UMass women’s soccer remains winless on road after loss to Duquesne Thursday

By Adam Aucoin

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Judith Gibson-Okunifeff/Daily Collegian

Judith Gibson-Okunifeff/Daily Collegian

Sometimes in soccer, games come down to which team is the most opportunistic in the crucial moments.

Unfortunately for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team, Duquesne was the more opportunistic team Thursday night as the Dukes beat UMass (6-6-3, 3-3-1 Atlantic 10) 1-0 at Rooney Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The lone goal came in the 80th minute off a quick touch pass from Duquesne (8-8, 3-4 A-10) midfielder Abby Losco to sophomore midfielder Linnea Faccenda, who put a shot past Minutewomen goalie Cassidy Babin. The goal was her fourth of the season.

Thursday’s game was largely defined by the defensive play on both sides. UMass came into the game with the third best goals against average in the conference and continued its success, despite giving up the goal late. The Dukes came in ninth in that category but have played well as of late, only giving up two goals in their last four games.

The Minutewomen outshot Duquesne by a large margin in the game with 22 shots to the Dukes’ nine. They also had more shots on goal with a 9-4 advantage.

Matz said he was impressed by his team’s ability to create opportunities in the game.

“We created a lot of opportunities today, but unfortunately they capitalized when we couldn’t today,” Matz said. “We had enough to win today, but we didn’t finish our chances. That is the difference between winning and losing these conference games.”

UMass’ offense came into the game on a roll scoring eight goals in its previous two games. But the backend of the Dukes’ defense contained the Minutewomen’s hot offense well in the game. Duquesne goalkeeper Kyra Murphy stopped everything that was shot at her, with eight saves in the game.

Duquesne also saw strong play from sophomore defenders Emilie Larsen and Veronique Dagenais, who both logged all 90 minutes of play.

Matz applauded the play of the opponent’s defense after the game.

“Duquesne did a great job making our shots difficult today,” Matz said. “We knew this was a going to be a strong battle of defenses and they ended up being just a little bit better than us on defense today.”

The loss for UMass continues a season-long trend of road struggles. The Minutewomen now remain winless on the road with a 0-5-1 record away from Rudd Field. The last time the Minutewomen had a winning record on the road was the 2011 season.

Matz sees this road loss as a missed opportunity for his team.

“This was a game where we had a great opportunity to separate ourselves in the conference,” he said. “By all accounts, we statistically dominated them today, but unfortunately they beat us in the only stat that counts.”

An alarming note for UMass was when junior forward Megan Burke went down with an apparent knee injury in the sixth minute and did not return to the game. She is the Minutewomen’s leading goal scorer with three on the season.

According to Matz, Burke will most likely be out for the rest of the week, but the doctors will decide her status soon.

UMass hits the field next against Virginia Commonwealth Sunday at 12:30 in Richmond, Virginia. VCU is second in the A-10 with a 6-1 record in conference play.

“Every single game we play down the stretch is equally important,” Matz said. “If we want to have success in the A-10 tournament, those are the teams were going to have to beat. VCU is one of the top teams in the league, so we will have to be at our best Sunday.”

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