Marra’s first collegiate goal lifts UMass women’s soccer over Holy Cross

By Zander Manning

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team picked up its second win of the season on Sunday, beating regional rivals Holy Cross 1-0.

In the 44th minute, UMass scored the lone goal of the game off a corner kick by junior defender Paige Kozlowski.

Kozlowski’s corner came from the left corner of the field, and after a goalmouth scramble, forward Kelly Mara found it and snuck it past Holy Cross goalkeeper Caroline Cashion to give the Minutewomen a 1-0 lead late in the first half. The goal stood as the only tally of the game, and was Marra’s first collegiate goal.

“Paige sent a really great ball and I just made a run and I just kind of blacked out and when it hit the net, I [was] just really excited,” Marra said. “[I felt] just pure joy, my teammates just surrounded me, it was amazing.”

Despite allowing six shots in the first half to the Crusaders (2-4-1), UMass (2-3-1) senior goalkeeper Cassidy Babin kept the Minutewomen in the game, stopping shot after shot that came her way including six that were within five feet.

Babin stood tall throughout the game, finishing with 12 saves, nine in the second half alone. Marra was very happy to have her as her goalkeeper.

“Cass is great, she’s an awesome goalkeeper and she really kept us in the game in the second half,” Marra said of Babin. “It was really scary watching them, they had a lot of good chances, but she saved us, she played awesome.”

Just 14 days before Sunday’s game, freshman Signe Schioldan joined the Minutewomen after coming over from Hedensted, Denmark, immediately going through the NCAA process of joining the team as soon as she got to Amherst.

Schioldan played the bulk of her playing time at the end of both halves on Sunday.

“She’s only been here less than 14 days; she had to get through NCAA process,” said UMass coach Ed Matz. “We were just trying to see what she can do, see how we can get her in the mix.”

After Schioldan came in with under ten minutes to play in the second half, Matz took her out after a few minutes and replaced her with senior Salma Anastasio.

“It was just a matter of, she doesn’t have the experience to tactically know how to run a game out,” Matz said of the switch. “I put Salma in, who was a senior. I decided the last few minutes that I’d put a lot of our seniors in…They know a lot of the things we want in the last few minutes, they can run the game out, they’ll be calm with the ball.”

In the first half of Sunday’s game versus Holy Cross, the Minutewomen had five corner kick opportunities, but didn’t convert until the fifth one. Not only did they miss opportunities on the corners, they held the ball in the offensive zone 70 percent of the first half and struggled to get shots past the Crusaders defense.

Babin, however, was not too nervous about the missed opportunities.

“We were building so I felt like we had a lot of good offense for the first half,” she said. “Obviously seeing that you knew one was going to come I think it’s just a matter of making sure we capitalize on all of our chances and make the most out of our hard work we do up top…[Goals] don’t come that easy. I think the goal was great and it was great that it came right before half[time] to change the momentum.”

The atmosphere at Rudd was tense and the crowd was in it all 90 minutes.

“It was good,” Matz said of the atmosphere. “I wish we had a few more fans but we had a lot of parents, friends and other athletic teams come out to support us…I mean it was a beautiful day and the grass is newly cut short this year. So it’s just a fun place to play and it was a good win for us.”

UMass continues its six-game homestand this week, hosting Brown on Thursday at 4 p.m. and Yale on Sunday at 2 p.m., before opening conference play against Davidson on September 21.

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