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 draws against Lowell, 1-1

Minutemen tie second game in a row
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

With the Kennedy Cup at stake, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team drew UMass Lowell 1-1 after the Riverhawks scored a game-tying goal late in the second half. Tuesday marked the second tie in a row for the Minutemen (6-4-5) after they tied Fordham 1-1 on Saturday.

The Minutemen struck first in the middle of the second half when junior Andrew Ortiz scored off a Nick Zielonka assist. The goal was Ortiz’ second of the year.

In the 77th minute, the Riverhawks (2-8-3) answered back when senior back Josh Ofosu tied the game with assists from junior midfielder Shunnosuke Nakajima and sophomore midfielder Calvin Scholten. This was his first goal of the season and the first of his college career.

The Minutemen offense held their own against an extremely aggressive Riverhawk defense where UMass drew 17 fouls. This aggressiveness from Lowell slowed down a typically fast paced UMass offense.

In the first 20 minutes of the game, Alec Hughes drew three of the first four UMass Lowell fouls.  By limiting Hughes ability to find an opening down the field and create space, it prevented him from creating more shot opportunities.

“We are getting goals from other parts of the team now,” head coach Fran O’Leary said. “Nick Zielonka has come alive in the second half of the season and Andrew Ortiz with a terrific goal tonight. We’ve got other guys stepping up which is a really good sign going into a very important conference game this weekend.”

Lowell had more dangerous opportunities with more shots on goal but UMass got more shots off near the net by creating more corner kicks. The Minutemen took 11 corner kicks but failed to capitalize on set pieces to convert them into goals.

“It basically comes down to quality servers and somebody winning the race and going first in the box,” O’Leary said.

The UMass offense was able to draw more than double as many fouls as they committed as 17 fouls were called in their favor while only eight were called against. With the Riverhawks playing more physically, it slowed down the usual fast-paced tempo the Minutemen like to play. This also forced UMass to restart their offensive drive and reset their possession strategy.

“I thought we maintained our emotional control. We showed good emotional discipline and just got on with it. Every time they fouled us, it was an opportunity for us to go on the attack again,” O’Leary said.

On the other side of the field, O’Leary started the Michigan State transfer Lance McGrane in net for the first time this season. McGrane gave up one goal on six saves with 13 total shots faced. Four of his six saves on the night took place within the first 20 minutes of the game.

One of his biggest saves of the night came in the 74th minute on a shot from Nakajima who created quality looks for the Riverhawks all game.

“[McGrane] commanded his box and pulled off a couple really good saves and can be really proud of his performance,” O’Leary said.

UMass will return to home field on Saturday Oct. 21 against Davidson. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Jonathan Murgida can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jonathanmurgida.

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