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

UMass continues its three-game draw streak with 2-2 tie against UMass Lowell

Lauren Bonavita scores both goals for the Minutewomen
Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team remained vigilant on the pitch but its absence of consistency and patience left the Minutewomen settling with a 2-2 draw against UMass Lowell on Sunday.

UMass (1-2-3) had a strong second half,  securing its second goal in the 52nd minute courtesy of Lauren Bonavita. The graduate student had a strong performance in Sunday’s game, scoring both goals in the contest. In the first half, her shot from outside the box flew over the River Hawks (2-3-1) goalkeeper Taylor Burgess, slamming into the back of the net. With two goals in Sunday’s game, Bonavita leads the team with four points on the season.

After falling behind by a goal, the Minutewomen persevered in the second half, with the connection between Lindsay Wolf, Chandler Pedolzky, and Bonavita on full display. Wolf’s first shot was deflected away but Pedolzky followed it up with a shot of her own which was knocked off the goal line by a UMass Lowell defender. Eventually, Bonavita found herself at the receiving end of the ball and tucked it away in the bottom left corner of the net.

Head coach Jason Dowiak’s focus going into Sunday’s game was on fewer turnovers and cleaner passes, yet the Minutewomen only began to show improvement in the second half.

“We were bad in the first half under very limited pressure,” Dowiak said. “ [UMass Lowell] was organized, which their coach [Mira Novak] always has done, but they didn’t really press us hard until we got to a certain point and our players seemed to get impatient.”

On the River Hawks’ first shot attempt in the second half, Bella Mendoza rolled over onto her back after making the save in the corner of the net. Mendoza started the final 45 minutes in net, replacing Megan Olszewski. Mendoza put on a strong showing, not allowing a goal, and making four saves.

Quickly after Mendoza’s swift save, Bonavita made a wide pass to Ashley Lamond for UMass to keep possession of the ball. Ella Curry and Juliana Ryan replicated Bonavita and Lamond’s teamwork, pushing the ball farther up the field.

Freshman forward Nia Hislop contributed to the Minutewomen’s steady second half, displaying speed. She took control of the ball, fleeing down the sideline to cross the ball, looking for an open teammate. Her shot went past the net, and Hislop attempted to take the ball back from the River Hawks afterward, but couldn’t get a shot on the net before the ball went out of bounds.

After noting that both UMass and the River Hawks have similar playing styles, Dowiak addressed the high level of physicality present throughout the game. The Minutewomen finished the game with 10 fouls including a yellow card issued to Ryan, while Lowell ended the game with nine.

“I’m really proud of our physicality,” Dowiak said. “The physicality in a game is just two groups of players that really want it and are willing to sacrifice for it.”

The River Hawks and UMass traded possession throughout the second half and the efforts of Emily McCormack, Ryan, and Sarah Defreitas allowed the team to create a prime opportunity. Maya Masotti attempted a shot that was ultimately saved, but the sophomore was a shining spot for the Minutewomen, ending the day with two shot attempts.

Junior defender Layal Khartabil made her debut start for UMass, taking the place of captain Serena Ahmed, who has been recovering from an ankle injury. In the first half of the game, the ball remained in the air leaving it open for either team to get possession, but it was ultimately Khartabil who knocked it away. Her contributions added to the strength of the Minutewomen’s performance in the final minutes of the game.

“The second half [Khartabil] played on her right and she looked a lot more comfortable,” Dowiak said. “She’s come a long way in her time with us and I’m really proud of her performance today.”

With four minutes remaining on the clock, Pedolzky remained on the ground after a tough play, clutching her right leg, and was helped off the field by a trainer and Dowiak. Pedolzky could barely put any pressure on her right leg while walking off the field, and Dowiak said after the game that it appeared Pedolzky suffered an injury to one of her right toes.

Hislop stepped up and filled in for Pedolzky to finish out the game. The ball continued to go back and forth between the Minutewomen and the River Hawks with an aggressive finish until the clock ran out, but the score remained tied.

With time to practice and the ability to not travel, Dowiak and the team will focus on competitiveness and consistency, with UMass set to play Boston University on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Corinne Arel can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @CorinneArel_09.

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