Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s soccer wraps up grueling stretch with explosive win

Jack Fulton buries a pair of penalty kicks in the 5-2 victory

Jack+Fulton+inserts+a+corner+kick+against+Central+Connecticut+State+on+Saturday%2C+September+15%2C+2018.+Fulton+scored+two+penalty+kick+goals+as+UMass+beat+CCSU+5-2.
Jack Fulton inserts a corner kick against Central Connecticut State on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Fulton scored two penalty kick goals as UMass beat CCSU 5-2.

Jack Fulton inserts a corner kick against Central Connecticut State on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Fulton scored two penalty kick goals as UMass beat CCSU 5-2.

Caroline O'Connor

Caroline O'Connor

Jack Fulton inserts a corner kick against Central Connecticut State on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Fulton scored two penalty kick goals as UMass beat CCSU 5-2.

By Liam Flaherty, Collegian Staff

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On a sweltering Saturday afternoon at Rudd Field, the Massachusetts soccer team got the boost that it needed and capped off a long week with a 5-2 win over Central Connecticut State.

A combination of flashy midfield play and finishing forwards gave UMass (4-2-2) a breakout performance to cap its arduous stretch of four games in nine days.

Aside from senior Jack Fulton’s pair of penalty kicks in the win, the Minutemen received goals from Davis Smith, DeAndrae Brown, and Jared McCleary to achieve a much-needed break.

“Any time you put five goals past a Division I team, you have to be very pleased,” UMass coach Fran O’Leary said. “It’s a real credit to our guys to be able to put in a performance like this one.”

In addition to the fact that the Minutemen were playing their fourth game while the Blue Devils (0-5) were only playing their second over the same time span, both teams had to endure the heat.

“We can’t wait for fall,” O’Leary joked postgame. “Tempo and intensity are important parts of our game, but with that being said, I felt the guys off the bench gave us a big boost. We needed some energy and several guys came in and [did that]. I’m absolutely delighted with those guys.”

After Brown subbed in in the 27th minute, it took the senior forward just six minutes to find the back of the net. Brown re-entered the game in the 77th minute and recorded an assist.

“He’s so strong,” Fulton said of Brown. “He comes on and he gives us a massive boost. We like to use him with the through balls and he always gets on the end of them.”

Brown’s assist in the 81st minute allowed McCleary to find the back of the net for his first goal of the season, three minutes after both re-entered the game.

Before McCleary or Brown’s scores, it was Fulton who managed to get the Minutemen going.

After sending a corner kick towards the Central Connecticut goal in the early goings of a scoreless game, a penalty in the box by a Blue Devils’ defenseman placed Fulton 12 yards out.

For the first time in two seasons with UMass, the senior from Sydney, Australia fooled the CCSU keeper and cashed in on an open net, which he said was a consequence of a firm approach.

“My mentality [with penalty kicks] is to never change my mind,” Fulton said. “A lot of people change their mind when they take a PK and miss, but I just go for the same spot every time.”

As if one penalty kick goal wasn’t enough, Fulton found himself in the same situation once again in the 60th minute, after the Blue Devils had just got one back, and buried another to make it 3-1.

“[Fulton] is an experienced player,” O’Leary said. “He’s confident in his abilities and he’s used to scoring goals. He put both of them away today and didn’t give the keeper a chance.”

“He’s definitely marked himself as a penalty taker moving forward,” O’Leary added postgame.

Regardless of the praise from his coach, Fulton relayed the spotlight to the work of the defense.

“That’s what happens with that defense because [it] is so good,” Fulton said. “We end up getting a lot of goals because, when we high press, we normally win the ball and end up scoring goals.”

Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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