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 comes up short against Dayton on the road, losing 1-0

Minutewomen offense lacks spark to put them on top
Kayla Wong

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team couldn’t find its rhythm on Sunday afternoon, falling 1-0 to the Dayton Flyers.

Playing in their second match of Atlantic-10 conference play, the Minutewomen (4-3-2, 1-1-0 A-10) gave up the deciding goal in the 32nd minute of the first half. Goalkeeper Bella Mendoza misplaced a pass that ended up in the Flyers (6-1-3, 1-0-1 A-10) possession. Senior midfielder Diana Benigno received the ball and sent a pass to Noel Blain. She sent it past Mendoza in the bottom right corner of the net for the lone goal of the match.

The Minutewomen’s offense picked up in the second half, connecting on more passes from the back line and moving closer towards the goal to put themselves in scoring position. The passes led to the outside of the field near forwards Nia Hislop, Ashley Lamond and Emily McCormack, who couldn’t find the right angle.

“I think in the second half we really elevated and put them under a lot more pressure,” head coach Jason Dowiak said. “We were able to win the ball higher up the field and our passing became a lot more threatening.”

UMass seemed comfortable in the opening minutes of the game, passing the ball with ease. Yet after the goal from Blain, the Minutewomen offense began to scramble to find an equalizer in the first half. Hislop and Lamond worked with midfielder Bella Recinos to apply pressure to the Flyers defense but couldn’t connect with 10 shots and two on goal.

“We were not our best building out of the back, but not because of anything we weren’t prepared for, just some poor decision making,” Dowiak said.

In the later minutes of the second half, Recinos took a free kick that curved right in front of Lauren Robles in the box, but Robles collided with a teammate, keeping her from making solid contact with the ball.

Dayton goalkeeper Batoul Reda was a factor in halting UMass’ offense, rushing out to the edge of the box multiple times to stop potential shots on goal. Reda finished with two saves.

“We needed to create better chances by that final pass opportunity. We played into her strengths … we just didn’t challenge her,” Dowiak said.

Mendoza saved the Minutewomen from a larger deficit, making four saves on the afternoon. She was airborne for one save after a strike from Madison Wilson, rebounding it out of dangerous territory.

“[Mendoza]’s always been a very aggressive player. Her decision making … has gotten better and better every year. She’s still refining those decision-making moments to be aggressive,” Dowiak said.

With 16 fouls against the Minutewomen, the offense struggled for the extra burst of momentum due to each call halting play. These stoppages allowed for the Flyers to adjust and move the ball up onto the other side of the field away from UMass’ hungry offense.

UMass now travels back to Rudd Field where it is 3-0 at home. The Minutewomen will look to stay undefeated at home against A-10 opponent VCU. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Rachel Toth can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RachelToth46.

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