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 cruises past George Washington, 3-0

Minutemen pick up first win in five games

A dominant second half effort carried the Massachusetts men’s soccer team to its first conference win of the season, dispatching George Washington 3-0 on Saturday afternoon.

UMass (4-4-3, 1-2-0 Atlantic 10) scored three goals in the second half after a scoreless first and locked down George Washington all game, (2-6-3, 0-3-0 A-10) keeping it off the scoresheet entirely.

“Really pleased, it’s hard to win an A-10 game,” head coach Fran O’Leary said. “Just really happy particularly with our second half performance, I thought we were a little anxious, a little nervous in the first half. I thought we came out in the second half, beat them to the ball, and brought the ball forward quickly.”

“What relaxed us was the first goal, a quality goal by [Michael Rojas]. It was a terrific goal, a little bit of quality, and then everything calmed down and the goals came.”

The Minutemen took complete control of the game a little over 10 minutes into the second half. Rojas opened the scoring with a curling shot into the top left corner of the net in the 56th minute after some beautiful footwork to get past the defender.

For Rojas, a graduate transfer from the University of Washington, this goal marked the first tally of his UMass tenure. It was a career game for Rojas, scoring just the second goal of his five-year collegiate soccer career.

“It felt amazing,” Rojas said. “You know to transfer in here, and then getting the first goal and after that just scoring afterwards was a great feeling for sure.”

“I feel like we definitely could’ve played better in the first half, when we got in the half, coach told us we got to pick it up a little bit. We came for the second balls and everything and we were able to score early.”

Shortly after the Rojas goal, Bryant Keeney stole the ball in the 58th minute from a George Washington defender and dished a perfectly weighed pass to Alec Hughes making a run on the far post for the second goal of the game.

An Andrew Ortiz goal in the 79th minute put the game out of reach for the Revolutionaries.

UMass was also dominant on the defensive end, holding George Washington to four shots in the game and zero shots on goal. For the Minutemen, it was a much-needed bounceback performance, keeping a clean sheet for the third time all season while also scoring three goals for the third time. The three goals scored come after a four-game stretch in which UMass scored one goal in total.

“I thought we just started winning,” O’Leary said. “We talked about going back to basics, win your headers, win your tackles, win races, get to areas quicker than your opponent.”

“In the first half we didn’t do that all the time, in the second half we did it really, really well. I think we just went back to basics, started hitting our forwards, and started getting balls into our forwards. I thought they did a great job for us.”

The win was critical for UMass, in terms of both confidence and in the standings. Putting three points on the board in the conference standings and avoiding falling into a deep hole early in the schedule. Now, the Minutemen have five conference games remaining to build on this performance and solidify their spot in the A-10 playoffs.

UMass will be back in action against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected].

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