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 with Fordham, 1-1

Nick Zielonka scores tying goal for Minutemen
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

After a late tying goal in the second half, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team secured a 1-1 draw against Fordham on Saturday afternoon. The Rams (6-2-5, 3-2-1 Atlantic-10) held the advantage for most of the game before conceding the late goal to the Minutemen (6-4-4, 3-2-1 A-10).

“It was a good game, a good college game,” head coach Fran O’Leary said. “I thought we were so much better in the second half than we were in the first half. In the second half, the majority of the second half was played in their half … we started beating them to the ball in the second half.”

With Fordham controlling the majority of the game and holding a 1-0 advantage, UMass struck late in the game. In the 74th minute, Nick Zielonka connected on a goal off a corner kick that went past Fordham goalkeeper Carter Abbott and into the net, recording his fourth goal of the season thus far. UMass was dangerous off set pieces throughout the game, including a corner from Zielonka in the 45th minute that bounced off the top woodwork.

“It was terrific, his set pieces were dangerous all day. He was real quality and it poses a threat so really, really good [Saturday],” O’Leary said.
The second half was when the Minutemen regained control and take the momentum away from the Rams. After a first half that was mostly back and forth besides a lone goal from Fordham, UMass seized control from the get-go in the second, controlling possession and generating several chances that were inches from going into the net.

“I thought it was night and day,” O’Leary said. “I thought we were pushing, in the first half we weren’t dictating the tempo of the game, part of our strength is we’ll dictate the tempo of the game. And in the second half we did. So I thought it was night and day, our commitment, our energy, and our effort was far superior.”

UMass fell behind early on Saturday, conceding a 6th minute goal to Fordham’s Florian Deletioglu off a corner kick. With the goal, the Minutemen have conceded early goals and given themselves early deficits now in three consecutive games. Overall, the defense held up against one of the top teams in the conference, allowing one goal and maintaining the draw. Late in the game, the Minutemen defense cleared several Ram shot attempts and set pieces, including an 85th minute shot from Liam Salmon that looked like it might arc into the net but went out over the top.

“Fordham is a good team; I think they’re a nationally ranked team and our back four has been good all season. Disappointed to give up a goal on a set piece but I thought the back four did a really good job today,” O’Leary said.

The point gained in the A-10 standings on Saturday gave the Minutemen 10 conference points, putting UMass in a tie with Fordham and trailing only Davidson and Saint Louis. The draw puts the Minutemen in good position to secure a playoff spot and compete for home field advantage with two games left in conference play.

“It could be a very valuable point, we would’ve liked three,” O’Leary said. “We’ve had three games where in conference play, we’ve been a goal down and we’ve managed to get seven out of nine points so it could be a very important point when the final league table comes out.”

UMass returns to the field on Tuesday Oct. 17 to face UMass Lowell. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *