Own goal comes back to haunt Minutewomen in 1-1 draw against Robert Morris

Ella Curry scores the equalizer at the end of the first half

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Caitlin Mott/ Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Assistant Sports Editor

Sunday’s game didn’t quite go the way the Massachusetts women’s soccer team would have hoped, but the Minutewomen didn’t come home from their road trip empty-handed. They returned to Amherst with one point after competing to a 1-1 draw against Robert Morris.

“I thought we came out and we kept possession really well and we looked good,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “It was tough to travel and be on the road for five days, and at least come away with one point on the weekend is something still for us.”

Despite controlling possession for most of the first half, it was the Colonials (2-0-2) who struck first after Haleigh Finale fired a shot that went off the knee of captain Serena Ahmed and into the net.

UMass (1-2-1) quickly responded, refusing to back down after that mistake. Near the end of the first half, Grace Pinkus lined up to take a corner kick, finding the head of Maya Masotti, but the ball was sent farther out in the box. Ella Curry was on the receiving end, taking a low, one touch shot that squeezed through multiple defenders and into the bottom right corner of the net.

“We had plenty of chances already, so it’s just the confidence that we have, and the group has to say, ‘that’s unfortunate, but doesn’t get to us,’” Dowiak said. “We created plenty of chances before and after that to get the result.”

The Minutewomen’s inability to score was not from a lack of attempts, outshooting their opponent 13-5, with seven of those shots on goal. Robert Morris only produced two shots on goal, one of which resulted in a goal.

Chandler Pedolzky led the offensive efforts for UMass, providing it with the first scoring opportunity in the 12th minute. The sophomore forward brought the ball along the endline, attempting to cross it in, but forced Robert Morris goalkeeper Isabella Bohlen to try and knock the ball away. Bohlen punched it over her head, flying past the goal and to the foot of Olivia Gouldsbury, but her cross went out of bonds.

Pedolzky finished the day with a team high three shots, while Gouldsbury and Bella Recinos followed closely behind with two each. The Colonials offensive efforts were attributed to Finale, who recorded three shots, two of which were on goal.

Bohlen’s heroics continued after Lauren Smida fired a low shot, forcing Robert Morris goalkeeper to make a diving save. Pedolzky followed it up with another shot at the right corner of the net, but as Bohlen dove, she stuck her left hand out, able to redirect it and force it away. Bohlen finished the day recording six saves.

“If their goalkeeper had to make a save, she made it,” Dowiak said. “Anything that we seemed to shoot in the second half, they were just throwing their bodies at it. So, credit to Robert Morris and the way that they defended.”

As for the Minutewomen, it was Megan Olszewski who spent the entire 90 minutes between the goal posts. The junior goalkeeper earned high praise from Dowiak at the start of the season, being named the starter in the season opening win over Albany. Throughout the road trip, she split time with fellow junior Bella Mendoza in the loss to Fairfield and sophomore Katie Russell in the defeat to Pitt. But, in Sunday’s close contest, the team’s confidence in her remained strong for the entire game.

“She’s our first one,” Dowiak said. “When we make changes it’s because we feel like it makes sense to, and we went into halftime kind of feeling like we did at Fairfield where we were in control but wanted to make sure that we started the second half with that same level of control.”

The Minutewomen return to Rudd Field for a three-game homestand, starting with a match up against Boston College at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

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