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Collegian: @UMassMensSoccer deploys new formation with Keys, Jess

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Flickr)

Nicholas Casale of the Daily Collegian has a story on men's soccer head coach Devin O'Neill moving senior Matt Keys to forward from his normal defensive role and sophomore Josh Jess to the back row after primarily playing in the midfield. The move is intended to help jumpstart the Minutemen's offensive attack down the home stretch of the season.

Nicholas Casale of the Daily Collegian has a feature story on UMass men's soccer midfielder Luke Pavone who is finding success on the pitch despite facing several adverse moments over the past year.

Collegian: @UMassMensSoccer opens conference play against St. Joe's

Ross Gienieczko of the Daily Collegian has a preview of this Saturday's Atlantic 10 opener for the men's soccer team as the Minutemen host Saint Joseph's at Rudd Field. Head coach Devin O'Neill says the team has had opportunities to score, but needs to finish those chances to be successful in league play.
Jason Kates of the Daily Collegian has a feature story on Matthew Mooney of the men's soccer team. The freshman midfielder has started seven of eight games so far this season and has played the fifth-most minutes of any player.

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

Ross Gienieczko of the Daily Collegian has a sidebar from Friday's win over Fairfield about the unsung hero of the game... sophomore midfielder Luke Pavone. Pavone assisted on both goals in the Minutemen's improbably, 2-1 overtime victory over a team that ranked fifth nationally in goals-against average.

   Several players stood out in the Massachusetts men's soccer team's dramatic 2-1 overtime win against Fairfield on Friday.
   Senior captain Matt Keys was a monster on defense and scored the game tying goal on a header in the 87th minute. Fellow senior Josh Schwartz scored the game winner in the fifth minute of overtime.
   But the real x-factor for the Minutemen was sophomore midfielder Luke Pavone. In addition to making several defensive stops on each wing, Pavone assisted on both goals and injected the team with energy throughout the game. He played with emotion, and even mixed it up after the whistle with several Fairfield players early in the game.
   "I'm not surprised that he was the spark plug today," interim coach Devin O'Neill said. "He's just that type of player. He loves to play the game and he just gets after it."
   Pavone, to his credit, was quick to deflect praise.
   "It was a hard fought game, the whole team fought real hard," he said. "Once we went down one, we kept our heads up and kept fighting. It was a group effort."
   A group effort it was, but anyone could see that Pavone played a big role in the UMass win. He played well throughout the game, but in the 87th minute, with the Minutemen down 1-0, he still had nothing to show for it.

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Jason Kates of the Daily Collegian has a recap of Friday's thrilling and emotional 2-1 overtime victory over Fairfield in the home opener at Rudd Field.

   That was the word interim Massachusetts men's soccer coach Devin O'Neill used to describe his team's first win of the season, a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Fairfield Friday afternoon in the Minutemen's home opener at Rudd Field.
   UMass played with heavy hearts Friday. It was the Minutemen's first home game without longtime coach Sam Koch, who died in July after a two-year battle with cancer, in 23 years. And senior Josh Schwartz delivered the knockout blow for the Minutemen, finding the back of the net after being flicked on by junior Luke Pavone. Pavone assisted on both of the Minutemen's goals.
   "It could've been anybody and I would've been happy," Schwartz said said after scoring his second goal of the year. "We've been working really hard for a couple of weeks now and it's good to finally get a win." O'Neill said his team played well despite a slow start.
   "I thought it was a really good performance for most of the game," he said. "I thought we were a little bit tentative at the beginning, but we kind of grew into it after the first 15-20 minutes. "I'm really happy for the guys. It's been five games without a win and they've worked really hard. You want them to get rewarded so they get reinforced for the positive things, but they've been wonderful in terms of their day-to-day approach and how they've practiced."
   It seemed like UMass (1-5) would remain winless after falling behind 1-0 in the 78th minute courtesy of a beautiful free kick by Stags (2-2-1) senior Jake Zuniga. But the Minutemen battled back and were rewarded when senior Matt Keys was moved up top and headed in the tying goal at the 86:38 mark.

Anthony Chiusano of the Daily Collegian recently spoke with interim head men's soccer coach Devin O'Neill regarding the challenge in front of him as he leads the UMass soccer program following the death of longtime head man Sam Koch.

Men's soccer heads north for exhibition in Montreal

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With a sizable break in the schedule before Atlantic 10 play begins next weekend at Rhode Island, the UMass men's soccer team will head to the Great White North to take on the University of Montreal in an exhibition game Sunday afternoon.

Daily Collegian writer Patrick Strohecker spoke with first-year assistant coach Devin O'Neill about the trip, including playing time during the game and evaluating the season to this point.

The men's soccer team will open a four-game road trip on Saturday when it travels to New York to face Adelphi at 1:00 p.m. Daily Collegian writer Nick Canelas has a preview of the contest, while also writing on what has worked and what is a work-in-progress for the Minutemen during their 2-0-1 start.

It appears as if the Massachusetts men's soccer team has enjoyed the friendly confines of Rudd Field so far this season.
Through three games, the Minutemen (2-0-1) have not only gone undefeated, but they've already matched last year's win total at home and are halfway to last season's overall mark.
Much of UMass' early success can also be credited to senior goalkeeper Brian Frame, who came into the season with two games of collegiate experience under his belt after spending his first three years backing up Chris Piekos and most recently Shane Curran-Hays.

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