Minutemen unsteady late in games

By Taylor C. Snow

Bryn Rothschild-Shea/Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team came out strong in both games of its first homestand in Atlantic 10 conference play. But in each contest, the Minutemen’s (4-5-2, 1-2 A-10) momentum was halted once the second half began.

UMass allowed two second-half goals in a 2-0 loss to Temple on Saturday and were held scoreless in the second half of both Sunday’s loss and Friday’s 2-0 win over Saint Joseph’s.

“I thought the first half we played well (against Temple); the second half we didn’t,” UMass coach Sam Koch said. “Against Saint Joe’s I thought we played very well in the first half and certainly killed the game as far as having a two-goal lead and playing the game out.”

Despite the loss on Sunday, the Minutemen stunned the first place Owls out of the gate. They knocked seven shots on goal and did not allow Temple to record a shot.

Though unable to net any of the shots, junior forward Brett Canepa and sophomore forward Josh Schwartz put pressure on Owls goalkeeper Dan Scheck as both they got off three and two shots on goal in the first half, respectively.

Going into halftime having outshot the top team in the A-10 and tied, 0-0, the Minutemen appeared to be in control of the match, but once the second half began they ran into trouble and failed to get a shot on goal for the remainder of the contest.

“We didn’t battle at the end,” Koch said. “Whether it was the personnel we had on the field at the end, I’m not sure. … The objective is to improve each week and we took a step back.”

Meanwhile, Temple managed to get three shots on net for the entirety of the game, but UMass goalkeeper Brian Frame could only get his gloves on the ball once, as Temple escaped with the victory despite being outshot on goal by more than double.

It was a similar story with a different outcome on Friday afternoon against the Hawks. In the first half, the Minutemen doubled Saint Joe’s shot total (eight to four) while also scoring twice; but in the second half, the Hawks were even-keeled with UMass, as the two teams recorded the same amount of shots (six) and neither squad scored.

Defense shines on weekend

After consecutive losses to Syracuse and Rhode Island, in which the Minutemen allowed a combined five goals and 16 shots on goal, UMass’ defense appears to be making strides after giving up two goals on six shots on goal for the weekend.

Despite the loss to Temple on Sunday, the Minutemen defense was resilient against the top-shooting team in the conference. The Owls, who average nearly 17 shots per game, got off 12 against UMass, and landed three on goal.

Koch said Sunday’s match could have just as easily ended in the favor of the Minutemen.

“I think when they scored it definitely changed the game and we lost our focus,” Koch said. “We had played well and we had chances. I think if we had scored first it would have been different, but obviously it didn’t happen.”

Frame – who posted his fourth shutout of the season against the Hawks on Sunday, and made three saves on Friday behind impressive defense – had a similar take as Koch to Sunday’s loss.

“I think we had a lot of good chances and I don’t think they outplayed us for a long stretch of the game,” the senior goalkeeper said. “I honestly think it’s just on the scoring end we didn’t take our chances, but by no means did they outplay us today – we were just on the wrong end of the score sheet.”

The Minutemen will meet Charlotte this Friday when they face the No. 22 49ers at 7 p.m.


Taylor Snow can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @taylorcsnow