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UMass women’s soccer stuns Yale on Marra’s late winner

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team defeated Yale at Rudd Field Sunday by a score of 1-0.

In a fantastic win for UMass (3-4-1), freshman Kelly Marra netted the game-winning tally in the 70th minute, with fellow first-year forward Jenny Hipp collecting the assist.

After 70 minutes of scoreless play, Hipp was able to get control of the ball in front of the Bulldogs (6-2-1) net and took a shot that forced Yale goalkeeper Jane Buckley to make a save.

When the ball rebounded off the body of Buckley, Marra saw her chance and took advantage of the opportunity, putting the ball in the back of the net giving the Minutewomen the only insurance they would need.

UMass entered Sunday’s matchup with the Bulldogs coming off a 2-0 loss to Brown on Thursday that snapped their three game unbeaten streak.

But on a steamy day at Rudd Field with minimal clouds and the sun beating down, coach Ed Matz said that the Minutewomen responded even better than he could have hoped coming off the loss.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” Matz said. “We know we had two tough games against two very, very good Ivy League teams and we were pretty disappointed in Thursday’s outcome. The goal today was to put together two good halves, keep playing hard and to try to get stronger as the game went on. I think we accomplished that.”

Matz continued to praise the team’s performance against a highly competitive Yale squad, relaying how, “it was good to see the freshman connection out there.”

Referencing the play of Marra and Hipp, Matz gave as much credit to the goalscorer, Marra, as he did to Hipp who was able to set it up.

“[Hipp’s] a special player and she threw that ball over by the goal and it took a little bit of a bad hop on the keeper,” Matz said. “Kelly’s the type of kid that has non-stop work ethic and once I saw her breaking for [the ball], I knew it was going to be in the back of the net.”

Marra’s game-winner today comes as her second tally of the season. Her first came a week ago on Sunday when she scored another game-winner in the Minutewomen’s 1-0 win over Holy Cross.

After a tough start to the season and very limited opportunities to score through the first matches, Marra says that the feeling of scoring important goals in big games has been a tremendous shift.

“It’s been awesome,” Marra said. “I think if we just keep working and finishing our chances we’re gonna do really well the rest of the season.”

Most deserving of credit in the 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs, however, is Cassidy Babin in net for UMass.

Babin stood tall throughout all 90 minutes of the match between the posts, making eight saves and maintaining tight control over every shot that came her way.

Marra, appreciative of Babin’s efforts in keeping the Minutewomen in a spot to score for the win, applauded the senior’s play in net.

“[Babin] is awesome, she’s unreal and comes out every game willing to lay everything out there for us,” Marra said. “It’s awesome having her back there.”

UMass, which matched its total number of wins from last season with a win on Sunday, now has just two practices remaining before the start of Atlantic 10 conference play on Thursday when Davidson comes to town.

With the most competitive part of the schedule ahead, Matz highlighted the importance of getting a win before the start of conference play.

“It’s good to go on a good note, get a little momentum and go into practice with a good feeling on Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready for a big home opener,” he explained.

Thursday’s matchup will surely have some extra excitement surrounding it, as Davidson bitterly defeated UMass in 2OT with three seconds left on the clock last season.

According to Matz, “[The team] has that in the back of its mind.”

Kickoff against Davidson is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday at Rudd Field.

Liam Flaherty can be reached at lpflaherty@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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