UMass men’s soccer beats Saint Joseph’s on the road 2-1 for its second straight win

Minutemen pick up their first conference win

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Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian

By Eli Weisberger, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team defeated Saint Joseph’s 2-1 Saturday night to collect its second consecutive victory. The Minutemen (6-2-1, 1-1-0 Atlantic 10) scored one goal in each half to initially go up 2-0, which proved to be too big a deficit for the Hawks (3-6-0, 1-1-0 A-10) to come back from.

UMass got the scoring going in the ninth minute of the first half when forward Filippo Begliardi Ghidini struck the ball into the back of the net on a through ball from Yosuke Hanya to give it a 1-0 lead early. The Minutemen held on to their early lead for the rest of the half, but not without any pressure from the Hawks. Saint Joseph’s managed seven shots in the first half along with five corner kicks.

“I just think we were very bright from the start,” UMass coach Fran O’Leary said. “We were focused, you could sense it on the bus coming in, and we knew we needed to get points on the board in the conference. The guys came out and we had a very fast start and came out in the second half with a very fast start, and we were in control at 2-0.”

The Minutemen went on to score again just five minutes into the second half thanks to a goal by midfielder Nick Zielonka in the 50th minute. It was a disastrous moment for the Hawks who had their goalkeeper collide with one of their defenders which paved way for Zielonka to play the ball in some space and fire it into the back of the net.

Saint Joseph’s answered back with a goal of their own in the 70th minute on a penalty kick from midfielder Garrett Lyons. It was the lone goal for the Hawks who couldn’t capitalize on any of their 16 total shots throughout the game.

UMass managed to keep Saint Joseph’s on its back foot throughout the game and defensively was able to limit its offensive chances. Goalkeeper Marvyn Dorchin had minimal work to do against the Hawks and finished the game with one save.

“I think we managed to get up to the ball and press a very talented team,” O’Leary said. “Secondly with our back four we won so many headers against a very tall, competitive, and well coached team. They had some very tall players, one 6-foot-3, one 6-foot-4, and one was 6-foot-7 and I felt we showed a lot of courage to compete against strong Atlantic 10 players. I’m very, very proud of the team.”

UMass has now won consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 8. Momentum seems to be on the Minutemen’s side after a tough spell in which they lost against No. 24 Saint Louis and Vermont, both at home.

“We just got to keep our energy, our mentality,” O’Leary said. “We come in the last two games with a very strong mentality, and I think if we can maintain that we will keep creating chances and scoring goals…. overall, we are absolutely delighted with the three points.”

UMass squares off against Yale on the road Tuesday, Sept. 28. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Eli Weisberger can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EAIchek.