Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A strong second half performance gives UMass men’s soccer the victory over La Salle, 2-1

Minutemen win their last regular season game
Judith Gibson-Okunieff
Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team got the win on the road in Saturday evenings match against La Salle, marking its final game of the regular season. It is unknown whether UMass will be continuing to play in the postseason at this time.

The Minutemen (7-1-2, 3-1-2 Atlantic 10) took the lead in the second half scoring two goals within two minutes. Yet, La Salle (5-5-1, 2-3-1 A-10) continued to fight, scoring one goal and putting themselves back in the game.

“Very pleased with the result,” UMass head coach Fran O’Leary said. “To get three points on the road against a good La Salle team is very pleasing.”

The Explorers controlled play throughout much of the first half, putting pressure on UMass’ back line. In the 20th minute, La Salle was awarded a corner kick, and Franc Gamiz Quer jumped up, getting the header, but the ball deflected off the cross bar and went out of bounds.

In the last seconds of the first half, La Salle’s Sam Decencio took a shot from far outside, but a diving save from UMass’ Marvyn Dorchin allowed the game to remain scoreless. Dorchin recorded four saves this game, with the Explorers outshooting the Minutemen, 17-12.

“I felt they had a better first half and we came out in the second half a different team,” O’Leary said. “We stood up to their speed and strength”

UMass began the second half strong, creating opportunities offensively and generating shots. In the 57th minute, UMass gained the lead. Ben Shepherd took the corner kick, and Alec Hughes was first to the ball, taking a one touch shot and finding the bottom left of the net. This was Hughes’ seventh goal of the season, allowing the freshman to remain the leader in the Atlantic 10 Conference in goals scored.

In the 59th minute, Nathaniel Cardoza recorded his first goal of the season. Yosuke Hanya passed the ball to Cardoza who took the shot from far outside the 18, with the ball sailing past the goalies’ hands into the top right corner. UMass had tied La Salle when they played earlier in the season but fought to maintain the lead and secure the win this game.

However, the Explorers came back determined with a goal from Omari Cotterell in the 63rd minute. They continued to pressure the defense but were unable to score and force the game to overtime. UMass’ defense stepped up in the final minutes, clearing the ball and preventing potential opportunities for La Salle.

“We had to defend resolutely to get the win, and we did that,” O’Leary said. “I thought our back four, and eventually we went to five in the back, I thought they all did a great job.”

Although UMass only suffered one loss this season, they finish in the middle of the Atlantic 10 and will miss out on the conference tournament. O’Leary and the team are hopeful for a NCAA tournament bid.

“I thought we came out with a great mentality and a great attitude in the second half,” O’Leary said. “Just take that and carry it into our next game.”

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected]. She can be followed on Twitter @sophieewellerr.

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