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

Home field advantage proves to be real for UMass women’s soccer

Minutewomen dominate in their two home game wins
Kayla Wong
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team has won its last two home games vs. Syracuse and Bryant University. This two-game win streak has also been paired with two straight shutouts for the Minutewomen (3-1-2) and senior goalkeeper Bella Mendoza.

After one and a half weeks on the road, UMass played four away games, where it battled against Stony Brook, Vanderbilt, UMass Lowell and Yale, finishing with a 1-1-2 record. During that period, it displayed some offensive struggles where it could not capitalize on some crucial scoring opportunities. Of the four away goals, three of them concluded with shot counts in the single digits.

By the time its road game journey was over following the loss to Yale, head coach Jason Dowiak expressed after the game that he was more than ready to return to Amherst.

Despite it being a move-in week for many students, the Minutewomen were greeted by a large crowd for their first home game of the season on Thursday vs. Syracuse. Fans pulled up to Rudd Field decorated in maroon, black and white colors, waving around flags and noise-making machines to get the Minutewomen hyped up. Some were even shirtless with players’’ numbers written on them in paint.

And  the Minutewomen didn’t disappoint, putting on an exciting and entertaining game against Syracuse (2-4). UMass had two goals scored by the 15-minute mark of the match and maintained that lead for the remainder of the game by capitalizing on its opponent’s mistakes and keeping the pressure on. Towards the end of the game, it got chippy between the Minutewomen and Orange, producing numerous fouls which engaged fans even more, who continued cheering until time ran out.

UMass recorded 13 shots against Syracuse, with two goals scored by Sarah DeFreitas and Ashley Lamond. Mendoza and the defense pulled off their second shutout of the season, a 2-0 win.

Just a few days later on Sunday, the Minutewomen were back on their home turf where they had another dominant game against the Bryant Bulldogs (2-2-1). Fans were back in large numbers and despite the intense heat, showcased their support.

UMass’s junior defender Juliana Ryan started things off for the Minutewomen, scoring at the 18-minute mark of the game. The offense continued to stay hot for UMass as it produced several scoring opportunities. The Minutewomen ended with a season-high 23 shots along with 11 corner kicks. It wasn’t until the 83-minute mark that they scored once more when midfielder Bella Recinos knocked one into the net, giving UMass another 2-0 win on the week.

“We had a lot of different people come on and make an impact and that’s the biggest thing for us,” Dowiak said following the win against Bryant.

Mendoza had a quiet day in the box, only having one save that came in the second half. But with strong defensive plays from numerous defenders and midfielders, UMass recorded yet another shutout, its second straight shutout win and third one this the season. Of the six games the Minutewomen have played, four of them have resulted in them scoring two goals.

“We love that we are getting two goals pretty consistently most games now,” Dowiak said.

Entering a new week, UMass sits at a 3-1-2 record and hopes to carry this momentum from its two-game win streak with it as it embarks on its two away games at UAlbany and Rutgers.

“We love being home, we were on the road long enough, and now we go back on the road but hopefully we can keep that momentum going and feel at home even in Albany and down in New Jersey,” Dowiak said.

Samantha Sands can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @samantha_sands_

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