Offensive success in the second half puts UMass over Fordham on Sunday

The Minutewomen scored two goals in the second half

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Caitlin Mott / Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team took the field prepared to take on Fordham after coming off an offensively strong performance on Thursday, but a lack of movement in the first half left it searching for change in the second.

In the 53rd minute, Chandler Pedolzky and Karina Groff charged towards the goal. A quick through ball by Pedolzky found the foot of Groff who took a shot, beating Fordham goalie Maria O’Sullivan and hitting the bottom left corner of the net, giving the Minutewomen (8-4-3, 4-2-1 Atlantic 10) the lead.

“I think we just got settled more and more into the game, and what we were doing in the first half was working for us to get into the final third,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “I wouldn’t say we made any dramatic adjustments, just kind of reminded our attacking group of where we figured or thought we would be dangerous.”

The first half ended with most of play remaining in the middle of the field. UMass generated four shots, with only one of them on goal. The Rams (3-10-2, 1-5-1 A-10) defensive line was able to stop any potential opportunities and O’Sullivan was not challenged in goal.

Dowiak expressed in practice on Friday that a fast start was important to create momentum and take control of the game. However, possession remained split in the first half on Sunday. It wasn’t until the second half that more opportunities were created. Groff had another look at the goal with a shot on an open net, but the ball bounced off the left post.

“I think we started quite well, just not getting a lot of shots,” Dowiak said. “I think we actually did a very good job of creating opportunities to get into the final third, and like I said, it’s just figuring out how to final break them down.”

In the latter half of Sunday’s game, Olivia Gouldsbury got her first goal of the season after Pedolzky gave her a leading pass and Gouldsbury took a quick shot. This was Pedolzky’s second assist on the day and gave UMass a 2-0 lead.

“We said we specifically wanted to get [Gouldsbury] on the ball in an area where she could cut inside and shoot,” Dowiak said. “The moment developed really nicely, and [Gouldsbury] is very technical and very clinical in her ability to finish and that just was a perfect display of what she’s capable of.”

Fordham has struggled this season only scoring 15 goals, but allowing 25 in. They are riding a four-game losing streak after today’s loss, so UMass had the opportunity to use Sunday’s matchup as a momentum builder offensively. After falling two games in a row to VCU and Saint Louis, the Minutewomen have now won two in a row.

Two games remain in regular season play and UMass will return to Rudd Field to face off against St. Bonaventure, who currently sits in fifth place, right behind the Minutewomen. The game will begin at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @SophieeWellerr.