Early goals sink UMass men’s soccer in loss to Saint Peter’s

By Jason Kates

Collegian File Photo
Collegian File Photo

Three days after its season-opening overtime loss, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team dropped its second straight contest, falling to Saint Peter’s 3-0 Monday afternoon.

It was an early ambush from the Peacocks (1-0) that sank the Minutemen (0-2), with all three goals scored in the opening 25 minutes. Saint Peter’s defender Louis Mobbs began the scoring just one minute, 15 seconds into the game while Ezequiel Cei and Andrew Romero netted the other two at the 18- and 25-minute marks respectively.

UMass coach Fran O’Leary said he was disappointed in the team’s first half performance but chalked the loss up to his team’s fatigue from playing 100 minutes of soccer three days earlier.

“We expended a lot of our energy in our opening game and I thought we looked a little bit tired in the first half (Monday),” O’Leary said. “The second half I thought we gave a very good performance to steady the ship, so I thought we were unfortunate to not get back into the game.”

He added: “We had a few really good chances and we had them on the back foot, but overall I think our first half performance put the game beyond our reach. They were the more rested team, we played an overtime game three days ago and I think that showed in our legs today.”

Despite trailing by three, the Minutemen had chances to get back into the game, most noticeably in the 71st minute when they were awarded a penalty kick. With the chance to cut the lead to two, senior Mark Morris stepped up but his shot sailed wide of the goal.

Bardia Asefnia started the game in net for the Minutemen for the second straight game but was taken out at the half after allowing three goals. Jorge Becerra then replaced Asefnia and made two saves.

With two more games this week, O’Leary said he’s aware the season is still in its early stage and his team will have time to improve.

“If you look at the two games, the key for us is we have to bring energy every time we step on the field,” he said. “It was a great credit to our guys in the first game seeing the energy they brought.

“Moving forward, we’re just gonna have to make sure we’re bright from the start and start on the front foot. We’ve just gotta pick ourselves up and get ready for the next one.”

UMass will return to the field this Friday to take on Columbia at 5 p.m.

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jason_Kates.