UMass women’s soccer using long break to prepare for Atlantic 10 play

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(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

After going winless in two closely-contested games down in Providence, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team is using its longest break of the season to regroup and refocus heading into Atlantic 10 conference play this week.

UMass (2-4-1) tied Brown 0-0 in a double-overtime thriller on Sept. 15, and then lost 3-0 to a perennial contender, the Providence Friars, three days later, leaving the Minutewomen searching for answers heading into their 11-day layoff.

The biggest question mark for UMass, especially lately, has been its goal scoring. The Minutewomen failed to record any scores against both Brown and Providence, and have scored only four goals this season to date this season.

Despite this fact, UMass coach Ed Matz has confidence the Minutewomen will be better suited offensively the rest of the way.

“Yes I do,” Matz said when asked if he thinks his team has more confidence scoring. “I think as a player they like to look at the worst case possible, but the two teams we played probably have two of the best defenses in the country and rarely give up goals.”

Matz added: “I think we need to take away from those two matchups that we did create some good opportunities, and we did have some very legitimate chances to score, we just failed to score whether it was something we did wrong or the Providence and Brown defenses and goalkeepers making pretty good saves.”

The long layoff has given UMass crucial practice time that Matz says has been dedicated to every aspect of their game.

“Well we just reinforced what we’re trying to do defensively,” Matz said. “[We] worked on trying to prevent the quick counters that teams seem to be doing with us in our games. Then offensively we just tried to work with our strikers and getting a lot of repetitions, a lot of shots, getting their confidence up and working on their movement off the ball.”

“I think the break came at a perfect time,” Matz continued. “It allowed us to take a couple days off back-to-back to get the players rejuvenated, not only physically but also mentally. It just allowed us to do some things that we wouldn’t have had the luxury to do if we were playing.”

Even with a good week of practice behind the Minutewomen, injuries are proving to creep up on UMass as Matz said the team still isn’t 100-percent healthy, yet he believes whoever is in will get the job done.

“We have good depth and we have good kids that are ready to step in,” Matz said.

The Minutewomen are about to begin A-10 play, which Matz has previously said is what they’ve been preparing for all season, and he still shares those same feeling heading into their first conference game against La Salle Thursday.

After the contest with the Explorers in Philadelphia, UMass will head to Richmond to take on the Spiders before returning home for two games the following weekend.

“I think we had a good week,” Matz said. “I’m glad we had the week off because, again, it allows us to get their confidence up, allows them to reinforce what they are doing and prepare for the A-10’s.”

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.