home opener

The start of the season was far from ideal for the Massachusetts men’s soccer team. But a return home could be just what the team needs to finally crack into the win column.

After going winless in their season-opening four-game road trip, the Minutemen (0-3-1) turn their attention to Hartford in their home opener at Rudd Field on Wednesday.

“It’s always nice to play at home, so we’re looking forward to it,” UMass coach Sam Koch said. “More than anything, we’re looking forward to playing the next game, since we’ve been improving over our last few games.”

Taylor Snow/Daily Collegian

During the road trip, UMass squared off against four tough opponents: Evansville, Bradley, New Hampshire and Vermont, but only managed a single draw in its first game before losing the next three.

On top of that, the Minutemen only recorded two goals in all four games, both scored in their last game, a 3-2 loss at Vermont. Although one of the goals UMass allowed against the Catamounts was an own goal, Koch says the other two were due to a lack of focus by his team.

“The two other goals, we just, unfortunately, fell asleep,” he said. “One was late in the first half where we just weren’t set and ready, which is poor game management on our part, where we just didn’t get our number back fast enough and thought it was halftime before it was.

“The second goal, we just got caught out of position on the one area of their game that we warned each other about, which was the counter attack … and for a split second, we fell asleep.”

Now the Minutemen can put the road behind them and focus on taking care of business at home.
Despite the recent down years for UMass, Rudd Field can be a tough place for any opponent to play. Last year, the Minutemen earned four of their five wins of the season at home.

The stakes on Wednesday are higher than a normal game, however: ending a losing streak is on the line.
UMass hasn’t beaten Hartford since 2007, having lost their last four meetings. But that misfortune is behind the team now.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we want to beat them,” Koch said. “Do we have a personal vendetta against Hartford? I wouldn’t say so. … We’re a young team and a lot of our team doesn’t even know who Hartford is. … I wouldn’t say it’s a grudge match or anything like that, more than it’s the next match.”

There is light on the horizon for the UMass team, because heading into the home opener for the Minutemen is the play of freshman goalkeeper Nick Ruiz. Despite allowing a season-high three goals against Vermont, Ruiz has backed his team in every game.
Through his first four games as a college starter, Ruiz has played every minute for UMass, posting a solid 0.848 save percentage and very respectable 1.17 goals against average. His play in net earned him Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Week honors last week and has made him the backbone of a relatively young defensive group.

“There’s no question that he’s done very well,” Koch said. “The first weekend, he handled a lot of shots, but I give credit to his back four in front of him that they did a good job of making a lot of the shots very predictable, which made it easier for him.”
Kickoff for Wednesday’s home opener is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Rudd Field.

Free Giveaways

Hartford-based radio station WKSS is teaming up with Comcast to do a live remote broadcast from Rudd Field for Wednesday’s game. Fans in attendance will have a chance to win prizes, including drawstring bags, sunglasses, CDs, DVDs, water bottles and many more giveaways.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @MDC_Strohecker.

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