UMass looks for first home win of season against Brown

By Joey Saade

Bryn Rothschild-Shea/Daily Collegian

Coming off its second win of the season, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team will look to start its first winning streak on Thursday when it hosts Brown.

The Minutewomen (2-4-1) put together a comeback performance led by their freshmen to earn their second road win of the season after taking down Lamar 2-1 in double overtime on Sunday.

Performing well on the road was a goal UMass coach Ed Matz set for his team entering the season. The efforts his freshman players put forth in accomplishing a come-from-behind road victory also stood out to him.

“I think all the freshmen are getting more comfortable with our program,” Matz said. “As they gain that comfort and become more confident, it shows on the field. We certainly need them to play well to have a successful season.”

One of those freshmen who came up big in their recent victory was Sarah Pandolfi. The North Haven, Conn., native scored the game-winning goal in the 105th minute, which was her first career goal.

Pandolfi was rewarded for her play this week after being named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week and Co-UMass Athlete of the Week.

Matz praised Pandolfi for her humble nature and hard work so far this season.

“She certainly plays hard, just a lot of hard work and effort,” he said. “The goal she had (the game-winner) was under difficult circumstances, but she kept her composure and scored.”

Brown (2-2) will come into Amherst on Thursday looking to capture its first win in a week after falling to Central Florida, 2-0, on Sunday.

The Bears have come up with only three goals in their four games this season, including being shut out twice. Now, Brown’s offense will have to face UMass goalkeeper Danielle Kriscenski, who enters Thursday with 31 total saves and a .721 save percentage in seven games this season.

Looking for their first home win of the season, the Minutewomen will be in for a challenge against a team they’ve battled in recent years. While the Bears own the 2-1 series lead dating back to the 2010 season, each one of those games was decided by one goal or less.

Matz sees no reason to believe this year won’t feature a similar result between both teams.

“Every single game has been a very close match with them, every result we’ve had could have gone either way,” he said of the rivalry. “It’s going to be a difficult game for 90 minutes, and we have to make sure we do our part and play our hardest.”

As for the Minutewomen’s preparation heading into their matchup with the Bears, Matz’s team treats each scenario the same – taking it one game at a time.

“We’re just focusing on working hard in practice,” he said, “and getting everybody on the same page as far as what we want to do.

“We’re getting there. We’re getting better and better as we continue to move forward.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Rudd Field.

Joey Saade can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jsaade1225