UMass unable to overcome Saint Louis in 2-0 loss Sunday

The Minutewomen lose their second straight game

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Caitlin Mott/ Daily Collegian

By Batanai Dhliwayo, Collegian Correspondent

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team lost 2-0 in a physical game against Saint Louis on Sunday on the road.  Although they started off strong offensively, the Minutewomen (7-4-3, 3-2-1 Atlantic 10) conceded an early goal in the 13th minute that deflated their momentum.

“We started really well again, I think we had three or four shots in the first 10 minutes, good opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” head coach Jason Dowiak said.

The Billikens (6-7-1, 4-2-0 A-10) early goal came from a UMass possession turnover in the defensive third, which led to an impressive strike by Hannah Friedrich into the top right corner of the goal.

“As it goes if you don’t finish chances early on against good teams and you let them find their way into the game,” Dowiak said. “I credit them, they are a good team, and they took advantage of a couple bad moments that we put ourselves into.”

UMass showed resilience after the early goal and were able to withstand the Billikens’ 11 shot attempts in the first half without conceding another goal.  This was due in large part to the performance of Minutewomen goalkeeper Megan Olszewski who finished the game with 5 saves.

“Megan’s response after that goal was awesome, I don’t think all her saves get accounted for on the score sheet because sometimes they come off of crosses where she’s dealing with a lot of pressure in traffic,” Dowiak said. “They also had some free kicks that were very dangerous that she kept close and collected for herself.”

Although the Minutewomen were able to hold Saint Louis to only four shots in the second half, an unfortunate foul resulted in a 73rd minute penalty kick goal for the Billikens, giving them a 2-0 advantage over UMass late in the game.  That crucial error was a sign of the fatigue the Minutewomen faced during the midseason game in Saint Louis.

“Lasting 90 minutes after giving up an unnecessary goal early on got mentally draining for us,” Dowiak said. “So, I am proud of the group for continuing to fight and battle for 90 minutes, it was not our best day, and we just look to bounce back because we’ve been playing really well.”

Even during the tough loss UMass’ talents were displayed. Freshmen forward Chandler Pedolzky played an aggressive game both offensively and defensively recording 5 shots for the Minutewomen.

“The area where Chandler was most apparent yesterday was she came back a little bit more on offense to help defend and take balls off of their midfielders,” Dowiak said. “As a freshmen we see a lot of quality from her and it’s tough when you’re a young player playing at this level to be super consistent.”

The strong performances by a multitude of players from the Minutewomen were still not enough to get a win over the Billikens in the grueling midseason matchup.  However, the Minutewomen look to rest and try to overcome their fatigue for their home game against Richmond on Thursday.

“Our biggest focus is recovery, it was a tough trip, a few different flights to get there with trip delays,” Dowiak said.  “It’s really about getting their bodies back as close to 100 percent feeling good, feeling fresh, that will be our focus going forward this week. We know what we looked like the past 3 games before we played Saint Louis.”

Batanai Dhliwayo can be reached at [email protected]