A victory would have punched a ticket to the Atlantic 10 tournament for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team, but Dayton had other ideas.
Trailing 3-0 in the 80th minute, UMass redshirt sophomore defender Jenna Thomas scored to get the Minutewomen on the board with her third goal of the season.
The goal was too little too late, however, as the Minutewomen finished the season three goals and one win short of the playoffs, falling to the Flyers (9-8-2, 4-4-2 A-10) 3-1 Sunday afternoon.
“It’s not the result we wanted, not the result we hoped for, but it’s the result we got,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “I think Dayton scored on their first two shots of the game and they were just kids that were unaccounted for. Hats off to Dayton. They were able to put the finish on those two opportunities. They were good shots and they just took advantage of their opportunities, the two that presented themselves.”
The first half didn’t go as planned for the Minutewomen (7-9-2, 4-5-1 A-10) as they allowed two goals early in the first half, both coming within six yards.
The Flyers first goal came in the ninth minute off a corner kick by senior defender Nicolette Griesinger who executed it perfectly, as the ball landed right in the middle of the already-crowded penalty box and was tapped home by sophomore forward Micayla Livingston.
The second goal came in the 25th minute when Dayton junior midfielder Keagin Collie put a pass by senior forward Alexis Kiehl into the bottom left corner of the net for her second goal of the season to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
Kiehl scored the Flyers third goal in the 65th minute on a chip shot that went over the head of UMass senior goalkeeper Cassidy Babin, who came up to play the ball at the top of the penalty area.
Matz said that was when he knew it wasn’t his squad’s day. He immediately went to his bench and told junior goalkeeper Peyton Ryan to get ready to go in.
Matz was happy with Babin’s performance and said that he just saw an opportunity to put in the more sure-footed Ryan after seeing that the senior had given everything she had.
Throughout the game, Matz was very vocal on the sidelines and made efforts to implore the referees to make calls that he thought they ignored or neglected to notice at all. After the game, however, he denied that his vocalism had anything to do with displeasure over the how the game was officiated.
“[It was] just an emotional game, just one I wanted to win so badly for these seniors in the program,” Matz said. “I think sometimes our vocalism was in response to some of the things we heard from the Dayton side.
“We’ve accomplished so much and the program is definitely treading in the right direction. We went from three wins to seven wins, went from a handful of points to 13 this year. I think hopefully we’ll get a couple kids recognized as all-conference kids.
“We had some kids with breakout years for scoring, with [Erin] Doster as a junior. We have a great crop of young, young freshmen and on top of all those things, the seniors did a tremendous job of getting this team pointed in the right direction with just the way they practice every day, with the way they conduct themselves.”
Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.