Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer’s road struggles continue in loss to George Washington

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Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian

Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian

Sometimes in sports, teams run into an opponent that is running on all cylinders and appears impossible to stop. The Massachusetts women’s soccer team faced that reality Sunday in the nation’s capital as it fell to George Washington 1-0.

The Colonials’ victory extended their win streak to seven games, which is the best in the conference at the time. George Washington stands in first place within the Atlantic 10 (9-4, 4-0 A-10)

The lone goal in the game came off a corner kick that Nicole Belfonti scored on off the assist from Brooke Stoller in the 41st minute. The goal was Belfonti’s second of the season.

The loss for UMass (4-5-3, 1-2-1 A-10) was its second in a row and it extended its winless streak to three games.

Minutemen coach Ed Matz felt the one-goal game could’ve gone either way Sunday.

“It was a very evenly-played game,” Matz said. “Both teams were pressing each other throughout the game. George Washington was able to make a play on the corner and took advantage of that opportunity. That was the difference in the game.”

Colonials goalkeeper Miranda Horn faced seven shots from UMass in the game and made three saves. The redshirt sophomore has only given up two goals in George Washington’s last seven games.

UMass goalkeeper Cassidy Babin was equally strong once again in goal, facing 10 shots and making five saves.

The Minutewomen’s defense remained a strong point in the loss and held the Colonials to less than two goals for the first time in their seven-game win streak.

“It was a defensive battle today,” Matz said. “We knew going in that we both had one of the best defenses in the conference, so it was going to come down to who was more opportunistic offensively and they were that team today.”

UMass also limited George Washington’s leading goal scorer MacKenzie Cowley to one shot in her 50 minutes. Cowley came into the game with seven goals, which put her third in the A-10 behind Fordham’s Jessica Widmann (nine) and George Mason’s Sarah Hardison (eight).

Road woes

The last time UMass earned a win away from Rudd Field was a 1-0 double-overtime victory at Bryant on Aug. 28, 2014.

The Minutewomen finished last year 1-6-3 on the road and have produced similar results so far this season, going 0-4-1 in their first five road games.

UMass has mustered only one goal in these five games, compared to the nine goals in its six games at Rudd Field.

Matz admits that he’s cognizant of the Minutewomen’s road struggles.

“It was definitely on our minds going into the game,” he said. “We have played a lot of tough teams on the road and most of our road contests come down to one goal. In our conference, there is not a lot separating each team, so the home team usually has the advantage.”

Despite the loss, competing well with arguably the best team in the conference is a positive sign moving forward, according to Matz.

“We know we can play and compete with these teams,” Matz said. “We just need to focus on getting points in these next couple conference games. I wouldn’t say these upcoming home games are make or break, but it will be important for us to play at the highest level.”

UMass returns to the friendly confines of Rudd Field Thursday when it takes on Davidson. The game will start at 4 p.m.

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

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