Minutewomen not concerned with overtime games at the moment, preparing for game against Northeastern

By Tom Mulherin

(Jeff Bernstein) Women's Soccer vs. Temple
(Jeff Bernstein)
Women’s Soccer vs. Temple


After losing two of the three games in its first home stand of the season, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team looks to find success on the road, as the team begins a four-game road trip, beginning with a matchup at Northeastern on Thursday.

The Minutewomen (2-3-1) enter their second road trip of the season with a decent road record of 1-1-1, with two of those games going into double overtime. Extra-play periods have in fact become a theme for UMass this season, as five of their six games have gone beyond regulation, and four have carried into double overtime.

Of those games that have reached overtime, the Minutewomen have fared slightly well in the “sudden death” scheme with a 2-2-1 record. Normally, the frequency of overtime games in the beginning of the season would make a cause for concern, especially when UMass is two overtime games away from reaching its season’s total from the previous year of seven. In head coach Ed Matz’s case, however, he says that overtime does take a toll on the girls, but is not quite a concern for the Minutewomen just yet.

“It’s not a concern for us physically because we’re in fairly good shape,” Matz said. “Our depth has helped us in overtime games, especially this last Friday where it was close to 90 degrees, and muggy against Cornell. Mentally and emotionally, sometimes [overtime] might be playing on their minds, but no I’m not too concerned with it right now.”

This year, depth has served a big contribution to how well the team is playing. Matz has said in the past that he sometimes doesn’t know what the starting lineup will be for the next game because of how deep the team’s talent pool is. In UMass’ five overtime games, Matz has worked the lineup so that at least 16 girls played 20-plus minutes in the game. Most other teams don’t have more than 15 girls getting those minutes, and two pairs of fresh legs can make a world’s difference.

Despite their good start in overtime games this season and Matz‘s lack of  concern, the Minutewomen are looking to avoid those kinds of games in the future.  Matz believes that the frequency of overtime starts to give a player the mindset that close games will go into overtime, so he thinks that the team would be better off without it.

“I would just like to win in regulation,” Matz said. “We need to be more confident when we have a lead. It’s like a double edged sword; when we’re down we have the confidence to score a goal to get the game into overtime, but we have to have that same confidence when we are up a goal. Overtime is goal to goal, and is just a tough way to win or lose a game.”

The defense this year has looked strong for UMass. In its six games, the team hasn’t surrendered more than two goals in any given game, while the struggling offense has only scored more than one goal in a game once. Heading into Northeastern, Matz expects a very tough game to start off the road trip. Even with how different the outcome is with the two sides of the ball, Matz says he has put his focus on improving the defense even more.

“Northeastern is a very good team,” he said. “This is going to be a very tough game, and I think we have our hands full with this matchup. We’ve had very few shutouts this year. I’m concerned with the one or two mistakes we are making that led to goals in our team defending. Ultimately it’s costing us wins, we have a tough month ahead of us.”

Tom Mulherin can be reached at [email protected]