Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer aims to get back in the win column at Davidson Thursday

Minutewomen fall 1-0 to George Mason Sunday

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UMass women’s soccer aims to get back in the win column at Davidson Thursday

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s soccer team looks to move forward from Sunday’s loss by focusing on Thursday’s upcoming matchup at Davidson. The Minutewomen (9-3-1, 4-1-1 Atlantic 10) know that in order to get back to their winning ways, they’ll need to score more goals than they have in their past two games.

Senior forward Erin Doster and junior Rebeca Frisk know that they need to make the most of their scoring efforts moving forward.

“I just think we need to be more clinical in front of net,” Doster said. “We had our options to score and our chances, but we just didn’t get the job done yesterday in actually scoring.”

Although the players did generate many scoring chances, UMass ultimately suffered a shutout loss against George Mason on Sunday. Over the past 200 minutes of game time, including a double overtime 1-1 draw versus Fordham, the Minutewomen have only been able to generate one goal.

“I wouldn’t say we’re looking to change anything major, just kind of pick it back up,” Frisk said. “The way we played the game [Sunday], it was a difficult game. But there’s no excuses with that. I wouldn’t say anything’s really changing, it’s just our mentality and how we’re going to come out stronger than before.”

Though they haven’t been able to finish scoring chances as well as they’d like as of late, there is a bright spot for the UMass unit as it heads to take on the Wildcats (2-11, 0-6 A-10) on Thursday. The UMass defense has only allowed three goals over its past six games and has only conceded seven all season long.

“Defensively we’re very good,” UMass coach Jason Dowiak said. “The chances we give up are typically not because a team is beating us or breaking us down, it’s either a giveaway that’s unnecessary or just a mental breakdown in a moment. But we are so sound as a group. It’s not just about Peyton [Ryan] and our back line, it’s the whole group being connected and compact.”

Davidson’s style of play mirrors part of what UMass has been doing all season long: maintain possession, work the ball into the offensive zone and create scoring chances. Using a similar style of play, however, helps the Minutewomen know what they need to do to win.

“I think they try to play a pretty good possession-based game and they’re organized defensively,” Dowiak said. “If we’re sharp, we’ll be able to break them down because of our creativity. Those are our favorite moments in games because the movement of the ball and the simple little ‘ticky-tack’ where they bounce balls and Jenny [Hipp] especially finds that final pass. I think if we can be sharp in those moments then we’ll be sharp and get to the goal.”

Although Davidson’s record isn’t all that impressive at this point in the year, a late-season road game can be a challenge for any team. As the regular season rolls toward its climax, especially following a series of long, hard-fought battles against some of the most talented teams in the conference, fatigue may begin to set in among the UMass team and the conference collectively.

“We have great depth and we’re less fatigued than most teams I’ve coached in recent years because I feel more comfortable using more players,” Dowiak said. “But you start to see, especially Sini [Laaksonen] and Jenny [Hipp] who are playing a lot more minutes, that their speed of reaction and mental decision making is a little bit slower later in games. They try to force things a little too much, and we talk about that too.

“They’re trying to throw the game on their back which is awesome about them, they care so much,” he continued. “We’re just trying to help them understand we have nine players around the two of them that can do really great things and we gotta just keep it simple.”

The Minutewomen will need to fight through any fatigue they may feel if they wish to secure their tenth victory of the season Thursday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. from North Carolina.

Dan McGee can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DMcGeeUMass.

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