First-Half Flurry Lifts Minutemen
Nov. 2, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - Five different players tallied first-half goals helping the UMass men's soccer team cruise to a 5-0 victory over Saint Joseph's on Sunday afternoon at Rudd Field. The win improves UMass' record to 11-6-1 overall and 5-4-1 in the Atlantic 10. The victory keeps UMass in the driver's seat for the fifth playoff spot for the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on Nov. 13-16.
The Minutemen wasted little time putting the pressure on the SJU defense, and pushed a goal across at the 10:42 mark. Freshman Ralph Pace (Richmond, Va.) blasted a shot to the top right corner from the right side with assists to Oral Bullen (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Rob Charest (Monson, Mass.). UMass added to the lead just 4:30 later, when at the 15:12 mark, a pair of seniors teamed up for its second goal. Smith Utubor (Framingham, Mass.) played a ball back to Andrew Eicher (Billerica, Mass.), in which Eicher rocketed into the top right corner for a 2-0 lead at the 15:12 mark. Senior Dan Colwell (Spencer, Mass.) pushed the lead to 3-0, 10 minutes later, as he rolled a low shot through traffic that found the back of the net. Pace and senior Ptah Myers (Columbus, Ohio) tallied assists on the play. Ernie Billittier (Mundelein, Ill.) and Michael Donnelly (Warminster, Pa.) then netted goals just 2:05 apart late in the first half for a 5-0 lead. Meanwhile, the UMass defense dominated the Hawks, holding them to three attempted shots, while the UMass offense had 22 in the first 45 minutes.
The Minutemen had several strong chances in the second half, but the SJU keepers combined to make six saves, despite UMass outshooting the Hawks, 15-5, in the second half. Freshman Nick Billman (St. Louis, Mo.) made three saves in earning his third shutout of the season. The Minutemen outshot the Hawks, 37-8, for the contest.
The Minutemen will make the Atlantic 10 playoffs with a win against Rhode Island next Saturday or a George Washington loss against Richmond. In the event of UMass and George Washington both losing, UMass will get the sixth seed by virtue of a 3-0 win over George Washington. The Minutemen and Rams will square off next Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in Kingston, R.I.
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