Scrolling Headlines:

Providence power play haunts UMass hockey in 6-2 loss -

February 25, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 10 Providence on Senior Night at the Mullins center -

February 25, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

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.

Leave A Comment