UMass women’s soccer explodes for four goals in win over URI

By Adam Aucoin

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

It didn’t take the Massachusetts women’s soccer team much time to heat up Sunday afternoon, despite playing amid falling flurries of snow and howling wind on a brisk 42-degree October day.

The Minutewomen needed all of two minutes, to be exact.

After giving up a quick goal one minute, 53 seconds into its game against Rhode Island, UMass took total control en route to a 4-2 win at Rudd Field. Four different Minutewomen scored goals for the second straight match as UMass (6-5-3, 3-2-1 Atlantic 10) earned its second straight victory.

UMass coach Ed Matz saw the early goal by Rams freshman Taylor Ross as a wake-up call for the team.

“I think we came out waiting for something to happen,” Matz said. “We have some very competitive kids and we don’t like to get scored on. The goal came off a bit of miscommunication between our defense and goalkeeper, so I think that kind of pissed them off and changed their play.”

From that point on, UMass scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into halftime.

The Minutewomen got on the board for the first time in the 12th minute when junior midfielder Julia Weithofer beat URI goalkeeper Katie Nickles from 12 yards out. The goal was her second of the season.

UMass added its second score 20 minutes later to take the lead on a shot by freshman forward Erin Doster, who also had an assist on the day and led the team with six shots in 62 minutes of play.

Laura Johns and Jackie Bruno then added insurance goals in the 37th and 61st minutes, respectively.

The Minutewomen outshot the Rams 27-to-7 in the game and held the advantage in corner kicks 9-to-0. In its last two games, UMass has scored eight goals combined. In the other 12 games, the Minutewomen have scored 11 total goals.

Doster believes UMass needed this offensive resurgence after its troubles on the road last week where the Minutewomen went 0-2.

“We were really disappointed in how we played last week at George Washington and George Mason,” she said. “We had a lot of pent up frustration and we used that to have a really good week of practice this week and that led to us playing well.”

A major factor that led to the UMass win was the physicality the team played with. Matz believes this gritty play is something that is necessary to the team’s success.

“Any team I ever coach, we play the same way, with a chip on our shoulder,” Matz said. “We come out with the mentality that we won’t back down and that we are going to defend our field. That is just how we play.”

URI scored its second goal of the game off the foot of junior midfielder Ellie Bailes in the 52nd minute. The Rams’ loss is their 10th in a row after starting the season 3-1-1.

Sunday’s game was also the “Think Pink” game to spread awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Minutewomen wore pink socks and the field lines were colored pink in accordance with this effort.

With only four games left in the regular season and in conference play, Matz has set some goals for his team in the remaining slate and is looking for the Minutewomen to impress on the road as they enter a three-game stretch away from Rudd Field. The first of the three is Thursday against Duquesne.

“I told the girls it’s great to be known as a great home team but we want to be a good team wherever we play,” Matz said following a huddle with the team after the game. “Our goal is to prove that and in order to do that we need to win in tough place to play in Pittsburgh Thursday.”

Thursday’s game starts at 7 p.m.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34