Own goal sinks Minutewomen

By Jeffrey Okerman

A two-game winning streak that included two shutouts came to a screeching halt for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team as it fell to Brown, 1-0.

The Minutewomen (4-5) suffered a self-inflicted wound en route to their away defeat in Providence, R.I.

Following a scoreless opening half, the Minutewomen went down early in the second period. A set-piece from Diana Ohrt was delivered into the box, took an unfortunate bounce off a UMass player’s head and ended into the net.

UMass coach Ed Matz saw the own goal as an unfortunate blemish in a game that he thought his side performed well in.

“I thought they played a fantastic game,” Matz said. “We had a couple of good opportunities. We had some shots and a number on target, but it was about being able to put the ball into the net.”

The own goal proved to be the only tally in a game full of chances.

The Minutewomen registered 22 attempts at goal, eclipsing the Bear’s 20 shots. Eleven of those attempts were on target, but none found the back of the net as Brown goalkeepers MC Barrett and Amber Bledsoe combined for 11 saves.

According to Matz it was combination of poor execution and the Bears’ defense that led to the shutout.

“We had some great opportunities to score,” Matz said. “Unfortunately, we let in an own goal, and we had to find a way of getting back in to the game.”

The result spoiled Emily Cota’s strong performance in her third start of the season. The own goal represented her only concession of the season as Cota made seven saves over the course of the 90 minutes.

Starting forwards Tori Sousa and Jackie Bruno led the attacking efforts of the Minutewomen, with four and three shots, respectively, but their collective four shots on target were all thwarted.

UMass’ final away match of its non-conference schedule opened with a flurry of chances. Leading goal scorer Moa Mattsson shot high before Sousa and Bruno put their first shots on target.

A period of Brown dominance then set in, registering all 10 of their first-half shots over a 25-minute frame.

The Minutewomen then closed out the final eight minutes of the half with four shots of their own, but only one found its way on target.

Siena concludes non-conference play

The Minutewomen return to action on Sunday to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule at home against Siena.

The Saints (3-4) will play on one less day of rest, as they take a three-game winning streak into their home tilt with Temple on Friday, an Atlantic 10 rival of UMass.

However, should the result be in Siena’s favor, could have all the momentum needed to spoil the Minutewomen’s weekend.

Following a tough open to their season, Siena has registered consecutive wins against Central Connecticut, Quinnipiac and Vermont, however, its schedule has not featured the caliber of talent that UMass has been pitted against.

Matz knows his team is still young and will need to learn from their mistakes, as well as build on their successes in order to move forward.

“We have a lot of first- and second-year players,” Matz said. “Now, we have to start playing with the urgency of the game, especially as we go down the stretch and get into our A-10 schedule.”

One of those second-year players is Mattsson, who comes into the game leading both teams with four goals on the campaign. Forwards Jen Coppola and Bruno have also registered goals this season and, along with Sousa, will need to form a strong front core if the Minutewomen want to make another run towards an A-10 championship.

For now, it’s just one game at a time for Matz.

“We are just looking to get our record back to .500,” Matz said.

The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Rudd Field.

Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Okerman.