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 battles to draw against Saint Joseph’s, 0-0

The Minutemen earn sixth draw of the season
Shilpa Sweth/Daily Collegian (2022)

In a physical game throughout the 80 minutes, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team earned a point and stayed unbeaten on the season in a 0-0 draw at home against Saint Joseph’s on Saturday.

UMass (6-0-6, 1-0-4 Atlantic 10) had many opportunities to take the lead during the game. The Minutemen led the Hawks with a total of 14 shots and six shots on goal. Saint Joseph’s (2-4-6, 1-1-3 A-10) also had opportunities, forcing keeper Matt Zambetti to make four saves but neither team could break through.

“It was a tight game, it could’ve went either way, it was two teams competing, they had the better of the first half of the first half,” head coach Fran O’Leary said. “I thought it was back and forth, both sides had some half chances.”

The Minutemen started to get more control of the ball starting in the backend of the first half. At the end of the first half in the 41st minute, UMass had a golden opportunity to take the lead after the ball was right in front of the goal and pin balled with two shots. The first shot came from Brad Moccio and the second from Shizu Yohena but ultimately the Minutemen could not capitalize.

Nick Zielonka led UMass with five shots in the match and one shot on goal. For Zielonka, it was his most aggressive performance of the season, recording a career-high in shots. Zielonka also attempted two shots in the 89th minute of the game with one look right in front of the net being saved by Saint Joseph’s goalkeeper Luis Ludosan to preserve the tie.

“[Zielonka] has really added [offense] to his game, if it goes into him, he usually manages to get a shot off by the second touch,” O’Leary said. “It’s been a big improvement in his game, and I think it’s gonna yield him more goals as the season goes on.

The Minutemen defense held on and picked up their fifth clean sheet of the season by holding the Hawks scoreless. Zambetti and the UMass defensive backline all continued its great seasons with another solid performance against St. Joe’s. The goalkeeper made three of his four saves in the second half to help keep the game tied at zero for the Minutemen.

UMass came into the game ranked tied 47th in the country in goals-against average.

“Any time you get a clean sheet, anytime you don’t concede your back four did a good job,” O’Leary said.

The draw earned the Minutemen their seventh point of the season in the A-10. With one win and four ties so far in conference play, UMass is in a tie with Saint Louis and La Salle for third place in the conference.

“We come away a little disappointed we didn’t get the win. It’s another clean sheet, it’s another point, and points are hard to come by in this conference,” O’Leary said.

Up next, the Minutemen will face off against Vermont in an out of conference matchup on Tuesday, Oct.11 at 2 p.m. With the Catamounts ranked #16 in the country, it presents what will likely be the toughest game of the season to date.

“A game between two of the top teams in New England, we’ve just gotta get rested and get ready to play possibly the toughest opponents we’ve played so far.”

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected].

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