Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer earns double overtime draw against Central Connecticut

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Coming off a defeat to No. 24 Rutgers that ended in controversial fashion last weekend, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team responded well Friday with a 1-1 double overtime draw against Central Connecticut State to open the Yale Classic.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, UMass sophomore Gabriela Kenyon tied the game in the 42nd minute, marking the first goal of the season for the Minutewomen (0-2-2) and Kenyon’s first career goal.

UMass coach Ed Matz said he was pleased with the way his team battled against the strong Central Connecticut (2-0-1) squad and said Friday’s performance was  a good sign for its offense.

“We created a lot of opportunities,” Matz said. “We probably created the better opportunities and we just didn’t finish. Probably the most opportunities we created this year.”

The game-tying goal came as a result of strong passing from the Minutewomen. The play began with a pass from sophomore Danielle Farano to junior Laura Johns after both players came on as substitutes.

Johns then delivered a nice cross to Kenyon who finished the play off with the goal. Farano and Johns both earned assists on the play.

“It was a nice team play and you don’t see a lot of double assists in college so I was glad that they gave her one,” Matz said.

After waiting 330 minutes for the team’s first goal of the season, Matz said the Minutewomen were relieved to finally put one in the back of the net.

“When you’re dealing with young athletes, the longer you don’t score, the more it plays on your mind,” Matz said.

“You hit a post and you hit a post and players begin to think that nothing is going to go right for them. I know that when we got that goal it was a collective sigh of relief from the whole team and it was just a great feeling for the goals.”

The Blue Devils opened the game’s scoring with a 28th minute goal from sophomore Jennifer Cafferky, who scored courtesy of a corner kick. Tallying five corners in the first half, Central Connecticut took advantage of its size to score its lone goal.

“We’re not an overly tall team and we’re not a team that’s great in the air, so giving up a lot of corners is playing with fire for us,” Matz said.

Matz stressed the issue of preventing corners with the team during halftime and was pleased with the team’s response. After allowing five in the first half, the Minutewomen didn’t allow another corner through the final 65 minutes.

With the rash of injuries the team has suffered to begin the season, Friday’s game saw many Minutewomen playing out of their normal positions. In particular, senior captain Georgia Gibson shifted from the outside to center defense.

“I thought Georgia was outstanding,” Matz said. “She was a team leader, she was there when we needed her and I thought Georgia played exceptional today, especially for a position that she’s never played before.”

Junior Megan Burke was also forced to switch positions, moving from forward to midfield.

“Moving to a position that she has probably never played her whole life, I thought she did very well,” Matz said.

The team faces a quick turnaround as they wrap up the Yale Classic with a match against the host team Bulldogs on Sunday. The match is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]

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