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UMass women’s soccer prepares for first road trip, Thursday’s matchup with St. Bonaventure

(Katherine Mayo / Daily Collegian)

More than halfway through its regular season schedule, the University of Massachusetts women’s soccer team will play just its second match away from Rudd Field in Amherst on Thursday.

When UMass travels to New York to take on St. Bonaventure in the midweek, Atlantic 10 matchup, it will be looking to avenge Sunday’s 3-2 loss at home to Fordham. The Rams currently sit tied atop the A-10 conference standings with La Salle.

According to coach Ed Matz, the Minutewomen (4-5-1, 1-1 A-10) hope to tighten things up at several positions around the field, something they’ve been working on in the heat at practice this week.

“We need to take care of business and win the [18-yard lines],” Matz said. “We’ve been pretty good but we have to be better on our defensive [line] and create some more chances and finish those little goals. We also have to be better in the air, which is what we worked on [Tuesday] in practice.”

For senior goalkeeper Cassidy Babin, Thursday’s matchup on the road will be an especially great opportunity to put the three goals that found their way past her on Sunday in the rearview mirror.

According to Matz, “[none] of those three goals were [Babin’s] fault. One of them was a mistake in [their] end and the other two were just fantastic shots. She takes any of those things hard and obviously giving up three goals isn’t great, but [she’ll] be there for us.” The senior has started all 10 matches in net for the Minutewomen this season.

The Bonnies (0-9-2, 1-1 A-10), endured a rough first half to the season and have yet to secure a win through 11 matches. They enter Thursday’s matchup coming off a 5-0 loss and a 1-1 double-overtime draw against Saint Louis and Richmond, respectively, to start conference play.

Regardless of what took place through non-conference play, Matz refuses to overlook the St. Bonaventure team that’s desperately searching for its first win.

“Now they’re playing at home which is kind of the story of the A-10; teams are tough to beat at home,” Matz said. “It’s a tough place to play up there in the middle of New York and it’s a night game so I’m sure they’re going to get a lot of fans and a good crowd with a big atmosphere. It’s going to be a tough match for us.”

UMass, on the heels of its loss to Fordham, is faced with minimal practice opportunities at home before taking off on its first road trip of the season. Following St. Bonaventure, the team will travel to Richmond to take on Virginia Commonwealth.

According to Matz, playing away from Amherst this week will serve as a great opportunity for the Minutewomen to get back on track heading into the heart of their conference schedule.

“I’m looking forward to getting on the road, it’s always fun to play a night game,” Matz said.

Because Rudd Field isn’t equipped with lights to illuminate the pitch for night games, UMass solely hosts afternoon matchups, something that makes Thursday night’s matchup an interesting one, said Matz.

“It’s kind of a novelty for these guys and it’s good for the atmosphere,” Matz said. “The kids love to play at night and on turf because you know the pitch will be perfect. We’re looking forward to it.”

With just eight matches to go before the start of the A-10 playoffs, UMass will only play three at home opposed to the nine out of 10 that it has hosted up to this point in the schedule.

Kickoff at the Marra Athletics Complex in Olean is set for 7 p.m.

Liam Flaherty can be reached at lpflaherty@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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