UMass ties 1-1 with St. Bonaventure

Minutemen attempt 26 shots in the tie

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Shilpa Sweth/ Daily Collegian (2022)

By Marco Lopez, Collegian Staff

In a game that was mostly dominated by the home team, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team couldn’t come away with the victory, drawing 1-1 with St. Bonaventure on Saturday at Rudd Field.

UMass (6-1-7, 1-0-5 Atlantic 10) outplayed St. Bonaventure (3-8-3, 0-4-2 A-10) for most of the afternoon, keeping possession and attempting 26 shots against the Bonnies, by far a season high for the team.

“Today we had the hustle, we had the spirit, but we weren’t productive in the final third, where we needed to be the most productive,” Nathaniel Cardoza said. “We had over 20 shots, obviously we hit the post, we hit the crossbar, but we just needed more quality in the final third.”

The Minutemen got off to a good start, with Nick Zielonka scoring a goal in the 14th minute off an assist from Andrew Ortiz. The goal gave UMass an early 1-0 lead, but the Bonnies would score shortly after, when Umechi Akuazaoku tied the game at one apiece.

“Terrific goal [by Zielonka], he reacted, he was first to it in the box, really good finish, well done,” Minutemen head coach Fran O’Leary said.

UMass kept control of the possession for almost the entire game, with St. Bonaventure only getting off eight shots and the Minutemen attempting over three times as many. There were countless opportunities throughout for UMass to score and regain the lead but none of the attempts materialized.

In the 36th minute, Alec Hughes had a clean look but sent the shot just wide left of the goal. Hughes attempted a team-leading eight shots in the match, a season-high. Then in the 44th minute as the first half was winding down, Matt Cence had a beautiful look that hit the crossbar. Overall, it seemed like the Minutemen had everything in the game except for the finishing touch.

“High on effort, we were high on effort and commitment but we didn’t have the quality to take any of a number of chances,” O’Leary said. “A little unfortunate we hit the crossbar a couple of times, maybe hit the post. We’ve got to become a lot more composed in front of the goal.”

Despite failing to make use of the offensive scoring chances in the first half, the Minutemen did not get discouraged. They came out in the second half and put their foot on the gas pedal trying to get out of the game with a win, but they were unable to get anything into the net.

Both halves of play were dominant for the Minutemen. They controlled the ball and outnumbered St. Bonaventure in both shots and shots on goal by a wide margin in both individual halves and in the game overall.

Hughes nearly scored in the second half, with a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced directly on the goal line but it was not ruled a goal. Zielonka was on the rebound but couldn’t connect on the second chance.

The draw helped UMass earn their eighth conference point in the A-10 but it will need to take advantage of their scoring opportunities in their final two conference games of the season in order to pick up more wins and earn a spot in the conference tournament.

“I don’t think we need any critiquing, it’s just that we have to focus really hard on not making mistakes and just focus on putting the final ball in and getting more shots on target,” Cardoza said.

The Minutemen will be back in action next Saturday, Oct. 22 on the road against Davidson. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected]