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 St. Josephs 2-0 to finish regular season undefeated at home

Recinos scores her team leading sixth goal of the season
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team defeated Atlantic-10 conference opponent St. Joseph’s 2-0 in its final regular season home game of the 2023 season. The Minutewomen (8-4-4, A-10 5-2-2) finish their home slate undefeated at Rudd Field with a record of 6-0-1. This marks the first time in program history it has been done since the introduction of Rudd Field back in 2002.

Despite a slow start to the game, UMass’ two goals were scored in the second half by junior midfielder Bella Recinos and senior forward Grace Pinkus. The Minutewomen also secured another shutout (4-7-6, A-10 4-2-3), which is senior goalkeeper Bella Mendoza’s eighth of the season.

“We had a good first half, but we didn’t execute in the final moments and the second half was the best execution of a game plan we’ve had all year,” head coach Jason Dowiak said after the match. “It’s always nice to see some good soccer on both sides, we just outplayed them today and we’re really proud of our entire squad.”

In the first half, UMass had nine corner kicks and failed to score on all of them. The Minutewomen had plenty of chances but couldn’t seem to capitalize on any of them. Their five shots in the first were coming just inches off from being on net as they continued to come up just short, cementing a scoreless first half.

But, a reset at halftime got the Minutewomen settled, and they came out into the second half hungry for a goal. Only three minutes into the half, Recinos was able to put her team up 1-0, as she tapped the ball into the net in a crowded box after receiving a pass from junior midfielder Emma Pedolzky who was credited with the assist. This was Recinos’ sixth goal of the season, as she leads UMass in goals scored so far this season.

“The second half we just really like settled in and it was just fun to watch…joy has been something that we have talked about since preseason, we want to play with joy, joy to be together, joy in how it looks and it looked fun to watch today,” Dowiak explained about how the team came together in the second.

After getting a hard-fought lead, UMass started to settle into the game as the momentum swung in its favor. The Minutewomen were still able to create scoring opportunities for themselves as they finished with 13 shots in the second and six corner kicks.

In the 62nd minute, Pinkus received a pass from freshman forward Carolina Benitez far out on the right side and set herself up to send a rocket into the top left of the goal to extend UMass’ lead to 2-0.

The score stayed at 2-0 until the clock hit all zeros, which can be credited to the strong defensive stands the Minutewomen put up in their backfield. Mendoza, who had four saves total in the matchup, had a relatively quiet game but came in clutch when she needed to. With just a few minutes left in the game, the Hawks had a free kick opportunity that would have made it a one-goal game, but Mendoza was able to maneuver through the traffic in front of her and secure possession of the ball.

Mendoza’s four saves helped her move up in the record books as she took over eighth place in total number of career saves in UMass program history with 197, surpassing Lauren Luckey who played from 2006 to 2010, with 196 saves.

“It’s a testament to this group, this mature group that we have, that has been with us for a while, that knows what we want to do, and just is really putting the pieces together this year,” Dowiak said about this season and the undefeated home record.

As the season wraps up, the Minutewomen end their home slate on a high note and look ahead to their last 2023 regular season game, where they will travel to the Bronx to take on A-10 opponent Fordham University at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct 22.

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

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