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 concedes late equalizer in tie against Dartmouth

Alec Hughes scores again for the Minutemen in draw at home
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2023)

Despite holding the lead and a man up for most of the contest, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team conceded a late equalizer and tied Dartmouth 1-1 on Tuesday at Rudd Field.

UMass (3-1-2) star striker Alec Hughes scored from the penalty spot in the 18th minute after Big Green (1-2-1) midfielder Orrett Maine fouled him in the box with a clear path to goal. Maine was sent off and Dartmouth had to play the rest of the game with 10 men, but it responded to the adversity much better than the Minutemen handled their advantage.

“In the beginning, and all of the first half, I thought we were all over them, winning a lot of our second opportunities, and the first ball as well, I think that’s kind of what was helping us dominate the game,” Jack Englebert said.

“And then in the second half, I think we just stopped winning our battles in general, and kind of let them dominate the game through that. So yeah, I think the big difference between the first half and second half is just winning our battles, and that was what caused the result in the end,” Englebert added.

The Big Green came out of the break firing, turning the momentum around despite having one less player. Dartmouth played harder, won more duels and controlled more of the ball. The Big Green’s efforts were largely futile for most of the period –– until the 86th minute when Andrew Ellis sent a cross deep into the UMass box which Douglas Arveskär headed into the top left corner, erupting Dartmouth celebrations.

The Minutemen outshot the Big Green 6-1 and held them without a shot on target in the first half but got outshot 6-4 in the second.

“Obviously disappointed to give up a goal late on when you’re up a man,” head coach Fran O’Leary said. “I thought we had our chances to put the game away, we had a goal called back, we hit the post. But credit Dartmouth, they hung in there. We lost too many individual bottles in the second half… When you’re playing a game and you come second too often. It’s going to eventually bite you, and it bit us late in the game.”

One of the bright spots for the Minutemen was Hughes’ score in the bottom left corner, his seventh goal of the season, which ties for most in the nation. It was the 27th goal of his career, placing him at ninth in the UMass all-time goalscoring ranking. In 2020, Hughes’ seven goals led the Atlantic 10. Now he’s scored seven goals before conference play has started.

Another positive was the performance of the defense throughout the entire 90 minutes. Center back Aidan Kelly put up a dominant display, winning aerial duels everywhere, and fill-in right back Pierre de la Croix-Vaubois showed skill and poise on the ball.

However, with both teams going long with the ball, Dartmouth began to win the second balls left over from an aerial duel more often than the Minutemen.

“It’s uncharacteristic for us to come second [on a challenge], but we came second too many times today,” O’Leary said. “We call it the battle for controlled possession, and before you can play and take advantage of being a man up, you’ve got to get the ball, you’ve got to win the battle for the ball. Credit Dartmouth, they won several of these battles and it’s something that we’ll fix come the start of the conference this weekend.”

It was a physical contest from start to finish with controversial refereeing decisions, seven yellow cards, one red card and numerous rough challenges. Kelly got stepped on in his own box, but it went unpunished, while he also escaped a second yellow card after shouting at the referee. Both teams’ head coaches went back and forth all game from the sideline, and the referees looked exhausted after the game.

“College soccer is physical,” O’Leary said. “And you’ve got to be able to physically; fairly, physically compete with your opponent. That’s just the nature college soccer.”

UMass will travel to Pittsburgh to open conference play against Duquesne on Saturday, Sep. 16. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Pedro Gray Soares can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @P_GraySoares.

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