Minutewomen unable to capitalize on offensive efforts against St. Bonaventure

UMass had 18 shot attempts Thursday

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Caitlin Mott/Daily Collegian

By Batanai Dhliwayo , Collegian Staff

Throughout the 2021-22 soccer season the cohesion of the Massachusetts women’s soccer team has been on display. This is more impressive considering the relatively young age of the team.

However, in Thursday’s match against St. Bonaventure (6-7-4, 4-4-1 Atlantic 10) at Rudd Field the youthfulness of UMass (9-4-4, 5-2-2 A-10) did not work in its favor.

“We’ve got a lot of young players that are still even at this point of this season are getting acclimated to the speed of the college game,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “We’ve got great creative players, but it’s really just the speed of decision making and the ability to be ready for moments when they do get in front of the net to have the most quality in the final product.”

The Minutewomen finished the double overtime game against the Bonnies in a 0-0 draw. UMass had 18 shots attempted throughout the game and came close to scoring many times but were not able to convert. St. Bonaventure gave UMass trouble with their low press, which required the Minutewomen to make quick and critical decisions in the attacking third.

“They were very good today, very organized. Steve [Brdarski] is a very good coach, He’s always got his team very well organized and very compact,” Dowiak said. “They were tough to break down, they play a low-pressure kind of system and that is sometimes hard to figure out when you have too much time to figure out what’s the best option.”

Although it ended in a draw, Thursday’s match showcased the talent of UMass’ young forwards and midfielders. Four Minutewomen recorded two or more shots during the game. Bella Recinos and Chandler Pedolzky came especially close to scoring by hitting the uprights and crossbar.

“They’re both freshmen, they’re both capable of scoring goals we’ve had all year long.,” Dowiak said. “[The Bonnies] keeper made an unbelievable save at Bella [Recinos’ shot], so we tested them, we created the opportunities we needed to win today. I think it’s similar to the VCU game earlier in the year and the other games that have fallen to overtime for us where we’re just trying to figure out that urgency to put the game away.”

Another aspect that made the game difficult for UMass was the aggression of the Bonnies.  Throughout the game both teams played extremely physically, which was especially grueling in a double overtime match. At the end of the match there were 20 combined fouls that occurred. Sophomore forward Karina Groff, who’s playstyle draws a lot of defensive attention, experienced a lot of physical play.

“I think it just kind of makes us want it more, we hate when there’s aggressive games and it makes us mad, makes us hungry to keep fighting, to get back up and keep going,” Groff said.

Moving forward, the Minutewomen look to continue to play their game, while capitalizing on the goal scoring opportunities presented to them by opposing teams. UMass plays its last regular season match against La Salle in Philadelphia on Sunday with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

Batanai Dhliwayo can be reached at [email protected]