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 improves play but loses the day 1-0 to Fordham

Minutewomen seek to improve their precision in the final third
Sophie-Zoe Schreyer/ Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team fought to the end against Fordham on senior day but came away with a 1-0 loss after conceding a late goal.

The Minutewomen (5-8-5, 4-4-2 Atlantic 10) have been on a difficult run of late, having lost three of their final four conference games heading into the A-10 playoffs. Head coach Jason Dowiak expressed a desire for a sense of urgency from his players. One point of emphasis for him was starting games fast, especially after his team was outshot 15 to four in the first half of Thursday’s game against Loyola Chicago.

“I don’t know what it is about the last couple of games and how we’re starting,” Dowiak said Thursday night following the Loyola game. “We’re going to have to look to see who’s ready to compete right out of the gates on the next game.”

UMass started the game much calmer on the ball against Fordham than it had against Loyola, controlling possession early and making more successful passes, both short and long. The early activity, especially from the wing backs using their speed to get down the flanks, led to a scoring chance for Ashley Lamond within the first two minutes of play, a shot that missed the left post by less than a yard. However, for the most part, big chances were hard to come by due to stingy defending from the Rams (5-11-1, 5-5-1 A-10), and the Minutewomen could not find a breakthrough goal off the chances they did create.

“I thought we came out really hot to start,” Dowiak said. “I wish we would have finished early on because I think that would have really changed the game.”

Despite the recent run of form, Dowiak praised his bench players for being ready to play and contributing to big moments, especially senior midfielder Lindsay Wolf, who was one of five seniors that were acknowledged in a ceremony shortly before kickoff. Sunday marked her second start of the season.

“Lindsay’s been playing really well the last few weeks, coming in off the bench to really give us some great sparks,” Dowiak said.

He also praised the play of junior forward Grace Pinkus, who also made a rare start on Sunday in place of Lauren Bonavita, graduate striker, and the team’s top scorer, who was held out of the contest.

“[Pinkus] scored a great goal on Thursday, so she got the start today,” Dowiak continued. “We’re going with players that we feel are informed [on our gameplan].”

Pinkus provided perhaps the best chance at a goal on the day, when she sent in a high cross in the 60th minute that Lamond connected with. Lamond’s header drifted just a bit too far left of the goal.

Dowiak ruled the Minutewomen’s lack of goal scoring presence against the Rams, but felt he saw enough positive play from his team to be confident going into the conference playoffs, even as an underdog.

“We’re so close in every game,” Dowiak said. “We work on a lot of goal production and final third creation, and I think we’ll continue with that idea.”

“But for us, it’s up to the players now to get their bodies ready and get their minds ready and get beyond this result so that we can go in and take that as a little bit of motivation to not let ourselves be in that situation again.”

UMass is confirmed as the seventh seed in the A-10 tournament and will begin its postseason campaign on the road against second seeded Dayton in the A-10 quarterfinals on Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m.

Jedhi Lee can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ j_lee217.

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