Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer ends season with loss to Dayton at home

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

There wasn’t a dry eye on the sideline after the Massachusetts women’s soccer team’s 3-1 loss to Dayton Sunday afternoon on senior day.

UMass (6-8-4, 3-5-2 Atlantic 10) needed a win in its regular season finale to keep its postseason hopes alive but fell short Sunday against the Flyers, eliminating the team from A-10 tournament contention.

The first goal of the game was scored in the 21st minute by Dayton (10-9, 8-2 A-10) midfielder Nicole Waters. Waters added another goal in the 36th minute to dig the Minutewomen in an early first half hole.

The Minutewomen answered back in the second half as freshman forward Erin Doster got her foot on a cross by senior Breanna Robinson. The 47th minute goal was Doster’s third of the season, tying her for the team lead.

The game was tight throughout the second half but was finally put away when Flyers forward Ashley Campbell headed a ball past UMass goalie Cassidy Babin in the 85th minute.

The combination of Waters and Campbell, who each had seven shots Friday, gave the Minutewomen problems throughout the day with a relentless attack on net.

“They are special players,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “Every single time they touch the ball they have the ability to affect the game and make good decisions. You can’t give them an inch or even a half an inch because if you do they are going to make you pay.”

Both teams seemed to come out with an added intensity at the onset of the game. UMass was looking to keep their season alive while Dayton was seeking to improve their playoff seeding.

Matz credited the added intensity to the stakes the game had.

“This game meant everything to us,” he said. “We had to get three points to have any chance to make it into the A-10’s. Both teams had something major to play for so it was two teams battling and it created a really good match today.”

These tensions created a very physical atmosphere for both teams from the first whistle. The Minutewomen had 16 fouls while Dayton finished with 13.

The last hurrah

While Sunday’s loss brought UMass’ 2015 season to an end, it also marked the conclusion of five seniors’ collegiate careers.

Breanna Robinson, Jackie Bruno, Georgia Gibson, Rebekka Sverrisdottir and Madison Smith were all honored before the game.

“Throughout the season, we talk about classes a lot and how seniors play for everything,” Robinson said. “As seniors we try to encourage the younger girls to play like it’s their last game all the time, so we come out and play, instead of just thinking about what we can do next year.

“The end comes quicker than you think.”

One of UMass’ biggest midseason storylines was the loss and eventual return of Bruno. The senior was originally ruled out for the season in early September due to Lyme disease, but she made an unexpected return in early October. The Staten Island, New York, native admits this year was a struggle for her early on.

“The beginning of the year was really tough for me,” Bruno said with tears in her eyes. “I was just happy to come back and play with these girls. As a (senior) class we’ve really been through a lot. We’ve gone through multiple coaches and we’ve had a lot of girls leave the program.”

A sense of family is something that Bruno felt the seniors tried to bring to the team.

“We tried to instill family type feels and make sure all the underclassman felt welcomed,” she said. “We wanted them to be confident players and we wanted to help them become the players they want to be.”

The A-10 tournament will start Nov. 5 in Davidson, North Carolina.

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

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