Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Late penalty-kick goal not enough vs. Rams

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(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

Trailing 2-1 in the 59th minute on Sunday, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team conceded a goal to Fordham sophomore forward Amanda Miller on a shot that went from Minutewomen senior goalkeeper Cassidy Babin’s right, over her head and in on the top left corner, making it 3-1. The goal was Miller’s fourth on the year.

In the 89th minute, with the score still 3-1, UMass was awarded a penalty kick after senior Gabriela Kenyon was tripped in the penalty area by Rams goalkeeper Kelly LaMorte.

The Minutewomen elected to have sophomore midfielder Sini Laaksonen take the penalty kick and she did not disappoint. Laaksonen elected to shoot to LaMorte’s right as LaMorte guessed wrong and dove left, cutting the Fordham lead to one with less than two minutes to play.

The score held up, however, as UMass (4-5-1, 1-1 Atlantic 10) fell 3-2 to the Rams (5-3-3, 2-0 A-10) Sunday afternoon at Rudd Field.

“I mean, we’re disappointed, we wanted to get some points on our home field,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “It was a well-played game, it was a tough game. We knew coming into the match that Fordham was a good team, they’re one of the better teams in the [A-10 Conference] last year…We thought we had an opportunity and we just let it slip by.”

With the score tied at one apiece in the 22nd minute, Fordham junior forward Clara Gastaldi positioned herself in the penalty area to the right of Babin.

Sophomore midfielder Morgan Busaca sent a cross-pass from just outside the box to Babin’s left and Gastaldi headed it past the senior goalkeeper to give the Rams a 2-1 lead midway through the first half for her first goal of the season, sending Fordham fans in attendance into a frenzy.

“I think it was a matter of us losing individual battles, one versus one battles, to allow them to get those opportunities,” Babin said. “They were the smallest corrections…Had we just stepped quicker to the ball it wouldn’t have happened…They were quality chances and of course I’m disappointed I couldn’t step up bigger for the team.”

Earlier in the half, however, just three minutes before the goal, Fordham tied the score at one apiece on a goal by junior midfielder Clara Gastaldi, her first of the season, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead early.

UMass struck first in the 20th minute, however, on a goal by junior forward Erin Doster—her fourth on the season thus far. This goal tied it at one and would remain the Minutewomen’s lone goal until the 89th minute.

After coming off the bench on Thursday after picking up an injury in practice, junior defender Paige Kozlowski was back in the starting lineup for Matz. She totaled 65 minutes on Sunday, coming off for good in the 82nd minute.

“Paige was basically unlimited today,” Matz said. “She asked to come off, she didn’t feel the strength in her ankle and she just asked to come off and we certainly wanted her in there, but we certainly want her healthy down the road the rest of the way.”

In addition to Kozlowski’s ankle injury, senior forward Salma Anastasio was seen in a walking boot after the game and did not play at all in the game against Fordham.

Up next for the Minutewomen is A-10 foe St. Bonaventure as they take on the Bonnies on the road in Olean, N.Y. in their first road trip of the season. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.

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