Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer returns to Rudd Field in hopes of turning around losing streak

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team strives to put an end to its four-game losing streak on the road, when the Minutewomen finally return home to Rudd Field Thursday afternoon to take on George Mason University.

UMass (2-6-1, 0-2 Atlantic 10) has had a majority of its games on the road thus far, having only two of the 11 matchups at home this season. The team looks forward to playing on their home field in hopes that it will lead to the Minutewomen’s first win in over a month.

“We’ve only played two of our games at home so far this year, and I think we’re one of the only Atlantic 10 teams that hasn’t played a home [conference] game yet,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “It’s going to be good to be back, and for the kids to be sleeping in their own bed.”

The matchup will only be George Mason’s (8-3-0, 2-0-0 A10) fourth away game this season as it possesses winning records for both home (6-2) and on the road (2-1).

Though the most threatening aspect of the Patriots isn’t just their record, but their star forward Sarah Hardison, who’s already scored seven goals this season, which is tied for second-most in the A-10.

“I know the girls remember her because it was a bitter moment for us losing in overtime to them last year,” Matz said. “So it’s something I hope our girls are looking forward to for a little bit of revenge.”

Of Hardison’s seven goals on the season, three have come in the last two games. The senior also recently claimed the Atlantic 10 offensive player of the week for the second time this season.

Matz said that when scouting George Mason on film, the team must be aware of where Hardison is at all times. He said that from now until Thursday’s game, the Minutewomen will be spending plenty of watching film in hopes the team will get a feel for her style of play, and to game plan to defend the stand-out offensive player.

“We’re fired up for it,” senior captain Megan Burke said. “After losing a couple of games and being on the road for a while, I think we’ll come back and let it all loose.”

It’s obvious that the Minutewomen’s offensive game has been the Achilles heel to their season, having only netted four goals this season. Compared to George Mason’s 22, it’s clear Thursday’s game proposes a tough challenge.

Burke acknowledged her team’s frustrations with the lack of offensive presence in their last couple of games but has high hopes for a breakthrough in the near future.

“It’s frustrating, but I think once we get that one goal it’ll hopefully open the gates and we’ll have more that follow,” Burke said.

On the defensive end, the goalkeeper matchup of Cassidy Babin and Kirsten Glad is foreshadowed to be more competitive. Glad has allowed one or fewer goals in seven of her eight victories this season, while Babin is coming off a strong game with six saves.

“Cassidy and our defense have given us chances to win games,” Matz said. “we just have to connect on the other end.”

Thursday’s game at Rudd Field is set to start at 4 p.m.

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MWalker2019.

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