Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer crushes VCU 3-0 Sunday afternoon

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Megan Burke dribbles the ball during Sunday's game against VCU Rams at Rudd Field. Jong Man Kim/Daily Collegian)

Megan Burke dribbles the ball during Sunday’s game against VCU Rams at Rudd Field. (Jong Man Kim/Daily Collegian)

On Sept. 3 the Massachusetts women’s soccer team beat Maine to earn their second victory of the 2016 season. 50 days later, on Senior Day, UMass (3-9-3, 1-5-2 A-10) earned their third win of the season in a 3-0 shutout over Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday afternoon at Rudd Field.

The Minutewomen’s offense exploded in this match as senior captain Megan Burke, junior forward Gabriela Kenyon, and sophomore forward Salma Anastasio all scored to propel UMass to their first Atlantic-10 conference victory.

Burke tallied her second goal of the year after receiving a perfectly placed clearing pass from fellow senior Daniela Alvarez, and beat VCU (7-9-1, 3-5 A-10) goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson with a shot just inside the left post.

Kenyon scored her team’s second goal following a Minutewomen throw in, which resulted in a scramble in front of the Rams net, leaving Kenyon all by herself to tap in the loose ball.

Anastasio recorded the prettiest goal of the afternoon after one timing a cross pass from sophomore defender Paige Kozlowski, to give UMass a commanding three goal lead.

“I thought we came out today and played a complete match,” Minutewomen coach Ed Matz said following the game. “It was good to get our kids finishing, we’ve been generating a lot of shots all year long and today they just went in and it was a good time for us to have that happen.”

Right from the onset, UMass looked more confident making plays on the offensive side of the ball with successful through-balls and cross passes leading to more scoring chances.

“I just think we realized we needed to take more shots,” Burke said. “Eventually they’re going to fall in.”

“It’s been so hard for us emotionally going into those overtimes and coming up short,” Matz said regarding their prior two games. “To have two that we played well in and we got points I think that carried over into today.”

UMass’ confidence paid off quickly when Burke scored at the 12th minute to put the Minutewomen up 1-0 early.

“Well it was a great ball by (Daniela) and honestly, I just had to take a good touch towards the goal and at that point I was just hoping that I directed it right,” Burke said about her goal.

The Minutewomen furthered their dominant first half, swarming the Rams at every opportunity while creating quality chances for themselves, and Kenyon became the benefactor when she scored in the 37th minute.

In the second half, VCU responded with a couple close scoring chances but were shut down by Minutewomen goalkeeper Cassidy Babin, who finished the contest with seven saves.

“The good thing about Cassidy is under tough conditions she makes the save, but she doesn’t give up rebounds. Every game she gives us a chance to win,” Matz said.

UMass continued keeping the Rams off the scoreboard until the 54th minute when the Minutewomen sealed the win following Anatasio’s impressive goal.

“It feels great. I think it really pumped the team up especially on senior day, not only for the seniors but I think the whole team needed it, so I think it’s just a step in the right direction,” Burke said about the win.

The Minutewomen concluded the game with nine shots, and one corner kick as well as 12 fouls on the afternoon.

“It was one of our last two home games, and it was a must win for us if we want to try to keep our hopes alive,” Matz said.

“I think that the win came at the right time,” Burke said. “I definitely think that all the positivity and everyone’s pumped now so I think going into the next two games against really good opponents is going to help us with this win today.”

UMass welcomes first place Saint Joseph’s to Amherst on Thursday as UMass hopes to keep its momentum in their regular season home-finale.

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

About the Writer
Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor
Minutemen travel to Schenectady for a rematch with Union to close out first half of the season.
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