UMass rallies for a 2-1 double-overtime victory against Fordham

Lauren Bonavita’s late header propels the Minutewomen to third win this season.

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Ryan D’Alleva, Collegian Correspondent

After a competitive 106-plus minutes of action, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team scored a late golden-goal winner that would see them victorious over Fordham on Sunday.

With about four minutes remaining in double overtime, UMass’ (3-2-1, 2-0-1 Atlantic 10) Grace Pinkus sent a high cross into the box to an unmarked Lauren Bonavita, who nodded home the winner. The Rams (0-2-1, 0-2-0 A-10) were unable to keep UMass out after scoring its first goal of the season in the first half.

“That was a huge result to get. From a mentality standpoint, these were back-to-back games where we had to battle it out against two very difficult, tough, aggressive opponents,” UMass head coach Jason Dowiak said. “The players are learning to be resilient and to expect more from each other.”

The Rams were awarded a penalty kick in the 25th minute of the first half after a collision in the box. Maura Holst stepped up and put the ball in the net, notching Fordham’s first goal since October 2019.

There was no change in the score until the 55th minute, when Nissa Pereira floated in a corner kick that squeezed in by the near post.

“We were working on the near post run for our corner kick routine in practice, so that’s where I was trying to put it,” Pereira said of her unconventional goal. “The wind might have taken it a little, but it went in.”

From here, the Minutewomen and the Rams battled it out all the way to a second overtime. The victory comes as the team’s first overtime win of the season. Goalkeeper Alyssa Chase made one save in the first half before being relieved by Bella Mendoza, who also made one save. Fordham outshot UMass 10-8, but the Minutewomen had one more shot on target (4-3). Defenders Dani Sclafani and Fiona Kane were once again instrumental in not allowing a goal from open play.

“I’m so proud of the group as a whole,” Dowiak said. “I can’t say enough about Dani Sclafani and Fiona Kane, especially. They continue to lock it down as our center-backs and outperform every opponent that they see. They’re really the anchors that are making this possible this year.”

One might have expected that after a full game-plus of competitive action, fatigue would begin to settle in. But Sunday, this wasn’t a problem for the Minutewomen. The team’s drive and motivation kept them hungry to the last minute.

“We stick together to find the motivation,” Bonavita said. “We play for each other. We always want to be able to get the win for ourselves and to continue to move forward towards the playoffs.”

The Fordham victory marks the half-way point in the season for the Minutewomen. The win means the team sits in second place in the Atlantic 10 women’s soccer North standings. La Salle, who the Minutewomen were victorious over last weekend, currently sits in first place.

The Minutewomen are set to battle Saint Joseph’s (2-4-2, 1-1-1 A-10) in a home match at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Ryan D’Alleva can be reached at [email protected].