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

Dayton knocks out UMass in first round of Atlantic 10 tournament

The Minutewomen go scoreless for second straight game
Sophie-Zoe Schreyer/ Daily Collegian (2022)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team could not get it done in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament in front of a big Dayton crowd on Friday night. Although the score was 2-0 in favor of the Flyers (15-3-1, 8-2 A-10), the Minutewomen (5-9-5, 4-4-2 A-10) played well.

UMass controlled possession for most of the first half and shored up its defense after the early goal. The only other real chance for the Flyers in the first half was after an injury to UMass junior midfielder Ella Curry, who seemed to be favoring her jaw.

The injury caused the Minutewomen to be down a player for a couple minutes. In the 11 on 10 advantage for the Flyers, they took a shot that went just wide of the net. Had that shot gone in, it would have been the second straight game in which UMass gave up a goal immediately after the injury. However, the one-woman advantage faded away quickly for Dayton as senior midfielder Lindsay Wolf eventually subbed in for Curry.

The first goal of the game was scored at the four minute mark after a pass was intercepted near midfield by junior midfielder Diana Benigno, who then kicked it ahead to junior forward Itala Gemelli for her team leading 12th goal of the season. Gemelli has been a star in the making for the Flyers and she showed why tonight, as Gemelli created multiple chances for herself and others in this game.

The second goal of the game came at the 58th minute mark by way of a major miscue by UMass junior goalkeeper Bella Mendoza on a Dayton corner kick. The kick came from the right corner off the foot of junior Dayton defender Natalie Hegg. Mendoza then misjudged where the ball was heading, leaving a wide-open left side of the net for senior forward Alicia Donley. Donley took full advantage of the miscue, as she headed the ball to the wide open part of the net, giving Donley her fourth goal of the season.

The star player for the Minutewomen was none other than graduate student forward Lauren Bonavita. Bonavita had a near goal early in the game on a shot off her left foot from the top of the box. That was not the only chance Bonavita had, as she recorded two shots in the game. Bonavita also had accurate and quality passes to her teammates for potential scoring chances, specifically on a nice ball in to sophomore forward Ashley Lamond which was saved by Dayton goalkeeper Batoul Reda. Bonavita entered the top ten all time scoring list for UMass this season with a career 31 goals.

“[Bonavita’s] competitive nature and resiliency over the five years that she has been here is something that her younger teammates acknowledge,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “Hopefully our returning players, especially our attacking players or forwards, can learn some things from what [Bonavita] did to be so productive.”

Sophomore defender Juliana Ryan provided a steady presence, as she has done all season, for the Minutewomen. Dowiak is looking forward to seeing Ryan continue to improve in some areas next season.

“We have talked a lot about what [Ryan] does with the ball and when we have possession,” Dowiak said. “That is a big area for her to continue to grow. She can make us better when she gets more and more composed on the ball and makes even better decisions.”

With this loss, the Minutewomen’s season comes to an end.

“It was disappointing,” Dowiak said when asked for an assessment of the season. “We left a lot on the table, we did not put games together this year with the quality that we have on our team.”

Eli Weisberger can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @EAlchek

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