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 defeats VCU for fourth straight home win

Minutewomen move to 2-1 on the season

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team remained undefeated at home on Thursday afternoon, taking down a powerful VCU team by a score of 1-0.

Chandler Pedolzky’s second goal of the season in the 64th minute was the difference maker for the Minutewomen (5-3-2, 2-1 Atlantic-10).

Pedolzky was the beneficiary of a bounding ball after a free kick from near the sideline. After the ball was launched into the fray in front of the VCU net, the ball took a bounce towards the back post where Pedolzky was able to stick her leg out and tuck the ball in the top right corner of the net over the sprawling VCU goalkeeper.

Pedolzky’s goal was the culmination of a strong all-around performance from the junior forward.

“[Pedolzky] started the second half because we felt like there were some moments in the first half where she came in and put more influence and more impact into the game,” head coach Jason Dowiak said.  “That’s what a center-forward is supposed to do, ball is in the box, they’ve got to love finding those garbage goals. The ball bounces and you throw everything you can at it and just being in the right place at the right time and being ready for the moment. That’s something that we look for from [Pedolzky] and [Grace Pinkus] all the time.”

Despite coming out on top in the end, the Minutewomen were largely outplayed by the Rams (3-5-1, 2-1), especially in the first half.

UMass had a tough time sustaining offensive possession in the first half, resulting in just two attempted shots, only one of which was on net. The Rams out chanced the Minutewomen by a large margin, attempting 14 corner kicks while UMass had just one.

Although it wasn’t the Minutwomen’s best effort of the season, Dowiak credits the win to a relentless pursuit from his team, as well as their grit and depth.

“Not the way we normally play, not our most attractive soccer that we’ve played all year really, but we defended really well, we battled,” Dowiak said. “Some players came off the bench and gave some real necessary energy at times that we needed it. We were opportunistic, they had more chances, but we were proud that the group fought the way they did in the second half.”

Thursday’s victory marks the first UMass victory over VCU since 2016, when the Minutewomen won 3-0.

For UMass, this is a win that will be meaningful come time for the A-10 tournament where the Minutewomen will be a step ahead of a VCU team that is typically at the top of the standings.

“Since I got here in 2018, they’re one of only two team we haven’t beat,” Dowiak said. “It’s a fantastic program, they’ve got a lot of great players. We couldn’t be more happy with getting the win over them to help us stay in the top group in the league.”

Bella Mendoza was once again a brick wall in the net for UMass, saving all seven shots on goal she faced.

With an important conference win in the bag, the Minutewomen will travel to North Carolina to take on Davidson on Sunday, September 24 . Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.

Matt Skillings can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at matt_skillings.

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