UMass women’s soccer looking to keep its unbeaten streak against Northeastern on Sunday

Minutewomen are optimistic despite struggles on offense


Lynus Erickson/Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

After a slow start to the season, the Massachusetts’s women’s soccer team has shown improvement, winning three of its last four and mounting a comeback to record a draw against Merrimack in its last game. The Minutewomen (3-2-1) will travel and face off against Northeastern on Sunday.

Despite coming off a loss, the Huskies (3-2-0) battled in their last match against UMass Lowell, showing offensive and defensive strengths.

“They are a good team,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “I think our focus all week and going into Sunday is just going to be about doing what we do well but do it well for longer and try and keep possession for as long as we can.”

UMass has been setting up more plays offensively, often outshooting its opponents. A lot of the opportunities are from midfielders sending balls to the corners, with either a cross in the air or on the ground, looking for the foot of a teammate.

“We certainly look at our possession to get down to the end line,” Dowiak said. “So, if we can create corners and we can create opportunities for set pieces in and around the box, I think that our players that are most aggressive in the air are going to keep finding ways to get themselves dangerous. I think it just adds another quality to the way that we can find the back of the net.”

UMass has had a week to recover, allowing for more rest and more time spent on video and tactical training. Mia Carazza, Serena Ahmed, and Bella Mendoza have all been sidelined with injuries, and this break has allowed them to recover and get back into training. During the week, the Minutewomen’s focus has been on building confidence and getting the players in front of the goal.

The roster for UMass this season shows 22 freshman and sophomores. Freshman Chandler Pedolzky has put up impressive numbers throughout the start of the season with 15 shots, two goals, and three assists.

“I’m really happy with how we are playing,” Dowiak said. “With that young of a squad and anywhere from eight to nine freshman and sophomores starting most games, I think where we’re at is probably well ahead of where we expected to be this early in the season.”

Sophomore Megan Olszewski came in late in the game against the River Hawks (3-2-1) and has started in the last three matchups. Recording 18 saves, she has helped lead the team while Mendoza continues to recover from an injury.

“I’m very excited about the potential we have,” Olszewski said. “From the beginning of the season we saw the potential we had and every game we’ve gotten better, especially with possession of the ball. Now we just have to make sure we get chances and finish the chances we have since last game we didn’t do that too well. Northeastern should be a very good team but I think we will be ready to compete.”

Kickoff against Northeastern is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.

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