Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Last-second goal salvages game for UMass women’s soccer

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Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian

(Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)

With just 10 seconds remaining in Sunday’s game and trailing by a goal against Richmond, Massachusetts women’s soccer forward Megan Burke didn’t have much time to think as she rushed to take a corner kick.

“I was nearest to the ball and I just tried to hit it the best I could,” Burke said.

Burke’s quick cross then found the head of senior defender Rebekka Sverrisdóttir, who knocked it in the goal with three seconds left in regulation, sending the game into overtime and the UMass (4-3-3) bench into frenzy.

Sunday’s back-and-forth game against the Spiders (3-6-1) ended in a 2-2 draw, extending the Minutewomen’s unbeaten streak to five games. With both of its goals coming off corner kicks, UMass took advantage of the lack of height on Richmond’s roster.

“They were short,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “Richmond was a short team, but we have been working on (headers). I think the last goal was just scored with a lot of heart and determination.”

UMass struck first in the 63rd minute when junior Alyssa Fratarcangeli’s shot deflected wide to earn a corner kick. Senior Jackie Bruno then delivered a nice cross into the box and senior Danielle Farano finished the play with a headed goal.

The goal came after a missed chance in the first half when Minutewomen Bruno delivered a lob pass in front of senior Madison Smith right to the edge of the penalty area.

Smith won the race against Richmond goalkeeper sophomore Katie Brennan to the ball and ripped a shot that was saved and deflected straight to redshirt freshman Marissa Milazzo, who missed the open net wide left. Milazzo has missed some time this season with a hip flexor injury.

“That’s a ball that should have been finished,” Matz said. “Whether she was a little bit rusty or her technique just wasn’t that good, that’s a play that she should finish and when she gets a couple full weeks of practice in her and more conditioning, hopefully she’ll finish that.”

The Spiders’ first goal came courtesy of Lexi Prillaman just minutes later, off an assist from Ashley Riefner. The two caused havoc in the UMass defensive zone all day.

Besides the assist, Riefner made multiple impressive runs to put the Spiders attack in a position to score, but finished her crosses. Prillaman threatened to score nearly every time she touched the ball before converting in the 67th minute.

“(Prillaman) was a handful whenever she got the ball,” Matz said. “I thought we gave her too much space and too much respect.”

Richmond then took the lead on poor defensive play by the Minutewomen. After a failed cross by the Spiders, UMass missed multiple opportunities to clear the ball out of their zone.

Instead the ball found freshman Keaira Clark about 18 yards out and she delivered a perfect shot into the top right corner of the net in the 86th minute, setting up the late heroics from UMass.

“It was a great shot, it was a very good shot,” UMass goalkeeper Cassidy Babin said. “But at the same time, it was something that could have been prevented.”

Sunday’s draw wrapped up a four-and-a-half-week home stretch, with the Minutewomen finishing 4-0-1. UMass now looks to carry its recent success into its road schedule as the team prepares to travel to face George Mason on Thursday.

“There’s so much parity in the A-10 now that whenever you go on the road, the home team’s always going to have the advantage, so we have to overcome that,” Matz said.

“Every game we have from here on out is not an easy match. Every team in this conference is very, very good and it’s very hard to win on the road,” Babin said. “We just have to prepare 10 times better than any games in the past and just have a good performance on Thursday.”

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]

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