Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Dayton buzzes by UMass soccer Saturday night

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Daniel Maldonado/Daily Collegian

(Daniel Maldonado/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team saw its four-game unbeaten streak come to an end Saturday night at Dayton, as the Minutemen were doomed by three Flyers goals in the first half of a 4-1 loss.

Malik Schoonderwoerd had an explosive offensive performance in the first half for Dayton (9-4-2, 4-0-1 Atlantic 10), scoring a hat trick in the first 29 minutes of the game to give the Flyers a commanding lead early on.

UMass’ lone goal on the night came from midfielder Ty Goncalves in the 66th minute of the game. It cut the lead to 3-1 and gave the Minutemen some offensive momentum, but a response from Dayton came just eight minutes later as Anthony Keene iced the game, extending the lead to 4-1.

“We had a handful with a very powerful team, probably the best team in the conference,” UMass coach Fran O’Leary said Sunday. “We had two or three chances to make the game interesting, but we just couldn’t get that second goal.”

The loss dropped the Minutemen to 4-11-1, but more importantly moves them to 3-2-1 in A-10 play. The top eight teams in the conference qualify for the A-10 tournament at the end of the season, and UMass currently sits in seventh place. However, they are four points clear of falling out of the playoff picture and just three points out of first place.

Dayton opened the scoring quickly in the second minute of the game, as Schoonderwoerd tallied his first goal of the night by heading home a free kick. He knocked in another header in the 13th minute, and capped off his hat trick in the 29th minute by beating goalkeeper Jorge Becerra from right in front of the net.

“On a couple of occasions, we didn’t defend the box well,” O’Leary said.

Saturday’s loss was the first time in four games the Minutemen conceded more than one goal, as they had tightened up defensively since the start of A-10 conference play.

The defeat was another one on the road for UMass, who has struggled away from Rudd Field this season. O’Leary talked last week about how his team needed to translate some of their recent success into wins on the road, but the 4-1 loss against the Flyers dropped the Minutemen to 1-8 on the road this season. At home, UMass has been playing considerably better with a 3-3-1 mark.

One day after the game, O’Leary said the team had already moved on from the loss.

“The Dayton game is gone now. We’re focused on George Washington,” O’Leary said Sunday.

The Colonials will be the next matchup for the Minutemen, and they are another top team in the A-10, currently standing in second place.

With just two games remaining in the regular season, Saturday’s matchup at George Washington isn’t a must-win game for UMass, but it’s close. Any type of positive result, even a draw, would be a big boost to the Minutemen’s postseason chances.

The regular season finale will then be Nov. 7 at home against Fordham, another team in the A-10 playoff picture in third place. That game will be at Rudd Field in Amherst and will kick off at noon.

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RossGien.

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