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 men’s soccer shut out 3-0 in loss to No. 15 Vermont

Minutemen’s unbeaten streak ends at 12 games
Daily Collegian/Shilpa Sweth (2022)

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team took its first loss of the season on Tuesday, falling 3-0 to No. 15 Vermont. The Minutemen (6-1-6, 1-0-4 Atlantic 10) couldn’t get their offense going as their 12-game undefeated streak ended.

“It’s a nice record,” UMass head coach Fran O’Leary said. “We talked after the game, and I think the players will enjoy it more after the season but really nothing has changed for us. Our goals at the start were to get better, to have fun, and to make the A-10 playoffs. The record was nice, we’re very proud of it, I’m very proud of the players.”

“To go 12 games undefeated is a terrific accomplishment, but it wasn’t one of our goals.”

One of the Minutemen’s biggest struggles in the game was their inability to keep possession of the ball, particularly in the second half. The Catamounts’ (10-1-1, 3-0 America East) defense — which is widely praised this year — pressed the Minutemen often.

With the Vermont defense playing high on the pitch, UMass was forced into turning the ball over. Coming off turnovers, the Catamounts kept the pressure on and outshot the Minutemen 15-8.

“We played a very good team and to beat a very good team, we can’t make mistakes,” O’ Leary said.

UMass held possession in the opposing end for most of the first five minutes of the match. After not getting a shot off in that period, Vermont flipped the table, cruising down the pitch to the Minutemen’s end.

After a cross into the box by the Catamounts and a few missed headers, the ball landed right at the toe of Vermont’s Yaniv Bazini. With UMass keeper Matt Zambetti tangled up in his own defenders, Bazini launched the ball to the back of the net to put the hosts on the board.

Minutemen star Alec Hughes and Catamount Noah Egan later began exchanging words, including an instance that got Hughes booked with a yellow card. With tensions high, the two teams duked it out for the remainder of the half. Despite going into the break down a goal, UMass had one fewer shot than Vermont.

As the second half kicked off, Minuteman Shizu Yohena strived for an equalizer. The midfielder blasted two shots on the Catamounts goal within four minutes. One of those was a beautiful shot from deep, nearly squeaking into the top corner. Vermont goalkeeper Nate Silveira made both saves; for the latter he launched himself into the air to prevent the goal before falling back down into his post.

This kind of play is not new for Silveira. The fifth-year keeper was the recipient of numerous awards last season, including America East Goalkeeper of the year. He’s maintained that level this year by allowing a 0.48 goals against average and keeping a clean sheet in the last five games.

After Yohena’s shots, the UMass offense became stagnant. The Minutemen’s chances to get out of their own end were few and far between as the Catamounts dominated possession leading to another goal, this time at the hands of midfielder Alex Nagy.

Less than 10 minutes later, Vermont struck again. After a diving save from Zambetti, Jacob Vitale found himself with the rebound, which he tapped in for the open net goal to make it a 3-0 lead.

Despite giving up three goals, Zambetti collected four saves on the day. The Virginia Tech transfer came into Tuesday’s match ranked third in the A-10 with a save percentage of .814. While the match won’t help that percentage, two of the three goals conceded came off a block and a save leaving little for the Senior goalkeeper to do.

“I thought Matt [Zambetti] made several good saves, but I think as a collective group today, we felt that we gave them easy goals,” O’Leary said.

The Minutemen return to their home pitch on Saturday, Oct. 15 to face off against Saint Bonaventure. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.

Jordan Meneo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JordanMeneo.

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