UMass dominates in a 1-0 win against Duquesne

A strong first half led the Minutewomen past the physical Dukes

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Daily Collegian (2021)

By Corinne Arel, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team powered through an aggressive second half from Duquesne to a 1-0 victory on Thursday afternoon at Rudd field.

UMass (3-5-5, 2-1-2 Atlantic 10) started the game with good communication on the field and worked as a unit to keep possession of the ball. Defender Juliana Ryan, midfielder Bella Recinos and forward Nia Hislop were a dominant trio in the first period.

Determination paid off for the Minutewomen when senior midfielder Olivia Gouldsbury scored the first and only goal of the game for UMass.

Advised by assistant coach Ricky Newton to “stay in the frame of the goal,” Gouldsbury remained by the touchline of the field ready for the opportunity. Chandler Pedolzky ran the ball down the right to Grace Pinkus, who sent it across the box and Gouldsbury was able to finish the play by shooting the ball into the net.

“We came out really hungry today,” Gouldsbury said. “We were getting to the endline, getting some good crosses. It was a great effort by Chandler [Pedolzky] to get it down to Grace [Pinkus] who really fought through to get it [the ball] across so I was happy to be there to finish it.”

Directly after the Minutewomen’s goal, the Dukes (4-5-1, 2-2-1 A-10) attempted their first shot on net. Duquesne was quick to get the ball to the endline but goalkeeper Bella Mendoza dove to the left side of the net to save the shot.

UMass passed the ball around to run the clock out with a minute left in the first period. The Minutewomen’s goal gave them the confidence they needed to remain in the lead as they entered a more intense second half.

“The first half was probably the best soccer we’ve played all season,” UMass head coach Jason Dowiak said. “The players are relaxing and starting games well. Communication is a big part of it but we also rotated a pretty good number of players in the first half and [the Minutewomen] continued to keep us in control of the game.”

Duquesne came back on the field with an aggressive style but UMass didn’t back down. As Lauren Smida ran down the field with the ball, she was sandwiched between the Dukes but followed through with the play and got possession of the ball back for the Minutewomen.

Senior captain Serena Ahmed made her return after being out with a leg injury. Ahmed had not seen any playing time since UMass’ game against Boston College on Sept. 1.

However, her first game back was not an easy one. After being awkwardly rammed into from the left side by a Duquesne player, Ahmed fell to the ground in pain. When the trainer got to her, she managed to stand up and walk herself off the field.

Following the intense interaction, Ahmed returned in the second half and played for a total of 80 minutes, helping the Minutewomen keep possession of the ball.

Despite the physicality of the second period, the Minutewomen remained strong and were able to keep Duquesne from scoring. Mendoza played a big role in the match, finishing with nine saves.

UMass is set to travel to New York for a game against St. Bonaventure, and Dowiak notes that the Minutewomen have not had this long of a trip since the start of the season. He aims to have an easier practice over the weekend for UMass to fully recover and be ready to play on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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