Women’s Soccer: Patry’s header lifts UMass

By David Brinch, Collegian Staff

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With a little over 8 minutes left in the second overtime of yesterday’s game against Holy Cross, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team was on the cusp of its third tie in its fourth overtime game of the season.

With an assist in the first half, senior forward Vanessa Patry had a number of opportunities throughout the game to score, but couldn’t put anything away.

But when the end of regulation came, all of that did not matter.

The Maroon and White (2-1-2) got its first overtime victory of the year when sophomore midfielder Therese Smith took a left-footed corner kick and Patry headed the ball into the top-right part of the goal early on in the second overtime, as UMass defeated the Crusaders, 2-1, yesterday at Rudd Field.

The game was the final non-conference home game of the season, as the Minutewomen will begin a two-game road trip to face Albany on Wednesday and travel to Providence on Sept. 21.

The goal was Patry’s third of the year and team-leading seventh point of the season as UMass recorded its second straight victory of the 2008 campaign.

“Once the ball was lobbed in there, we knew we had to get it in and we did,” Patry said. “We have a lot of primary jumpers in there, so one out of three of us were going to get there and it happened to be me.”

Smith was able to get the corner because of a smart play from freshman forward Natalie Muka.

“[Therese] Smith put Muka through and she got to the end line and played the kid for a corner and I wasn’t sure that the left-footed cross was going to get in,” UMass coach Jim Rudy said. “But she played it for a corner, Smitty [Therese Smith] served a strike and we got Patry on the end of it.”

Despite being exhausted from the long, intense match, Smith was confident that her pass would find Patry because of her versatility with corner kicks.

“We take a lot of corners in games and in practice and I was really tired. I knew I had to get it in and I knew that someone would finish,” Smith said.

Despite the Crusaders record, the Minutewomen knew they were up against a team that was capable of scoring.

“We are just happy to get an overtime win and also to get a win against a team that is much better than their record indicates, and they showed it today,” Rudy said. “They gave us everything that we could handle. We were one goal away from losing this one so this was a tough game for us and a tough game for them too.”

In the first half, UMass again got its offense going quickly and efficiently. Patry took a shot that bounced off the left goal post and into the path of a charging Vanessa Lima, who buried the rebound in the top of the net to put the Minutewomen up, 1-0, with just under three minutes in the game..

“We wanted to go out very quickly before they had a chance to organize and impress their system upon us,” Rudy said.

The Crusaders (0-6-0) did not let up, putting pressure on the Minutewomen defense. They were able to capitalize in the 23rd minute, as junior forward Shelby Stand ripped a shot from the top left corner of the box past a diving Lauren Luckey in the upper right to equalize the game at one.

The Minutewomen picked up the intensity after the goal, while Lima and sophomore midfielders Kelsey Anderson and Ashley Hamel were constantly up field.

Patry almost scored twice in the later parts of the first half, but UMass was not able to put any more goals away.

A scoreless second half and first overtime were characterized by tough, physical play by both teams, especially the Crusaders, who had 19 fouls to the UMass’s 15.

“We sort of expected that, I’ve seen them play before and they compete for everything,” Rudy said. “I tell my kids to compete at the level the official is calling and we tried to do that.”

Even with the one goal, Luckey was solid in net for the Minutewomen, recording five saves in her second win of the season.

The Minutewomen outshot Holy Cross 15-to-13, while the Crusaders registered more corner kicks. But no corner kick was more important than Smith’s for the Minutewomen.

“I think that once I hit it I knew that she [Patry] would be the one to probably hit it in.,” Smith said.

David Brinch can be reached at [email protected]