UMass women’s soccer dominates Fordham in A-10 quarterfinal

Three goals in six minutes secure victory over Fordham

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UMass women’s soccer dominates Fordham in A-10 quarterfinal

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Kevin Schuster, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s soccer team played one of their best games of the year in a dominant performance against a talented Fordham team, who came into Sunday’s game on the heels of an overtime victory.

The No. 3 seed Minutewomen (10-5-3, 6-3-1 A-10) scored four goals in the second half after a quality first half that only lacked the final touches in front of net. UMass scored three of its four goals within a six-minute span early in the second half.

Despite conceding four goals, the No. 6 seed Rams (5-11-4, 4-4-2 A-10) were led by senior goalkeeper Kelly LaMorte, who contributed four clinical saves in the first half, preventing a complete blowout.

The Minutewomen possessed the ball for the majority of the contest, controlling the speed and tempo, forcing Fordham to play their style. The UMass back line, including goalkeeper Peyton Ryan, remained in form as they have been for the second half of the season. Lauren Bonavita led the Minutewomen attack as she contributed her 11th goal of the season with a volley from the edge of the penalty area.

“It was the most complete game we’ve played all year,” UMass head coach Jason Dowiak said. “We probably could have put two or three away in the first half, but their goalkeeper was fantastic. We played a perfect game; we knocked the ball around and created little numerical advantages all over the field and it was exactly to our game plan.”

Senior Rebeca Frisk scored the final goal of the game, her fifth of the season, solidifying the victory in the 84th minute. Serena Ahmed played a perfectly timed through ball which Frisk could run onto. Through balls were an important tactical focus for Dowiak and the Minutewomen as the main source of attack for UMass, getting numbers forward and behind Fordham’s last line of defense.

“After a through ball from Serena, I had a 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper and I just hit it as hard as I could,” Frisk said. “We realized right away that those passes were open, so we just utilized them the whole game.”

Defender Ava Jouvenel got herself on the scoresheet with a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which sneaked its way into the bottom left corner. The UMass forwards let the ball run through the box, confusing LaMorte on where the ball would end up, resulting in 2-0 lead for the Minutewomen.

Sini Laaksonen scored a beautiful volley three minutes later from a cross by Jenny Hipp, which found its way into the upper netting with too much pace to give LaMorte a chance.

The Minutewomen played without star forward Melissa Kössler, who was called up to play internationally for her native country, Germany. Despite her absence, UMass was fortunate to have a deep roster, with many players who can fill in holes for the team if need be.

“Our players stepped up to fill their roles as they have all year,” Dowiak said. “Anybody that comes on now is making a serious impact, which is the right time of year to be getting at.”

With this victory the Minutewomen earned themselves a trip to Saint Louis for the A-10 semi-final where they will face George Washington, the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. UMass’ players will be facing a new challenge as the Minutewomen haven’t reached this stage of the tournament since 2013. The game is set to be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8.

Kevin Schuster can be reached at [email protected]