Men’s Soccer: Forwards providing offense, physical play

By Melissa Turtinen, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts men’s soccer team’s hard work paid off last weekend against Boston University and can only hope for the same offensive success taking on Siena Saturday afternoon.

The Minutemen (1-1) have three goals this season, all of which came in the double overtime win against BU on August 31. The offense isn’t much of a concern for UMass coach Sam Koch; recently in practice the Minutemen have been working on defense due to the graduation of two star defenders, Kenny Cook and Doug Rappaport. The scoring seems to come more naturally for the Minutemen.

“[We’ve] got four really good front runners,” Koch said. “Everybody has a different personality and a different way of playing.”

The starting forwards, juniors Bryan Hogan and Mark DeSantis, are known for their scoring ability and strong physical play. Hogan, the leading returning goal scorer from 2007, is a good target on the attack and is skilled in ball control.

“[Hogan] is a clinical finisher when he is playing well,” Koch said.

DeSantis has a strong left-footed shot and is very hard to stop when he gets open. Both DeSantis and Hogan have had a scoreless season so far, but are expected to tally up points in the upcoming games.

On the other hand, senior reserve Prince Ofosu had two goals against the Terriers; his first multi-goal game of his career. Having him able to put a few more balls in the back of the net is key for the Minutemen. Ofosu is known for his speed and ability to hold on to the ball, and being paired with freshman Chris Roswess has brought more speed to the team’s offense. Ofosu has improved his passing game and ability to move around defenders.

“[Ofosu has] certainly been a nice burst of energy for us when he goes into the game,” Koch said.

Christopher Roswess, besides his speed, is good with the ball and seeing the field. He is able to find people who are open and get in a good position to take shots.

“All four of them have a little different mix to them,” Koch said.

Another strong attacker that UMass can turn to is Michael Jenja. The junior hasn’t seen much time on the field yet this season, but is a good target when he gets into the game. He positions himself on the back post or inside the 18-yard box, which allows him to finish chances that other people wouldn’t get to.

Koch later added that with so many options at forward he just doesn’t have the ability to give them all the playing time they deserve.

The diversity between the attackers will contribute to the success of the Minutemen this weekend. The difference between the starting forwards, with their power, and the reserves, with their speed, allows the dynamic of the attack to change and the offense to be controlled by the Minutemen, another advantage the Minutemen will have over Siena.

Melissa Turtinen can be reached at [email protected]