The Massachusetts women’s soccer team couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end Thursday night, falling to Saint Louis 3-0.
Trailing 2-0 in the 80th minute, UMass drove down the field where freshman forward Kelly Marra took a shot that sailed over SLU goalkeeper Mary Niehaus’ head, but it hit off the crossbar and went directly to the Billikens defense.
The Billikens (15-1-2, 7-1-1 Atlantic 10) recovered the shot, drove down the field and sophomore midfielder/forward Evie Lavelle scored her fifth goal of the season off a through pass, beating Minutewomen goalkeeper Cassidy Babin following a deke to put them up 3-0.
The score remained that way for the rest of the game.
“I don’t think it was rough loss. They’re very good,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “There’s a reason they have one loss all year, there’s a reason they’re getting votes for top 20. We got behind the eight ball a little bit, we gave up a [penalty kick], they got in behind us, behind one nothing.”
After Marra’s shot off the crossbar, Matz knew it wasn’t UMass’ night.
The Billikens got off to fast start when sophomore midfielder Courtney Reimer scored her second goal of the season in the 25th minute, giving them a 1-0 lead. They went up 2-0 when sophomore defender Alli Klug scored her fifth goal of the season in the 33rd minute.
With a win, the Minutewomen (7-8-2, 4-4-1 A-10) would have punched a ticket to the conference tournament the following week, but the loss drops them to the number eight spot in the A-10.
UMass can lock up a spot in the tournament Sunday, if it is able to defeat Dayton. If not, the Flyers will take the final tournament spot.
“It’s coming down to us and the defending champs on Sunday and that decides it,” Matz said. “We talked about it at the end of the game and our mentality is that it’s still in our control. All we have to win and we’re in. It’s up to us.”
“Our mentality is to have a great day of recovery tomorrow, get back to UMass tomorrow night, get back to field on Saturday and have the best practice of our lives and send our seniors off by taking them to the playoffs.”
The loss came with a cost, however, as freshman forward Jenny Hipp was limited in action after her tendinitis in her foot from earlier in the week flared up after just 36 minutes on the field.
Matz expects her back on the field for Sunday’s matchup with Dayton.
“My thing is this is this is the most important game of the year,” Matz said. “It’s one we’ve been thinking about all year. They should want to be in there as much as possible.”
“I’m disappointed that we played hard against a very good team [and lost], but we’re looking towards Sunday,” he added. “I can’t wait to do everything in my power to help them Sunday.”
Kickoff on Sunday with the Flyers is set for 1 p.m.
Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.