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Doster, defense propell UMass past Duquesne

(Collegian file photo)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team shut out Duquesne on the road Sunday, anchored by two goals from junior forward Erin Doster in a 2-0 win.

Doster’s pair of tallies bump her season total up to seven and snap a four-game scoring drought, as the Minutewomen took down a Dukes team that entered the game in second in the Atlantic 10.

The win at Rooney Field for UMass comes as the first in the last three matches, after falling 6-2 and 3-1 to La Salle and George Mason, respectively.

After giving up nine goals through the previous two contests, coach Ed Matz knew that something had to change for the Minutewomen (7-7-2, 4-3-1 Atlantic 10) to succeed come Sunday.

“We knew that Duquesne was [second] in the conference so we knew it was going to be a tough test for us,” Matz said. “We set out on a game plan [Friday] in practice and hats off to the girls, they followed it and were very organized. The goal was to limit Duquesne’s chances and not expose ourselves to anything like we’ve been doing in the last few games.”

Senior goalkeeper Cassidy Babin only had to turn away five shots to earn the shutout in the victory, which was made possible with the help of a complete, team effort on defense.

The Dukes (10-4-2, 6-2-0 A-10) even held a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks in the shutout, but couldn’t break through Babin and the lockdown defense.

“This was a game that we needed to make sure we were all on the same page tactically, and the girls were,” Matz said, “they had each other’s backs. The couple of times Duquesne broke through, [Babin] came up big, but we really limited the quality chances they had. It was very good team defense today.”

UMass didn’t just show up to play on the defensive side of the ball in Pennsylvania, however, as Matz emphasized his pleasure with how the offense, and certain players in particular, were able to effectively move the ball throughout the match.

Doster opened the scoring in the 27th minute, set up by the instrumental play of fellow forwards Jenny Hipp and Sini Laaksonen.

“The first goal Hipp created a great opportunity for [Doster],” Matz said. “She slid the ball across the goal and [Doster] did her job to get to the spot. All she had to do was basically tuck it into the goal.”

Just under 12 minutes later, Doster was back at it again, this time receiving the opportunity off the foot of another freshman, Signe Schioldan, who granted the junior an opportunity on a partial breakaway.

“It was a just a great touch by [Schioldan],” Matz said. “It was a great, composed finish and [Doster] just tucked it in.”

Doster’s two-goal game is the first she’s ever registered in her time with the Minutewomen, and seven of her ten career goals have come this season, in a breakout year. She has played in all sixteen matches for the Minutewomen.

Approaching Thursday’s match on the road with Saint Louis, currently second in the A-10, Matz knows that Sunday’s win over Duquesne was a big one for UMass.

“I think the players now know what it takes to play with one of the best teams in the conference,” Matz said. “We played the number-one team La Salle, number-three [Thursday] in Duquesne and now we got to play number-two.

“I told the girls, ‘If you want to get to the A-10s, you got to try and knock off at least one of these teams,” he added. “And they did that; I think their confidence is up and they’re excited.”

In playing their third straight game on the road, Matz noted the difficulty that the Minutewomen’s schedule provides but, nevertheless, said they’re ready for the challenge.

“It is what it is,” Matz said. “But it’s exciting because the girls have got themselves into this situation with their play and they still control their own destiny, which is awesome.”

Kickoff on Thursday is set to take place under the lights in Saint Louis at 8 p.m., before UMass returns home to take on Dayton and conclude the conference schedule.

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

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