UMass claims first A-10 win of season

By Anthony Chiusano

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

In a physical Atlantic 10 battle between the Massachusetts men’s soccer team and Rhode Island, UMass used three unanswered goals, including two from freshman Cody Sitton to defeat URI 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Rudd Field.

Araz Havan/ Collegian

With both teams looking to earn its first conference win of the season, neither side was willing to give an inch to the other.

“It’s a rivalry,” UMass coach Sam Koch said.  “It was a must-win for them, as well as a real important game for us.”

The victory was UMass’ (2-10-1, 1-2 A-10) first win in conference play this season and catapulted it up to sixth place in the A-10.

The Rams (2-8-0, 0-3 A-10) opened up the game’s scoring in the 12th minute, when Matt Sykes, Rhode Island’s leading scorer, took a pass from Joey Haught and beat Minutemen goalkeeper Nick Ruiz on the short side with a left-footed strike.  The goal was Syke’s sixth of the year.

UMass responded in the 26th minute when Sitton stole the ball from a Rams defender and promptly capitalized with a goal, tying the game at 1-1. It was Sitton’s first goal and first point in his collegiate career.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to get a first goal,” Sitton said.  “I’ve had my fair chances and I just haven’t been able to finish, so today felt really good to finally get one in there.”

In a game that featured 37 combined fouls and three yellow cards, the Minutemen took advantage of a yellow card given to Jon Cloutier of Rhode Island in the 44th minute. Off the free kick that directly ensued, Peter Alvarenga tapped the ball to set up Matt Keys for the strike, beating the URI keeper to give UMass a 2-1 lead heading into the halftime break.

According to Koch, Keys has been working on that particular shot often in practice.

“He scored on that set piece in training almost every time,” Koch said.  “So I wasn’t surprised that he put it in, but I was very pleased that he did.”

Two minutes into the second half, Sitton continued the scoring for the Minutemen, capitalizing on a rebound that he was able to flick past the Rams goalie, giving his team a much-needed insurance goal.

The offensive output is something that Sitton is capable of, but has been limited this season due to injuries.

“He’s worked hard for us all season, and he’s had a couple of injuries that have held him out,” Koch said about Sitton’s performance.  “He’s a guy that gives everything he has whenever he’s on the field.”

Sitton was just pleased he’s worked his way back and can help contribute to the team.

“Finally being able to come back healthy and having guys behind me encouraging me, it feels really good,” he said.

The three goals scored by UMass stands as its second largest scoring output this season, behind the five goals that they recorded against Siena in their only other win. In the team’s eleven other games, they have only scored four goals combined.

The Minutemen will once again try to start a win streak as they continue their conference play at Fordham on Oct. 25 at 7:00 p.m.


Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.