UMass earns third clean sheet in 1-0 win over Boston University

Shutouts in first three games for first time since 1996

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UMass earns third clean sheet in 1-0 win over Boston University

By Michael Townsend, Collegian Correspondent

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Defense once again proved the difference for the Massachusetts men’s soccer team, as it defeated Boston University 1-0 to secure its first clean sheet record through three games since 1996.

The rough, competitive game was in doubt nearly the entire way, but sophomore defender Nathaniel Cardoza scored the game’s only goal in the 78th minute to close out the defensive battle in UMass’ favor.

“We were the better team in the first half,” UMass head coach Fran O’Leary said. “They regrouped, and they had maybe a 20-minute spell where they put us back on our heels, and that’s what I was most proud of. You’re never going to dominate a game for 90 minutes, and during the spell when they were on top, we were mature, we didn’t dive in, we held our shape, people made plays, and we kept the clean sheet again.”

Cardoza’s goal, the first of his career, made Saturday’s contest the second straight game in which a UMass (3-0-0) player scored his first goal. On Monday, freshmen Logan Brown and Quinn Serafino both scored their first career goals in a victory over Sacred Heart.

“I don’t even know how I’m feeling,” said Cardoza. “It was pretty exciting. I didn’t even think it was going to come.”

While Cardoza’s goal ultimately decided the game, he was quick to credit his teammates for securing the victory over BU (0-3-0).

“All the little pieces of the game – winning balls, winning tackles, making connections, and the goal – led us to another clean sheet,” he said. “Scoring goals and keeping a clean sheet record is really helping us.”

On the other end, goalkeeper Marvyn Dorchin brought heroics of his own with a last-minute save to preserve the victory for UMass.

“It always feels great having a clean sheet, that’s always been the goal,” Dorchin said. “All it takes, really, is one save to make the whole difference. That’s what happened the past three games, so it feels great.”

Dorchin’s goaltending has been a major spark for UMass’ defense to start the season. Against Northeastern in the first game, Dorchin recorded a last-minute save similar to the one he notched Saturday, which also preserved a 1-0 UMass lead and an eventual victory. On Monday, he recorded two saves against Sacred Heart.

While Dorchin has provided many of the most important defensive plays, he spread the credit for the clean sheet record among the rest of the defense.

“The whole team has done a great job holding the back together,” Dorchin said. “The back four has been part of my clean sheet, so thanks to them. We’re all tied together, communication is huge, we’re all committed. Like Coach said, he cannot coach the extra effort because we have it in our hearts.

“It’s been three games so far, three clean sheets, of course it gives you a big boost of motivation and a big mindset. Now we can give ourselves credit – it’s now behind us – we have to go forward and just keep moving that way.”

Dorchin’s voice could be heard throughout the match Saturday as he attempted to use his vision to help his teammates.

“As a goalkeeper, you have two jobs,” Dorchin said. “One is to keep the ball out of the net, and the other is to communicate, help your team as much as possible. You might be the last man back on the field, but you’re actually the first man on the line. If you have your eyes behind like me, you can see the whole field. Compared to [the other players], they can’t see. I can see everything, so my job is to help them and guide them as much as possible.”

Cardoza himself was complimentary of Dorchin, citing his leadership as a key feature of the team’s success so far this season.

“Marvyn’s a beast,” Cardoza said. “He’s a wall back there. He’s a field general, he always talks to us – telling us where to be, what to do. It’s good to have him in the net.”

UMass will begin a three-game road trip Tuesday against Dartmouth, Central Connecticut State and Bryant before returning on Sept. 21 to play UMass Lowell.

Mike Townsend can be reached at [email protected]