UMass splits road games in Texas over weekend

By Tom Mulherin

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After losing a tough game to Texas A&M on Friday, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team ended the road trip on a positive note, earning a 2-1 win in double overtime over Lamar.(2-4-1)

Taylor C. Snow/ Collegian

Freshman forward Sarah Pandolfi netted her first collegiate goal in the 104th minute of double overtime, placing it over the goalkeeper off an assist from Jackie Bruno to lift the Minutewomen (2-4-1) to the win.

“It was a good shot,” UMass coach Ed Matz said about the game-winning goal. “But I think a lot of it was the heart and determination that we had in the game to get us out with a win.”

Pandolfi wasn’t the only freshman to make her mark in this game, as fellow freshman Daniela Alvarez tied the game on her first collegiate goal, assisted by Pandolfi and senior co-captain Lauren Skesavage. The goal was unanswered by either team, and therefore essentially sent the game into overtime.

After allowing a quick goal to the Cardinals (3-4-0) in just the seventh minute, the UMass defense took over, keeping Lamar scoreless for the rest of the game. The Minutewomen succeeded in limiting the Lamar offense in opportunities as well, holding the Cardinals to just one shot attempt throughout both overtime periods.

While UMass has been held to just two or less goals in all but one game so far this season, the defensive presence of this squad has kept them within reach to win games. By keeping opponents to two goals or less in five of their seven games, Matz has recognized the Minutewomen defense to be an anchor to success.

“The defense is a strength in our team,” Matz said. “Our defense, along with our goal keeper, gives us the opportunity to win every game.”

UMass falls to No. 20 A&M

The Minutewomen lost for the first time in three games on Friday, falling to No. 20 Texas A&M 3-1 in the first of two road matches in Texas.

The Aggies (4-2-1) were clinging to a one-goal lead entering the 79th minute until Shea Groom expanded that lead with a goal from the top of the six-yard box to secure the win. The goal marked Groom’s third of the contest. She also had a team-high nine total shots.

After surrendering two early goals, the Minutewomen  made the game close in the first half when Brittany Moore scored on a chip shot from 15 yards out. The UMass defense then held off the Aggies’ offense until the game-clinching goal by Groom, fending off 18 total shots in the second half.

“I thought we played well,” Matz said. “We gave up two quick goals for them but then we settled in. We came out the first 10, 15 minutes of the second half and played extremely well, but as the game went on A&M was able to get that last goal.”

Despite what Matz’s analysis, the box score tells another tale. The UMass defense gave up 32 total shots and struggled against the Texas A&M offense. Matz, however, doesn’t think sees the statistics as flawed.

“They didn’t really get off 32 shots,” Matz said. “That’s what it says in the score sheet but some of the shots were 15 or 20 yards above the goal or to the side of the goal. Most schools don’t count those.”

Tom Mulherin can be reached at [email protected]