Minutewomen draw even against Merrimack 1-1

Missed opportunities prevent UMass from pulling ahead

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Parker Peters / Daily Collegian

By Carson Depp, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team came into a matchup against Merrimack with momentum after an overtime win against Bryant on Thursday. The Minutewomen (3-2-1) had been winners of three straight after dropping their first two games.

A combination of missed opportunities and stellar play from (0-4-2) senior goalie Michele Silva prevented UMass from being efficient offensively. The Warriors found themselves with multiple scoring opportunities early in the first half, but the Minutewomen were able to escape from the threatening attacks.

“We put ourselves in tough situations and they took advantage of it,” Head Coach Jason Dowiak said. “I think our backline and [Megan Olszewski] in goal did well to squash out the really dangerous moments.”

Merrimack eventually found the back of the net in the 31st minute. The ball bounced right to junior forward Molly Murnane who ripped a shot from outside the box past Olszewski.

The Warriors made another strong push on goal towards the end of the first half, but the Minutewomen held their ground behind excellent defense from senior defender Ava Jouvenel.

UMass appeared to finally settle in and find themselves in the second half. The Minutewomen began applying pressure on Merrimack’s defense which led them to a few scoring opportunities. One opportunity was a race to the ball outside the Warrior’s net which ended in a collision with Silva coming up with the ball for the Warriors.

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UMass had a fantastic chance to tie the game up in the 48th minute as junior midfielder Lauren Smida crossed the ball to freshman forward Ashley Lamond who struck a shot that ended up being kept out by Silva.

“She made some unbelievable saves, out of the 27 or 28 shots we took, we didn’t test her often enough for that many shots,” Dowiak said of the Warriors goaltender. “She was fantastic, she was their player of the day for me.”

The Minutewomen would eventually get another golden opportunity and this time they would cash in. Jouvenel sent the ball towards the back post and bounced around before landing right in front of Lamond who buried it in the 75th minute.

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UMass continued to apply pressure on Merrimack’s defense towards the end of the second half. With 30 seconds to go in the second half, the Minutewomen sent in a corner kick that was a well-played ball, but the Warriors defended the opportunity even better.

It was Lamond who seemed to generate the best chances for UMass in the overtime periods. Lamond sent a pass into the box with just 30 seconds remaining in the second overtime, but was again defended well by Merrimack.

The hard-fought battle ended in a draw at 1-1. It was the second straight overtime contest the Minutewomen had competed in.

“We’re very young, starting anywhere from eight to nine freshman and sophomores,” Dowiak said. “A lot of players are still getting used to what the college game is like and what the battle from day to day is like.”

UMass heads to Brookline to take on Northeastern Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.

Carson Depp can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @CarsonDepp.