Growing pains continue for the Minutemen in 4-1 loss to the Wildcats

By Nick Souza

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(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team continues to struggle early in the season, suffering its third loss against an undefeated New Hampshire team.

The Minutemen (0-3-1) continued to show their growing pains in a 4-1 loss to the Wildcats (4-0-0) on Tuesday, not only suffering from some offensive issues, but also demonstrating some uncharacteristic lapses on the defensive end.

“I think we just weren’t switched on at times, and a lot of their goals came from us not being fully focused at times and we ended up giving up some goals we shouldn’t,” freshman forward Andrew Barrowman said.

Producing scoring chances was a problem for UMass, as they were outshot by UNH 27-7 over the course of 90 minutes. The Wildcats also managed to generate nine corner kicks to the Minutemen’s three.

“You don’t want to be caught up in islands separating the front, middle and back end,” Barrowman said. “Sometimes you just need to connect on a few passes, open up the gaps and get some space, and that’s something we need to do more.”

The heavy shot disadvantage UMass faced began early on in the first half, with the Minutemen mounting just one shot and one corner, while UNH managed 13 and seven respectively in both categories.

Despite being under heavy duress, goal keeper Jorge Becerra and the defensive back line for UMass managed to keep the game scoreless through the first half with just two of the Wildcat shots landing on goal.

The scoring did not open up until the second half, when midfielder— positioned at forward—Samuel Asamoah bested goal keeper Andrew Pesci to the ball off of a pass from teammate Alex DeDantis to give UMass a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.

However, that lead was short lived. Wildcat midfielder Jackson Dickson buried an equalizer less than 30 seconds later.

“That’s a very common theme. After scoring a goal sometimes you end up on a high and you just forget about the game,” Barrowman said.

A miscommunication between Becerra and a fellow defender led to UNH’s second goal in the 60th minute. Becerra collided with a teammate after making the initial save but Wildcat forward Chris Arling buried the rebound.

UNH would finish the contest with four unanswered goals, capped off by midfielder William Picoux’s goal in the 69th minute to wrap up the 4-1 victory.

“I think they just broke us down over time,” UMass head coach Fran O’Leary said. “It takes a large effort when you spend most of the time chasing the ball, and I think our effort was tremendous, but our quality came through at the end.”

While the score line looks like a tough day at the office for the Minutemen—and in many ways it was—O’Leary still maintained a positive attitude about his team and the direction they are heading in.

“We just keep getting better,” O’Leary said. “We were in a similar situation last year and we still finished strong at the end of the season and our team didn’t fracture. We have a good group of guys here.”

The Minutemen will look to right the ship on the road this Saturday against Boston University with the opening kick set for 7 p.m. in Boston.

Nick Souza can be reached at [email protected]