UMass battles through 110 minutes of play in 0-0 draw against Northeastern

First half struggles left the Minutewomen scrambling

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Parker Peters / Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team came into Sunday’s matchup against Northeastern looking to extend its four-game unbeaten streak. UMass (3-2-2) did that, but not the way it would have hoped, drawing 0-0 with the Huskies (3-2-1).

The first half saw possession mainly controlled by Northeastern, with the Minutewomen struggling to get the ball past midfield. UMass played defensively and was chasing after the ball, leaving the team tired at the start of second half.

“I don’t think we played very well in the first half at all in possession,” Dowiak said. “I think a draw was a win for us today. I think that Northeastern had some really good chances, but our players really sacrificed their bodies to deny the ball going in the back of the net.”

Coming off a loss, the Huskies showed their strengths generating multiple shots and opportunities offensively. They outshot the Minutewomen 21-7, with four shots on goal.

For UMass, Sarah DeFreitas recorded two shots and freshman Chandler Pedolzky recorded the only shot on goal on Friday, but it was saved by Huskies’s goalkeeper Angeline Friel.

“They made things difficult with their tactics at the start of the game,” Dowiak said. “We went in thinking we were going to see one thing, and then needed to make some pretty dramatic adjustments at half time.”

Despite offensive struggles, the defensive line for the Minutewomen allowed the game to stay tied up. Dowiak credits Ava Jouvenel, Fiona Kane, Juliana Ryan, and Macy Graves for their ability to clear the ball and block shots. They were able to prevent Northeastern from generating a scoring chance for the first 19 minutes of play, but a shot by Halle McCabe into the hands of Megan Olszewski signaled the start of a run for the Huskies. Olszewski, in her fourth start of the season, recorded 4 major saves including a diving save in the 51st minute.

“She’s getting herself in good positions to make saves and getting her body behind the ball well,” Dowiak said. “For us it’s the consistency that we have been so impressed with over the last three or four games.”

Bella Mendoza, who started the first three games of the season, has been sidelined with an injury and has not seen time in multiple games. In her absence, Olszewski has shown skill and composure in net, coming up with many saves and helping her team remain unbeaten.

In preparing for this game, the Minutewomen focused on their struggles on offense. They have relied heavily on set plays this season and were working on taking more shots inside of the box. Yet, this game did not show any improvement with the team looking jumbled and unable to keep possession for long stretches of time. Looking towards the next game, Dowiak has expectations for his team.

“I think we just want to get back to playing a bit faster and having a little bit more creativity in our possession”, Dowiak said. “Simple connecting to really like move our opponent and get behind them. I’d be happy with just an improvement in our quality of possession.”

UMass returns home for a 1 p.m. matchup against Yale at Rudd Field on Wednesday.

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