Physical play from La Salle causes injuries

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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This weekend’s pair of games for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team brought mixed results and emotions, as well as a few bumps and bruises.

The Minutewomen began their Atlantic 10 schedule on the right foot with their 1-0 victory over George Washington at Rudd Field on Friday afternoon. Despite having numerous scoring opportunities, UMass was only able to break through once. However, the fifth goal of the season for junior forward and leading scorer Britt Canfield was all that it needed to beat the Colonials.

“It felt great to get the game-winner against George Washington,” Canfield said. “They were all over my back the entire game, pushing me down. They claimed they weren’t but it’s nice to get the win.”

The physical play that Canfield had to deal with against George Washington was nothing compared to what La Salle brought to Rudd Field on Sunday. The rough, physical style of play exhibited by the Explorers led to a possible season-ending knee injury, a few stitches, three yellow cards and a 3-1 La Salle victory.

Early on in the first half, UMass junior defender Tina Rodriguez went down hard after making a cut. The hard rain never let up during the entire contest, and the conditions were conducive to slipping. The severity of her injury is not yet known, but UMass coach Jim Rudy was visibly concerned.

“I missed it,” Rudy said. “But I could hear the yell. Anytime you see someone go down and nobody else is around it’s usually the knee. [Losing Rodriguez] is emotionally a big loss. I thought we dealt with it fairly well but it did loosen up the back.”

Rodriguez wasn’t the only player to get banged up for the Maroon and White. Junior defender Christina Nunes got elbowed in the face, and blood was visible on her jersey. She will need a few stitches.

Junior midfielder Jenny Roehrig, freshman forward Sydney Stoll and Canfield were also all victims to the physical play.

“We knew coming in what we were getting,” Rudy said. “This was very physical and it wasn’t pleasant. The official apologized after the game for giving out the yellow cards a little late. They play hard, physical, and in your face. No apologies. It was a hard game that was just under violent.”

Despite the difficult loss, Rudy believes his team will battle back and be able to use this game as a rallying point for the rest of the A-10 contests.

“You certainly hope so,” Rudy said, when asked if the loss could spark a turnaround performance in the upcoming league games. “These games really define who you are. It’s a tough loss since we were at home and playing against a team with a losing record. We’ll bounce back.”

Rudy wasn’t the only one who believed that a game like that could rally the team.

“We definitely should have won that game,” Roehrig said. “But we just have to put it behind us. We still have eight games left in the A-10’s. If we play like we did against Connecticut, we can beat anyone.”

Senior co-captain Nadia Villarroel was positive that this game could be used to motivate the team against conference foe Dayton.

“I absolutely think that will be the case,” Villarroel said. “We’ll look at the video and see what went wrong and what we were doing right. I don’t like making excuses for losing. I hate losing. I think it’s the worst feeling in the world. You have to learn from why you lose and make things better. We’ll have a day off to rest because we got banged up but we’ll get right back to work.”

Recent history also shows that the Minutewomen are adept at rebounding from a hard-fought defeat. They lost the season opener against New Hampshire and then managed to rip off six consecutive wins. Following their second loss of the season to Vermont, they were able to take out their frustrations on George Washington.

The Maroon and White will look forward to Friday for its home game against the Flyers. Rudy will be hoping his team responds just as it has the first two times.