Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s soccer comes from behind to win a thriller against Vermont in last non-conference game of the season

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(Katherine Mayo / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team won a huge come-from-behind game 2-1 in their last non-conference matchup of the season against the Vermont Catamounts on Tuesday.

At the start of the second half, the Catamounts tried to pounce on UMass and build their 1-0 lead. But a great defensive stop from Junior Defender Konrad Gorich. As well as some impressive stops by goalie Bardia Asefnia kept the Minutemen in the game and kept the fight alive.

Freshman, Davis Smith, was able to continue his good play as of late. Tying the game in the 77th minute on a pass from Michael Rita. Smith was able to slip by his defender and tuck the ball past the keeper’s head for a huge equalizing goal.

“Michael Rita barreled through some people, and I just found a little bit of space, took a few touches, and then put it over the goalkeeper and into the net,” Smith said.

Not long after, senior forward Alex DeSantis pounded in a 20-yard free kick to give his team the lead.

“It felt great, I mean the last couple years we have been smashed by UVM when we played them,” DeSantis said of beating Vermont, which has given UMass fits in recent seasons. “So we definitely wanted to come out and let them know what we are this year.”

The Minutemen were able to hold onto the 2-1 lead at the end of the game, despite a full team effort from the Catamounts, who were only able to muster up a corner kick in the 83rd minute.

The Catamounts were able to jump up on UMass 1-0 early in the match.

Junior Trevor Colazo of Vermont was able to get free on a counter attack and sneak one past the goal keeper to put his team up 1-0.

Vermont seemed to have the upper edge at the end of the first half, and it was evident UMass needed a spark after the break.

Fran O’Leary thought his team improved after halftime.

“We were a yard off in the first half, we upped our energy level, upped our commitment level and were more engaged in the second half,” O’Leary said.

The UMass defense held up well in the final moments of the match, and had an overall great performance besides the slip up in the first half.

It was evident that the steady hand of coach O’Leary keeps the team calm in these high stress games being decided by one goal.

“Our guys are an intelligent group, and an experienced group,” O’Leary said. “They knew themselves they were off a bit in the first half, so I didn’t need to say much, they knew, and they responded well.”

The Minutemen hope to continue their winning streak when they host Duquesne Saturday at noon.

Cam Sibert can be reached at [email protected]

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