Scrolling Headlines:

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

Towson stonewalls UMass men’s lacrosse in CAA Championship; Minutemen season ends after 9-4 loss -

May 6, 2017

Zach Coleman to join former coach Derek Kellogg at LIU Brooklyn -

May 5, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse advances to CAA finals courtesy of Dan Muller’s heroics -

May 4, 2017

Matt Keys continues to shine for UMass men’s soccer

Following yet another shutout loss on Sept. 25 to Syracuse, the Massachusetts men’s soccer coach Sam Koch decided to make a change.

Robert Rigo/ Collegian

Before the Minutemen’s next game against Siena on Sept. 28, Koch moved junior Matt Keys to forward despite spending the first nine games as a starting defenseman.

“We needed to do something,” Koch said.  “You have to keep trying different things to keep [the team] focused, to keep them fighting.”

Upon hearing the news, Keys said that he was caught off guard by the decision, but was willing to make the change if Koch thought that it would benefit the team.

“I thought [Koch] was crazy to be honest,” Keys said. “I’ve never played up top before.”

The move to the offensive side of the ball immediately paid dividends. The Minutemen picked up their first victory of the season against the Saints in a game which the offense finally broke through with five goals, one of which Keys assisted on.

Since the position change, UMass has played significantly better on both sides of the earning a 3-3 record following the loss at Syracuse. Keys has consistently been a part of the Minutemen’s success, as seen most recently in his performance on Sunday against George Washington, in UMass’s 2-1 win.

With the score tied at 1-1 in the 85th minute, the Minutemen controlled the ball near the Colonials’ net.  As the ball popped out to an open Keys from around 20 yards out, he set up for a strike that beat diving George Washington goalkeeper Luke Farrell for what proved to be the game winning score.

“Time was winding down and I saw the ball go into the box, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get a head on it first,” Keys said. “So I kind of stayed back outside the 18 and I told Josh [Schwartz], ‘If they head it out, leave it.’”

As planned, the ball was headed back out in Keys’ direction.

“It was in the air and I just shot it,” he said. “I just put it on frame, [to] maybe get a rebound.  Lucky enough, it went in.”

The score marked Key’s third goal and eighth point of the season through fifteen games.  All three goals that he has scored have come since moving up top.

“Ever since we put him up top, he’s just given us a whole new dimension,” Koch said. “I think he’s very hard for other teams to handle. They put a lot of people on him, they have to hold him, they have to really bump him to get him off his game, and I think he bounces off of it pretty well.”

Keys’ contributions have not gone overlooked by his teammates. Freshman goalkeeper Nick Ruiz said that although Keys is missed as a defender in the back, his 6-foot, 4-inch presence is a major advantage on the offensive side when trying to win headers.

“We don’t have enough height up top,” Ruiz said, “so he helps be a target, especially when we’re winning balls up there.”

With three games remaining on the regular season schedule, UMass’ hopes at reaching the Atlantic 10 playoffs are still alive thanks in large part to Keys now being a piece in a revived offensive attack.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusano@umass.edu and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

Leave A Comment