UMass women’s soccer rallies for second-half burst, top George Mason 4-2

Frisk, Kössler and Ahmed key contributors

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UMass women’s soccer rallies for second-half burst, top George Mason 4-2

Jessica Picard

Jessica Picard

Jessica Picard

By Ryan Beaton, Collegian Staff

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If there were ever a time for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team to turn on the jets and open up the goal-scoring floodgates, it was during the second half of its match against George Mason on Thursday night.

With the help of Rebeca Frisk and Melissa Kössler, the Minutewomen (4-3-2 overall, 1-1-0 Atlantic 10) would do just that—scoring their first three goals of the match all within a six-minute time frame. Serena Ahmed added a fourth goal for insurance in the 83rd minute as well.

“The second half we just came out and said, ‘You’ve got to do your job,’” coach Jason Dowiak said. “Once we got the first score—at least, from a sideline perspective—it definitely fired us up. We just kept saying, ‘It’s not enough, it’s not enough. We have to get another’. And the girls responded really well.”

The first and second halves for UMass were very different stories, getting shut out in the first—surrendering Mason’s (2-6-1 overall, 0-2-0 A-10) first goal off a turnover—and then dominating offensively in the second.

“We actually went into halftime feeling like we dominated and let that [first-half goal] slip away,” Dowiak said. “We had a ton of chances in the first 20 minutes that we really should have finished … we really felt like the first half was everything we hoped to see except the final product.”

Ahmed, a defender, scored her first collegiate goal with seven minutes remaining in the match to give UMass a two-goal cushion. The freshman stepped up in a big way for her team, playing outside of her conventional position.

“We had been expecting offensive production from Serena [Ahmed], but she’s been more of a defensive-responsible player for us,” Dowiak said. “We kind of let the reins off a little bit in the second half and really asked her to get in behind.”

Junior Dani Sclafani clocked in for all 90 minutes of the match, the only other player besides goalkeeper Peyton Ryan on the field for the entire duration of the game.

“Dani [Sclafani] covers a lot of ground for us from a defensive standpoint,” said Dowiak. “She’s also one of the most secure players in possession … she’s pretty much the heart and soul of everything we expect from our team right now.”

Holding midfielder Ansley Frazier continued to do what she does best on Thursday night, feeding her teammates, recording two assists against Mason. Frazier is now tied at the top of the A-10 leaderboard in assists, with five. The freshman is currently averaging .556 assists per match.

Ryan would put together another solid performance, stopping three of five shots on net. Through nine games, the graduate student keeper boasts at .680 save percentage with a 1.69 GAA.

After a disappointing loss to Richmond in their A-10 opener, the Minutewomen now sit at an even 1-1-0 A-10 record with their win against the Patriots.

“We’re hoping not to get ahead of ourselves,” said Dowiak. “We want to play with the chip on our shoulder like we played tonight … we maybe let one get away last week and now we’ve got to keep fighting for every result.”

UMass will play next in a match against Saint Joseph’s on Sunday. Match is set to start at 1 p.m. from Philadelphia, PA.

Ryan Beaton can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ry_beaton.