UMass women’s soccer heads on road to take on Texas A&M

By Tom Mulherin

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Matt Modica/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team hasn’t exactly had the kind of success it was probably hoping for so far this season.

All three of the Minutewomen’s (1-3-1) losses have come by two goals or fewer, as they’ve failed to deliver with the clutch goal late in games despite a strong defensive output.

Since then, however, UMass has finally picked up some much-needed points. The Minutewomen finished last weekend with a tie and their first win of the season to get back on course for arguably their toughest test yet.

UMass heads to College Station, Texas, on Friday to take on  No. 20 Texas A&M, and UMass coach Ed Matz is aware of the challenge ahead to try to extend the win streak to two games..

“We have a very difficult task ahead of us against Texas A&M,” Matz said. “They have been one of the leading programs in the country for attendance, and are ranked in the Top 20 in the country. It’s going to be a difficult challenge for us and hopefully we can go down and continue the trend that we are on.”

Despite the slow start, Matz hasn’t changed his positive outlook for the squad as he watched his team fall in dramatic fashion multiple times.

“I have always had a lot of confidence in this group of kids that we have,” Matz said. “I think we just need to keep playing together and gelling. It just takes time to grow and learn our system and some of the one or two mistakes we made that cost us those games were just learning gains or a little bit of bad luck, but we got through that.”

The Minutewomen certainly showed signs of life last weekend, but Matz respects what the Aggies bring to the field as a nationally-ranked team.

“They are tremendously athletic,” Matz said. “They have a lot of skill players at different positions, they are very good in the air and they have very good one-(on)-one players. There is going to be a lot of different matchups that we have to be concerned about.”

Texas A&M has faced a challenging schedule of its own, taking on a pair of ranked teams already this season.

The Aggies tied No. 9 Baylor on Sunday and opened the season against then-No. 9 Duke and suffered a 1-0 loss, showing their prowess on defense.

However, when asked about a major area of concentration that UMass needs to capitalize on, Matz said that set pieces, particularly corner kicks, are a major focal point going up against Texas A&M.

“Every single set piece opportunity Texas A&M has, we have to prevent them from getting good scoring chances,” Matz said. “We have to continue with our emphasis on defense and it’s going to be a game that we can’t afford to make any mistakes in.”

Tom Mulherin can be reached at [email protected].