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 falls 2-1 to Duquesne in A-10 quarterfinals at home

Dukes snap Minutewomen’s undefeated streak at home
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2023)

After maintaining an undefeated record at home for the entire regular season, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team fell to Duquesne, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 playoffs.

UMass (9-5-4, 6-2-2 A-10) found themselves trailing early as Dukes’ (8-7-4, 4-2-4 A-10) forward Maya Matesa scored an unassisted goal at the 12 minute mark, setting them up 1-0 over the Minutewomen. Matesa’s goal was launched from way back and UMass goalkeeper Bella Mendoza’s attempt to save was inches off, as the ball hit the net just over her hands. Being down early in a playoff game, all eyes were on UMass.

“We had a good game plan today we just didn’t execute as well as we should have, both defensively and offensively,” head coach Jason Dowiak said.

The Minutewomen scored in the first half in the 29th minute, evening the score at 1-1. The goal began with a ball passed from Emma Podolzky up to Nia Hislop who was outrunning her defender, but stopped to control the ball and found a running Lauren Robles who perfectly tapped the ball into the net.

What could have been a spark of momentum for UMass was quickly halted by the Dukes, who responded with a goal not even a full minute after Robles’ score. Matesa secured her second goal in a similar fashion to her first, getting the ball in the top corner of the net and right over the hands of Mendoza’s saving attempt.

Even though the Minutewomen maintained possession for 66 percent of the match and finished with 18 shots, the Dukes capitalized on their possessions. Creating dangerous opportunities in the lesser time it had with the ball, Duquesne found holes in a strong UMass back line without stepping into the box for both goals.

“Sometimes it’s tough, especially at home and you’re the higher seed and there’s expectations behind, also win and go home situation, and I think that expectation just carried a little more weight than we had anticipated,” Dowiak explained on nerves impacting the team’s performance.

Coming out of halftime hungry for a goal to tie the game, Ashley Lamond dribbled her way down the field, passing the ball to the outside to get a pass back inside the box. Lamond found herself in the perfect position for a goal and hit the back of the net. The crowd cheered, thinking that UMass’ hopes to win weren’t over, but the official had called offsides and the goal did not count.

As both teams struggled to score in the second half, the intensity rose on both sides of the field. The game got physical very quickly as frustrations continued, with there being a total of 28 fouls called throughout the game.

“They were a tough opponent the first time we played them, and they were even tougher today,” Dowiak said.

UMass got some scoring opportunities off these fouls. Multiple free kicks were taken from just outside the box in the second half, creating the perfect chance for the Minutewomen to score, but they could not convert.

Mendoza shook off the two goals scored in the first half and came up with two crucial saves in the second, giving the Minutewomen more opportunities to try and tie the game. But ultimately, the 10 shots UMass had during the final half were not enough to get the ball into Duquesne’s net, as the second half ended scoreless.

With UMass graduating 13 players, 11 seniors and two graduate students, the team will lose the maturity on the field that it showed the entire season.

“My most important thought is how proud I am of our group, we played some really unbelievable soccer throughout the season and really grew as a program on and off the field,” Dowiak said.

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

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