UMass plays host to URI as it looks to continue streak

By Scott Cournoyer

Having won four games in a row, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team is on fire.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

UMass looks to push the streak to five when it opens up Atlantic 10 play against Rhode Island on Saturday at Rudd Field.

The Minutewomen (6-2-1) grabbed their fourth-straight win Tuesday night, defeating Dartmouth, 1-0, in Hanover, N.H. The last four-game winning streak for the program dates back to 2007, when UMass posted victories against Hartford (Sept. 16), Dartmouth (Sept. 20), Vermont (Sept. 23) and A-10 foe Saint Joseph’s (Sept. 28) to kick-off conference play.

In Tuesday’s game, senior forward Julie Morrissey, who hadn’t scored since Sept. 2 against Elon, put the drought to a screeching halt. Just 20 seconds into the match, Morrissey intercepted a pass in the UMass’ offensive third, drove it towards the net and fired home a shot to give the Minutewomen an early 1-0 lead. Morrissey’s goal gave her a team-leading four goals for the season.

UMass never looked back, playing tough defense and receiving sound net-minding from goalkeeper Emily Cota, who saved four shots.

Cota, who started 13 games for the Minutewomen last season, was inserted into the starting lineup back on Sept. 9 at Harvard. The Green Lane, Pa. native surrendered both goals in the 2-1 loss to the Crimson in Cambridge, but has since then helped UMass to four wins a row with four consecutive shut-outs of Dartmouth, Brown, Maine and nationally-ranked Boston University.

Despite Morrissey’s scoring drought coming to a close, the Minutewomen have seen offensive contributions from both young and older players. Senior co-captain forward Deanna Colarossi, who tallied a team-leading nine goals and 20 points for the program last season, played the role of the hero when she netted home a golden goal in extra time against Brown. Colarossi’s header from a corner kick by freshman Tori Sousa gave the senior her second goal of the year.

UMass has also received help from freshman Moa Mattsson. Mattsson, a Swedish native and member of the U-19 Swedish National Team, scored her first career goal with just minutes to play in the team’s 1-0 victory against Maine.

In the 88th minute, Mattsson rotated and fired a shot from the top-left corner just outside the box from 20 yards out. The goal gave the Minutewomen their second-consecutive win.

UMass is 15-8-0 all-time against URI, with the Rams taking five of the last six meetings and holding the scoring advantage, 11-7.

URI (5-4-1) averages nearly 1.5 goals per game, a significant increase over last year’s total mark (15 total goals in; 0.83 goals per game).

The Minutewomen will look to disrupt the Rams’ main weapon on offense, senior forward Stephanie Santos, who has scored five of her 16 career goals this season.

Santos ranks first on the team in points (11) and shots on goal (14), as well as second in shots (20). The senior has netted two game-winners for URI, coming in victories against Manhattan and Syracuse.

Freshman Dariann Selletti (two goals, five points) and senior Alexis Veith (two goals, four points) will also look to contribute to the Rams’ offense.

In net for URI, the minutes have been shared between freshmen Reilly Lindsey, Ashley Harris and junior Brooke Messier. Lindsey has seen the most on-field action, starting in six games.

UMass looks to grab its sixth conference-opening victory in the last seven years, with the lone loss coming last year when the Minutewomen lost 2-1 to Charlotte at home.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected]