Chandler Pedolzky’s impressive season continues

Pedolzky’s goal puts UMass over Yale on Wednesday

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Chris Tucci / UMass Athletics

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

Chandler Pedolzky scored the lone goal of the University of Massachusetts women’s soccer game on Wednesday afternoon to give UMass a 1-0 lead over Yale in the last non-conference game of the season.

In the 15th minute, Ashley Lamond took the throw in, finding Pedolzky who took a touch, getting the ball around the defender. She took the shot and the ball sailed past the goalkeeper, finding the top right corner of the net. The Bulldogs (0-7-0) were unable to get an equalizer.

“She’s a goal scorer,” Head Coach Jason Dowiak said. “I think we will start to see even more offensive production from her.”

Pedolzky’s success began in her first collegiate game, when she scored the only goal for the Minutewomen (4-2-2) against No. 10 Penn State in August. She then got a goal and an assist in the 3-0 win over UMass Lowell later that month. Pedolzky has nine points already this season — the highest of any UMass player.

“I think that [Pedolzky] is trying to get used to the college game,” Dowiak said. “It’s just different. It’s faster, it’s more competitive, it’s more physical and I think freshmen, especially coming out of the last year with COVID-19, there are so many changes to get adjusted to as a young person in college.”

A local athlete from Westfield, Massachusetts, Pedolzsky was well known by the Minutewomen program and had been recruited for the past three years. Before coming to UMass, Pedolzky also played club soccer for UMass’ new assistant coach, Lauren Aldred.

Pedolzky was and still is her toughest critic.

“She sets really high standards for herself and has high expectations,” Dowiak said. “It’s just a growing and a learning process for freshmen.”

Looking back, Dowiak compared Pedolzky to Lauren Bonavita, who in her freshman year recorded seven goals. Most of Bonavita’s goals, however, were scored in the second half of the season, while Pedolzky has already accumulated nine within the first half of the season.

“We know what we can get from her,” Dowiak said. “She’s one of the two most dangerous players for us up top, with her and Karina [Groff].”

While UMass has struggled on offense this season, Pedolzky and Groff have played a major part in setting up the team’s conscious use of set pieces. Going into conference play, the Minutewomen will look to create more opportunities and put more shots on net.

This year’s UMass squad has 12 new players: 10 freshman and two sophomores. Each game has displayed young talent and a bright future for the Minutewomen, as most of the starters to date have been either freshmen or sophomores. Out of the 11 goals scored this season, seven have been by the underclassmen players on the team.

“We don’t look at how old somebody is when we make the decision of who’s starting,” Dowiak said. “It’s all about the quality. It’s all about the consistency and it’s all about the impact that we feel that they can make, so Chandler has earned those starts for sure.”

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sophieewellerr.