Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass drops first two games in conference play

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegian

It may have been the start of Atlantic 10 play, but the results were still the same for the Massachusetts men’s soccer team.

Despite centering much of its focus on getting prepared for A-10 play following a rocky non-conference schedule, UMass dropped both games over the weekend to Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason.

Sunday’s loss to the Patriots (6-2-1, 1-0 A-10) played out like many of the Minutemen’s (1-10-1, 0-2 A-10) games this season, with the team failing to keep up with the opposition in the second half.

Playing its second road contest in three days, the game was tied late in the second half until Timi Mulgrew and Alex Herrera hooked up for the game-winning goal for George Mason.

In the 82nd minute, Mulgrew took a feed from Herrera in the box and placed it past UMass goalie Nick Ruiz to go up 2-1, a deficit that it couldn’t overcome.

The Minutemen started the game fast, scoring an early goal to put the Patriots on their heels.

In the 19th minute, junior Josh Schwartz delivered a ball into the box that found the head of classmate Matt Keys, who placed it past the George Mason keeper and give the Minutemen an early 1-0 lead. The goal was Keys’ first of the season, while the assist pushed Schwartz’s season point total up to 11.

UMass maintained the 1-0 lead into the halftime break even though it was outshot 5-1 in the first half.

The Patriots wasted little time equalizing at the beginning of the second half, when they tied the game up in the 48th minute. Following the goal, both teams traded opportunities throughout much of the second half, until Mulgrew scored the eventual game-winner.

Despite the close score, the Minutemen were heavily outshot by a 13-4 margin. Ruiz made four saves on the day.

UMass shut out

On Friday night, UMass’ conference opener got off to a rocky start, dropping a 4-0 result at VCU.

It didn’t take the Rams (6-4-1, 2-0 A-10) long to put their mark on the game, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes, forcing the Minutemen to play catch-up the rest of the way.

UMass righted the ship following the two early goals, but as the minutes ticked down in the second half, the Minutemen still found themselves down by two. That’s when VCU took advantage of a couple UMass mistakes and scored two more times in the 77th and 84th minute to blow open the contest.

Aside from the lopsided score, both teams played an evenly matched game in other areas. The Rams outshot the Minutemen 14-10, with both Ruiz and VCU goalkeeper Andrew Wells recording three saves on the night.

UMass will look to right the ship and get into the win column on Sunday, when it hosts Rhode Island in its conference home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Rudd Field.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Strohecker.

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