UMass men’s soccer tops Fordham for second win of season

By Adam Aucoin

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

A pair of early goals was all it took for the Massachusetts men soccer team to beat Fordham 2-0 on Sunday.

UMass (2-12-1, 1-4-1 Atlantic 10) wasted no time in taking control of the game with a goal in the sixth minute by midfielder Mark Morris, his third goal of the season. The score was assisted by senior Josh Schwartz.

The Minutemen extended their lead with a goal 13 minutes later by freshman Matt Mooney, who took a shot off the left post and into the corner of the net.

“It gave us a lot of confidence,” O’Neill said of the early two-goal lead. “We have been very slow to start in a lot of our games recently, so a game like today is a great sign for our team going forward.”

UMass seized its early and never looked back, shutting out the heavily favored Rams (5-8-2, 2-3-1 A-10). Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Taylor Culp stopped 22 shots, seven of which were on goal, en route to his first career shutout.

“I thought (Culp) had an outstanding game in goal today for us,” O’Neill said. “Fordham really stepped up their pressure late and he made some excellent saves. I really love how he has stepped up for us recently and he was incredibly instrumental in keeping a clean sheet today.”

A play of note late in Sunday’s victory was a red card awarded to Minutemen defender Matt Keys in the 74th minute. Keys was ejected for inadvertently jumping into Rams’ goalie Sean Brailey on a ball up the field that Brailey charged in on. Keys was booked despite the unintentional contact. He will now be ineligible to play in UMass’ next game on Thursday as well.

“He’s our leader. He organizes us defensively,” O’Neill said. “To lose anyone is difficult and we had to realize it was going to be tough to stop them a man down. I’m proud of my guys for fighting hard in a tough situation.”

Fordham took control of the game late with the man-advantage and had a few good scoring opportunities, all of which were stopped by Culp.

“Fordham made a strong push in the second half,” O’Neill said. “They pressured us hard so I give my guys all the credit in the world for being able to stay tough and protect the lead.”

O’Neill said he knows there are still many steps to take to get back into the A-10 race, but he said the victory gives him confidence moving forward.

“We showed great signs offensively today,” O’Neill said. “We were clicking and everyone was finding the right guy at the right time. Games like these are great to build on going forward.”

The Minutemen play next on Thursday on the road against UNC Asheville at 5 p.m.

UMass falls to first-place URI Friday

UMass fell to A-10 leading Rhode Island 4-1 on Friday.

The Minutemen played the Rams (10-3-3, 6-0-0) tight in the first half and outshot them 9-7 for the game. But URI’s Ryan Oakley put the Rams on the board first with a goal in the ninth minute.
UMass tied the game with a goal by Schwartz in the 33rd minute. The goal was his fourth of the season, a team-high for the Minutemen.

The Rams pulled away in the second half with three unanswered scores. Rhode Island regained the lead in the 49th minute when Dante Lamb put a shot past the Culp. Lamb added another score later in the half for the Rams.

The Minutemen almost answered these goals with one of their own, but a shot by Lenoir Sery caromed off the crossbar.

The win kept Rhode Island undefeated in A-10 play this season.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected]