Lauren Bonavita powers UMass to 3-1 victory against Davidson

Bonavita scores two goals in the win

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Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian (2018)

By Scottie Marro, Collegian Contributor

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team was dominant on both sides of the field against Davidson, as UMass (2-4-4, 1-0-1 A10) came away with a 3-1 win at home against the Wildcats.

Lauren Bonavita shined in the win, scoring two impressive goals for the Minutewomen. Her first goal came at 17:26 in the first half off a corner kick, the second game in a row she scored on a corner play. Bonavita took the kick and sent it to Lauren Smida, who touched it over to Bella Recinos. Recinos dropped it back to an open Bonavita, who shot a laser labeled for the top right corner to make it 1-0 in favor of UMass. Head coach Jason Dowiak said that was one of their planned plays they had drawn up earlier.

“We had talked about doing this one earlier on in the season, but we just haven’t brought it out yet, and it worked out perfectly,” Dowiak said. “Lauren took one of the best shots that I’ve ever seen a player take, but the ball that Smida gave her made it all possible.”

Bonavita’s seventh goal of the season along with great defense on the other end set the tone early for UMass. Grace Pinkus scored the second goal for the Minutewomen about 23 minutes later on a breakaway, taking it tough around the defender and blasting it past Wildcats’ goalie Mary Grace Bunch to make it 2-0.

Davidson did not maintain possession much outside of their own side of the field and only mustered two shots in the first half. Neither were quality shots against goalie Bella Mendoza, who has started and finished the past three games for UMass. She didn’t face too many dangerous shots all game but had a brief scare at the beginning of the second half when Davidson forward Aleia Gisolfi-McCready caught her out of position. Mendoza came out to challenge and second-guessed the decision, but Gisolfi-McCready would hit the outside of the post after getting past a sprawled Mendoza.

During the first half, it was UMass taking control and getting to every 50-50 ball, which showed on the scoresheet going up 2-0. However, in the second half, it was Davidson that had that extra effort.

The Wildcats were much more composed and adjusted after halftime, while the Minutewomen were starting to look rattled, causing a few turnovers mainly in their own end. The panic in their game would result in Davidson’s first goal of the game five minutes into the second half, with Savannah Pruitt scoring on a header right in front of Mendoza, cutting the UMass lead to just one.

“I think that we just got a little rattled, you know, after we gave up a goal that we didn’t think should have been a corner to begin with, and one way or another was either offsides or obstructing the goalie,” Dowiak said. “It started to get tense, but Davidson has a great coach in coach Adams who always gets them to battle. So, I think we really needed to get a third goal for us to really solidify the control of the game and we did just that.”

Bonavita was able to answer back about 13 minutes later for the Minutewomen with another impressive goal. Ashley Lamond completed a clean slide tackle and sent a cross pass curving in towards the middle of the box with Bonavita making the run. She was able to get her head on the ball and direct it towards the net, finding the bottom right corner and making it 3-1 in favor of UMass.

The Minutewomen were able to control the rest of the game and not give up many chances on defense to finish out the game strong. Freshman Nia Hislop also stood out on the defensive end, the first time she has been used there all season. She showed great speed and tenacity when fighting for the ball and was noticeable on all ends of the field this game.

UMass came into this game with much more urgency when compared to its last few contests. Having not won a game since its season opener against Albany, Davidson was a big test.

“It’s always good to get a positive result,” Dowiak said. “I feel like that’s the most confident and dominant that we’ve looked all season, especially in the first half. So, I’m proud that we were able to go out there and put our best foot forward and get goals early on.”

The Minutewomen will travel to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph’s in a Thursday night matchup at 7 p.m.

Scottie Marro can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @scottiemarro.