UMass women’s soccer ends skid with blowout over Davidson Thursday

By Tom Mulherin

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian
Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Nearly a week removed from losing consecutive games on the road, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team came back home in grand fashion with a 4-0 rout over Davidson Thursday.

The Minutewomen (5-5-3, 2-2-1 Atlantic 10) did the job behind a complete effort, with four different players scoring in the team’s fifth shutout performance of the year. The balanced attack played a key role in the match, as assists on two of the goals helped propel UMass to its highest offensive output on the season.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect behind the scoring burst, however, is how early it came in the game. Coach Ed Matz told the team beforehand to get ahead of the Wildcats (5-9-0, 1-4-1 A-10) quickly for added pressure, and Megan Burke responded with a goal in the 26th minute. The opening tally marked Burke’s third on the year which leads the team.

Not too long after, senior co-captain Rebekka Sverrisdottir added a goal herself in the final minute of the first half to extend the lead. Once noticing a 2-0 advantage by the break, with just one shot allowed on the defensive end, Matz concluded it was the fast start that made the largest impact in the win.

“It energized us,” he said. “I thought we came out and put pressure on them from the very beginning. (The focus was) to come out with a chip on our shoulder, to defend Rudd (Field), and to just put them on their back heels as much as we could and not let them get any momentum. The goals were big.”

While the output from the first half alone would have been enough to secure the win, UMass furthered its dominance with two more goals scored in the second. Alyssa Fratarcangeli and Breanna Robinson registered the scores to all but label the win a blowout, as the offense exploded for a 20-to-4 total shots advantage by game’s end.

Overall, the Minutewomen have been an absolute force at home, sporting a formidable 5-1-1 record at Rudd Field. The game against Davidson wasn’t going to change the high level that they were playing at Rudd Field either, especially since they lost the previous two games on the road.

Matz emphasized that success at home is contagious on his team.

“When a player steps up and you get some good individual efforts, other people will follow,” he said. “We came out, some people gave some really good individual efforts, and it gets our freshman going. Even Breanna Robinson, a senior who hasn’t played a lot, came on and made a tremendous touch on her very first ball she’s touched in a while, and finished it (with a goal).”

Entering Sunday’s next home matchup against Rhode Island, UMass sits in seventh place in the A-10 conference standings with just five games left on the year. If the team wins Sunday to sweep the weekend series, it could move as high as fourth place in the right circumstances. Burke believes it is because of this situation that the girls performed well against the Wildcats, and will continue this level of play.

“We knew we had to win this game,” she said. “We need to come out with six points this weekend, so we came out with high pressure and I think we just worked together as a team.”

“Right now we’re sitting in the middle of the pack in the A-10,” she added. “We definitely don’t want to be in that position, I think we want to prove to other teams that we deserve to be higher. Every game we want to come out and win, so this weekend is big, and the games coming up ahead are big as well.”

Tom Mulherin can be reached at [email protected]