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

Massachusetts men’s soccer ties Central Connecticut State in double overtime

(Katherine Mayo / Daily Collegian)

After 110 minutes of game action, neither the Massachusetts men’s soccer team nor Central Connecticut State could gain an advantage, as the match ended in a 1-1 tie.

Forward Jack Fulton was the lone goal scorer for the University of Massachusetts (4-2-2). Trailing by one goal, the junior got the ball a few feet above the center of the box in the 67th minute and made a good turn to face the net. He then raced toward the box, where he was met by one CCSU defender and then another. Fulton put a slick move on the first Blue Devil to blow past him and had a similar encounter with the next.

With one Blue Devil left in his path, Fulton cut right and shot seemingly all in one motion, beating the third defender and the goalkeeper to knot the game up at one. It was Fulton’s first goal of the season.

“It was a really good goal,” UMass coach Fran O’Leary said after the game. “He got it and showed some strength—he’s strong. He blocked the clearance and showed some composure. It was a really important goal, really good goal by Jack.”

The Blue Devils’ goal came in the 30th minute of action. CCSU senior midfielder DeShawn Parker got the ball at the top left corner of the box, paced past a pair of UMass defenders before curving the ball just past the outstretched hands of Minutemen goalkeeper Bardia Asefnia into the bottom of the net. The goal gave CCSU (3-3-1) an early 1-0 lead, despite Parker nearly ricocheting off the post.

While UMass is pleased with the tie, it must feel like it should have come out victorious, as it had two goals taken off the scoreboard due to penalties.

The most notable missed opportunity came late in the second half, when the Minutemen looked to break the tie after a Blue Devil penalty.

The penalty occurred just past midfield, so Asefnia traveled out of net to take the free kick. He booted the ball into the box, where it bounced from one UMass attacker’s head to another.

The ball had just enough under it to reach over the outstretched hands of CCSU goalie Nick Velleca, falling into the net for what appeared to be the go-ahead goal. However, the play was ruled off sides.

After starting the season 0-2 on the road, O’Leary was happy to see his team break their skid away from Amherst. The result was especially pleasing considering the last time O’Leary’s squad traveled to New Britain in 2015, they were defeated 5-1.

“Good to break it up on the road and get a result,” O’Leary said. “Proud of the guys to come from behind. With two goals disallowed, a bit unfortunate not to get the win. Really good attitude to come from behind with a good Central Connecticut team.”

UMass once again did a stellar job defending against set pieces. It was able to stop all eight of the Blue Devils’ corner attempts.

“We defended our box very well,” O’Leary said. “On the corners, we got the first contact which is key to clearing the ball. At different times during the game, we made big plays from the defensive perspective.”

Both teams pushed the pace throughout, putting pressure on the opposing goalies. The Minutemen finished the game with 12 shots, and CCSU one-upped them with 13. Both goalies made four saves.

UMass is back in action Saturday afternoon, as Hartford travels to Amherst for the Minutemen’s final game before conference play begins.

Thomas Johnston can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @TJ__Johnston.

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