Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Alec Hughes leads UMass to road win over Central Connecticut State

Hughes scores season-high two goals
Shilpa Sweth/ Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team picked up its third consecutive win in a 4-2 road victory over Central Connecticut State on Wednesday night.

“Very pleased with the road win, now that we’re back in classes, we wanted to see if we could come on the road, coming off a big home win against BC,” UMass head coach Fran O’Leary said. “Any time you come on the road, score four goals, you’re going to be very happy.”

The Minutemen (3-0-1) got off to a hot start against the Blue Devils (2-2), scoring two goals in the first five minutes of the game. Junior forward Alec Hughes put in the first goal of the night off a penalty kick that he aimed to the left of the net at middle height, sailing over the head of the CCSU goaltender.

“[Hughes] was terrific, we wanted a fast start, and he almost had a third [goal], he could’ve had a hat trick within the opening 10 minutes of the game,” O’Leary said. “[Hughes] is so important for us, as he goes beyond his energy, his physicality, his willingness to sacrifice to the team is huge.”

Hughes scored his second goal just 31 seconds later off a mistake from the Central Connecticut State goalkeeper, stealing the ball and hustling to make a shot from a tight angle that was perfectly placed near the left post.

This was Hughes’ most aggressive game so far this season. He tallied multiple season highs with five shots, four shots on goal, and two goals scored. It was the third time in his career that he recorded a brace, and the first since the 2020-21 season, his freshman campaign.

Other Minutemen also had career performances of their own. Freshman defender Alex Brown scored his first career goal in the 39th minute from the left side of the box off of passes from senior midfielder Tommy Case and junior midfielder Mike Willis.

“Beautiful, beautiful goal, good ball from Tommy [Case] and terrific ball from Mike Willis and then it was a great finish from Alex [Brown]. Absolutely delighted for him,” O’Leary said.

Sophomore midfielder Andrew Ortiz recorded his second career goal and first of the season in the 57th minute, assisted by Willis and freshman midfielder Matt Cence.

UMass did a solid job on both ends of the field in its win. Offensively, it attempted 11 shots with seven of those on goal. Defensively, the Minutemen held back the Blue Devils, allowing four total shots and two on goal.

One area that UMass can improve on going forward is the amount of fouls it gives. The Minutemen committed 19 infractions against CCSU and are averaging 18.25 a game for the season.

“Obviously we want to give up less fouls, some of them were perhaps a little bit soft, but we’ll work to improve,” O’Leary said.

Looking ahead to their next game, the Minutemen are also setting other goals. They’ll aim to host 2000 fans at their home game against undefeated Boston University on Saturday after over 1,800 fans attended UMass’ last home game against Boston College, the most since 2017.

“We had 1800 at our game against BC, we’re trying to get 2000. The fans at the BC game were fantastic,” O’Leary said.

UMass will return to the field on Saturday when they take on Boston University at Rudd Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected].

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