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

High press keeps Yale at bay in UMass women’s soccer 1-0 victory 

The Minutewomen held the Bulldogs to one shot on target
Chris Tucci / UMass Athletics

In one of the most humid games of the year on Rudd Field, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team was able to secure a 1-0 victory over a winless Yale side. Chandler Pedolzky scored in spectacular fashion for the Minutewomen (4-2-2), driving along the edge of the box as Karina Groff was able to draw defenders away and curling a shot to the far post, up and away from the hands of Bulldogs (0-7) goalkeeper Maya Bellomo.

UMass set the tone early, pressuring high up the field, forcing Yale to play on its back foot and keeping the tempo of the game in favor of the Minutewomen.

“We actually made a couple of adjustments,” UMass Head Coach Jason Dowiak said. “We wanted to get out on the front foot, drive forward and get more numbers forward. We pushed Bella Recinos a little bit higher up the midfield which helped create more chances. It was just about putting them under more pressure with how quickly we went forward, and we did that. I was very pleased with that today.”

The humidity posed an issue midway through both halves for UMass due to its high pressing, causing Dowiak to uncharacteristically make many substitutions to keep energy levels high.

“We practice very early in the mornings, and it’s been quite cool unlike today,” Dowiak said. “We got a lot of players some extra rest which we haven’t been able to do the last couple of games. I think everybody but Megan [Olszewski], Fiona [Kane] and Juliana [Ryan] got to come out for a decent bit, so I think that helped us allow our players to get some extra rest and go into the second half with some energy.”

The only issue for the Minutewomen in this game, which has carried over throughout most of the season, is being able to finish their chances. In the midfield, while UMass consistently can keep possession and play balls down to the corners for its wingers, this is where its attack typically stalls.

“We definitely could have finished more chances and I think we were a little careless and had a couple unnecessary giveaways which is disheartening at times because we were doing so well,” Dowiak said. “We’d have one little mistake that gave them a scoring chance. They were good. Their record does not reflect their quality. They had lots of chances, but our back line and [Olszewski] played really well.”

Making her 2021 season debut, senior Mia Carazza made an immediate impact coming onto the pitch in the second half. Missing the first seven games of the season due to injury, Carazza was flying down the wing and sending in quality crosses that the Minutewomen couldn’t capitalize on. These contributions will be an asset that UMass will be able to utilize heading into the back half of the season.

“[Carazza] was one of the most impactful players out wide that we’ve seen all season,” Dowiak said.

In her fifth career start for UMass, Olszewski stayed in net for the full 90 minutes despite former starter Bella Mendoza wearing her goalkeeper kit on the sideline for the first time since her injury a couple of weeks ago. Olszewski had her slowest day at the office so far this season, only needing to make one save, though coming up big when the Minutewomen needed her to. Diving at full stretch, Olszewski pushed away a well-struck shot from Yale’s Rebeka Róth, the Bulldogs’ most dangerous chance on the day.

This game closes out the Minutewomen’s non-conference slate, moving them onto Atlantic 10 play Sunday Sept. 19 against Duquesne. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Pittsburgh.

Kevin Schuster can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @KevinESchuster.

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