Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass Soccer earns second win of season in 3-2 victory over Hartford

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 Judith Gibson-Okunieff

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts Men’s soccer team continued their scoring tear Saturday night, netting three goals in a 3-2 golden goal victory over the University of Hartford on the road.

UMass co-captain Ty Goncalves scored a penalty kick in the 97th minute to give the Minutemen (2-6-1) their second win of the season. After a scoreless first half, each team scored twice before the game eventually went into extra time.

“We’ve got a great group of guys, and I know it sounds silly, but we’ve just got to get better every game,” said UMass Coach Fran O’Leary. “We’ve scored something like seven goals in our last three games now, and we’ve got to continue it.”

Coming off a narrow 3-2 loss to Vermont on Wednesday night, the Minutemen were looking to carry over their improved play after rebounding well from a trio of early Catamount goals.

Saturday night’s game was a defensive battle through the first half. After 45 minutes of turnovers and close calls, the teams regrouped and it did not take long for the scoring in the second half to get started.

In the 46th minute, Hartford’s (3-4-1) midfielder Quenton Swift fired a low ball past diving keeper Jorge Becerra at the left post to make it 1-0. It was just the second registered shot for the Hawks, and was the start of a half nothing like the one before it.

Most of UMass’s offense came from the defense, starting with sophomore defender Konrad Gorich who tied the game in the 59th minute with his first career goal off of a throw-in. Ten minutes later, senior defender Josh Jess scored a header to break the 1-1 tie off a corner kick, which was his first career goal despite having played 62 career games.

The game remained under the Minutemen’s control until the 88th minute, when the Hartford defender Andre Morrisson dodged several defenders and threaded a goal through traffic and past Becerra to send the game into extra time.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Minutemen had fallen victim to a late goal. UMass gave up a game-winning goal in the 90th minute against Albany back on Sept. 13. This time around the Minutemen had a chance to show how resilient they were in response to such a deflating goal.

Seven minutes in to extra time, UMass was awarded a penalty kick after forward Kevin Boino was fouled chasing a long forward pass from fellow forward Alex DeSantis, and was taken down inside the box. Senior midfielder Ty Goncalves, one of the team’s strongest legs, lined up to take the PK . He took his shot right, the keeper dove left, and the game was over.

For the Minutemen, every game is just another opportunity to get better.

“We’re excited, definitely,” said O’Leary of his team’s performance and transition into conference play. “We’re going against the conference champions in Dayton, a great team, so now we’ve got a full week to work and get better.”

After a slow start to the season, UMass has picked up the pace in its last three games against three experienced teams, beating two of them after starting the season 0-5-1. Their offensive progression has been evident with a combined seven goals in those games. The Minutemen will look to continue building on their recent offensive production as the Atlantic 10 conference schedule kicks off.

After a full week of no games, the Minutemen begin A-10 conference play against the Flyers on Saturday, October 1 at home.

Henry Brechter can be reached at [email protected]

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