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UMass men’s soccer shutout Sacred Heart 3-0 behind pair of goals from Alex DeSantis

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

In its second game of the season, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team found the back of the net within the first five minutes of each half, leading to a 3-0 victory over Sacred Heart.

Senior captain Alex DeSantis had a huge game, compiling three points in the win.

The win pushes UMass to 2-0 on the season, marking the first time since 2012 the Minutemen won their first two contests of the season.

It took UMass just 2:41 seconds to get on the scoreboard Sunday afternoon at Rudd Field.

DeSantis sent a corner ball into the box where the towering 6-foot-4 junior midfielder Konrad Gorich headed the ball into the near post. The goal was Gorich’s first of the season.

“(The goal) settled us down a bit,” Minutemen coach Fran O’Leary said after the game. “But all credit to Sacred Heart. They took the game by the scruff and we had our hands full for the remainder of the half.”

UMass extended its lead to 2-0 just four minutes into the second half, on a throw in from the left sideline, deep in the Pioneer (0-2-0) zone. Defender Casey Hamill heaved the ball into the box, grazing Minuteman Davis Smith, before being directed into the goal off DeSantis’ head.

DeSantis’ day wasn’t finished there.

In the 75th minute, Hamill crossed to Matthew Mooney who drew the lone defender to him, before sending the ball to DeSantis who was racing up the right side. DeSantis then rocketed the ball past Sacred Heart goalkeeper Robert Strain into the bottom left of the net for his second goal of the contest.

Hamill recorded two assists over the Pioneers, a career-high for the redshirt junior defender.

“He’s a very good player,” O’Leary said of DeSantis. “Very good attacking players score goals and he’s a very good attacking player.”

UMass dominated the second half of play defensively, not allowing Sacred Heart to get a single shot on goalkeeper Bardia Asefnia, who recorded his first career shutout in the victory.

The Minutemen were sharp on the offensive side, outshooting the Pioneers 10-1 in the half, and 16-9 during the entire match.

O’Leary was pleased with the way his team finished the game.

“We came out with more energy in the second half. We scored a quick one then got a great third goal as well. Our performance in the second half was very good.”

UMass executed well on set pieces throughout the match. They had five corners on the day, and got good looks on each of the attempts.

“A lot of goals in soccer come off of set pieces,” DeSantis said. “We have guys who are good at delivering and others who are good at attacking the ball. It was a good weekend for us.”

“One of our main focuses is always being plus one on set pieces each game,” DeSantis added. “It was good to get that today.”

While the team is surely excited about their hot start, they know they still have a long season ahead of them.

“It’s a big confident boost but we know we’re playing some good teams coming up,” DeSantis said.

The Minutemen will look to continue their winning streak Friday as they take on Columbia at Rudd Field.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Thomas Johnston can be reached at tjohnston@umass.edu and followed on twitter @TJ__Johnston.

 

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