Overtime goal sends La Salle over UMass 2-1 on Sunday

The Minutewomen remain in fourth place in A-10 standings

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Kat Mayo / Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team fell to La Salle in its final regular season game of the year, 2-1 in double overtime. With the loss the Minutewomen (9-5-4, 5-3-2 Atlantic 10) will finish in fourth place in A-10 standings.

“We played so well to start the game and created chances,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “Every time we play at La Salle it’s always an emotional day, it’s always a physical battle. They battle to the very end and I’m really proud of how our players responded to giving up the goal and then we created another great chance and scored off the corner to get it to overtime. So, it was disappointing losing. They scored a really nice goal at the end, but I’m happy with how we played.”

La Salle got the lead with a goal early in the second half. In the 52nd minute, Haley Gschrey took the ball down the field and fired a shot to the bottom left corner that escaped the hands of goalkeeper Megan Olszewski, and left UMass searching for an equalizer.

With less than nine minutes remaining in regulation play, Macy Graves scored her first goal for the Minutewomen, blasting a shot down the center of the net off a corner kick sent in by Olivia Gouldsbury.

“When she scored, the entire team went nuts because she really lifts a lot of us up when we’re down,” Dowiak said. “It was an unbelievable finish. She jumped up over everybody and absolutely smashed the header back down that beat the keeper.”

Sunday’s game saw possession going back and forth, with no clear team dominating ball presence. The first period of overtime didn’t see much movement from either team, with UMass getting the only shot off. However, in the second, both teams had more offensive opportunities, with the Explorers (6-9-2, 4-5-1 A-10) capitalizing to get the win after a goal by Kelli McGroarty in overtime.

It was a battle in net throughout the first half as Olszewski and La Salle’s Jordynn Stallard were both challenged, making many big saves to keep the game scoreless. Olszewski and Stallard both ended the half with five saves each and Stallard recorded a total of eight on the day.

“Their goalkeeper played an amazing game,” Dowiak said. “We had, I would say, probably four shots that were maybe the four best shots we’ve taken all season, and [Jordynn Stallard] came up with four unbelievable saves.”

In the 12th minute, Olszewski made a diving save after Molly O’Brien regained possession of the ball from the Minutewomen defensive line in the box and took a quick shot. Bella Mendoza entered the game in the 58th minute, earning three saves over 48 minutes of play and making crucial saves in the final minutes.

“[Olszewski] was fantastic and she had to deal with some pressure certainly in the first half so that’s why we kept her in to start the second half,” Dowiak said. “They have both been performing at such a high level, so we’re just so lucky to have them both competing for each other and with each other to make each other better every day.”

UMass sits at fourth place with Richmond right behind them. After the Spiders’ loss on Sunday, the Minutewomen earn home field advantage in the quarterfinals.

“That’s always our goal at the start of every season is to finish in the top four and give ourselves that opportunity to host that first game,” Dowiak said.

The Minutewomen kick off postseason play against St. Bonaventure at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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