UMass men’s soccer fails to capitalize in 1-0 loss to Boston College

Minutemen lose their third straight game

Mehroz+Kapadia

Mehroz Kapadia

By Richard Rodgers, Collegian Correspondent

Mustering only three shots on goal, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team fell just short in a 1-0 defeat at Boston College.

The Minutemen (4-4-0) came out firing on all cylinders with nine shots in the first half compared to the seven shots that Boston College (5-2-0) had. The Minutemen had clear control until a major scare when Eagles’ midfielder Mike Suski hit the post on a shot just before the 35th minute.

The inability to take advantage of opportunities would come back to haunt UMass, though. Eagles’ midfielder Joe Kellett scored on a penalty kick just before the 48th minute. Boston College outshot the Minutemen 10-4 in the second half to hold on for the victory.

“Our guys did very well tonight against a top team in the ACC, the best conference in the country,” coach Fran O’Leary said. “We have to find a way to reward our hard work. We created some great opportunities and didn’t take them. If we keep performing with this intensity, we’ll be fine.”

Despite the disappointing loss, there are some positives that the Minutemen can take away. UMass had five corner kicks compared to the BC’s two. The Minutemen gave themselves the high-quality opportunities necessary to compete with an incredibly talented team.

“We dominated large portions of the game,” O’Leary said. “It was a very brave performance by us. Our players will always compete and they wanted the ball tonight.”

With the youth of this year’s roster, there are obvious concerns about the morale of the team in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Over half of tonight’s starters for UMass were underclassmen with minimal experience shouldering the blame for adversity. However, with the way the Minutemen have competed in these three narrow defeats, there’s plenty of reason for optimism with a 4-4-0 record heading into Atlantic 10 play.

“When you get to the halfway point, the key is if the team is intact,” O’Leary said. “We’re more than an intact team. We’ve got to go into conference play and brush up on our finishing.”

The Minutemen are about to embark on a crucial part of their schedule with four consecutive conference games on the docket. UMass currently is tied for the fourth-best winning percentage in the conference. Things could go south quickly if they don’t come out of this skid and take advantage of their first opportunity to earn points.

“We’re trying to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season,” O’Leary said. “Points are at a premium. We feel like we need 12 of them to make the playoffs.”

There’s plenty of frustration in the UMass locker-room after losing three games in a row by a one-score deficit, but there’s no questioning the Minutemen’s effort and fearlessness. With the young talent they possess, there’s plenty of room for growth. This next stretch of games could decide their fate.

The Minutemen begin A-10 conference play on the road this Saturday at 7 p.m. against Dayton.

Richard Rodgers can be reached by email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RichardDRodgers