Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Women’s soccer suffers pair of losses to ranked teams

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The disappointment is beginning to pile up for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team.

With over a week of rest to prepare for this past weekend’s trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on a pair of ranked opponents in No. 17 Wake Forest and No. 11 Virginia Tech, the Minutewomen came up empty. On Sunday, they finished the trip with a 2-0 loss to the Hokies that UMass coach Ed Matz thought was a case of letting one too many mistakes come back to bite them.

“We played well enough to be competitive in the match and when you’re playing teams like Virginia Tech, there is very little room for error,” Matz said. “One or two errors and teams like this will capitalize on our mistakes.”

The loss was the third consecutive defeat of the season for UMass (2-4). Of the four losses the Minutewomen have suffered so far, three of them have been served by teams ranked in the Top 20.

Virginia Tech dominated the Minutewomen in the first half, putting together 11 shots on goal, but thanks to superb goalkeeping by UMass goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon – who had three saves in the first half – the team found a way to head into halftime tied at zero.

But in the second half, the powerful offense of the Hokies finally capitalized. In the 69th minute, Hokies forward Jazmine Reeves chipped in the tie-breaking goal off an assist by Katie Yensen.

The Hokies struck again in the 84th minute when freshman defenseman Ashley Meier scored to seal the victory. Reeves and Yensen, who each lead the team with three shots, drove the offense of the Hokies.

For UMass, it was the third straight game in which it failed to score a goal. The Minutewomen only managed four shots against Virginia Tech’s nationally-ranked defense.

Tori Sousa, UMass’ biggest scoring threat, led the attack and created two shots in the game – including a near goal that was batted away by Hokies goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts.

“The offense will improve by playing such high competition,” Matz said. “They’ve been playing teams nationally ranked 17 and under and I feel that this will help them mature very quickly heading into our conference schedule.”

Demon Deacons prevail

Despite a 13-save performance by Gordon, the Minutewomen were handed a 1-0 loss to No. 17 Wake Forest on Friday night.

“Stephanie played outstanding for us all weekend and she gave us the opportunity to win every game,” Matz said. “She was a big reason that we took all of these teams into the second half tied at 0-0.”

Demon Deacons forward Ally Berry headed in the game-winning goal in the 61st minute to propel her team to victory. Berry, a redshirt junior, played a strong game, ripping three shots and two on goal.

The Minutewomen’s struggles on offense were evident in this game as well, as the team totaled just three shots. Without a strong offensive showing, the UMass defense, was under immense pressure all weekend. They played impressively, allowing just three goals over two games to top-tier teams, but Matz said he thinks there’s still plenty of room to get better.

“I think the defense has room for improvement as well,” Matz said. “The learning curve for this team is very high and I feel like our young team will start playing better when the level of competition starts to go down.”

UMass defender Grace Coombs was the only player to get a shot on goal on Friday night. The junior also had all three shots for the team.

Matz said he’s not satisfied with losing any game, but he has taken many positives out of the Minutewomen’s rough weekend .

“We have a very young team this season,” Matz said. “We just need to focus on the positives this weekend and get back to work tomorrow at practice as I still feel we are a threat to our conference.”

Chris Corso can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Corso.

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