By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
The Corsairs men’s soccer team started their season in underwhelming fashion, falling to their first two opponents at home at the beginning of the month.
After having their match-up against Fitchburg State postponed, the Corsairs visited a strong Salve Regina team on Wednesday, September 13 having gone 11 days without playing any games.
Both teams started out with a lot of energy, including a shot from the Corsairs’ Luvy Depina within the first two minutes of play.
It wasn’t until the twelfth minute that the Salve Regina Seahawks capitalized on their intensity with a successful corner kick, punctuated by a goal from Salve’s Jordan Ester.
The rest of the first half quieted down, with nobody finding the net until halftime passed.
However, once the second half did begin, the Seahawks began to overpower the Corsairs’ defense. Matthew O’Donnell scored in the 50th minute, doubling their lead.
He scored again in the 57th, on a long shot from the left side of the field. Only two minutes later, the Seahawks scored one more time to extend their lead to four.
The UMass Dartmouth offense fought hard for the rest of the game, including 3 shots from Fabio Araujo and junior Monteiro, but the game came to an end with the score remaining 4-0.
The Corsairs and the Seahawks both played well on offense, with a similar number of shots attempted, but the Corsairs had twice as many fouls called against them. The fouls along with the weak defense proved to be their downfall.
The Corsairs returned to Cressy Field on Saturday to play the Plymouth State Panthers, who had defeated them in their last three match-ups. UMass Dartmouth took the field intending to turn that trend around.
It was a slow start to the game for both sides; the only intense moment in the first half hour came from a missed header attempt from Plymouth State. In the 33rd minute, however, Cape Verdean native Fabio Araujo headed down the field on a breakaway, and struck the back of the opposing net following a display of impressive footwork.
The score was almost doubled a couple minutes later, but Plymouth’s goalie Dan Shaw stopped a strong shot from Corsair sophomore George Papoulis.
After halftime, Austin Dias scored for the Corsairs off an assist from Colombia native Tony Gonzalez.
The international students continued to be the playmakers in this match, as a pair of Australian players teamed up to score for the Panthers.
UMass Dartmouth fought back with another point on the board six minutes later, thanks to a shot from Haden Cordeiro that followed a long distance assist from Elvis Mendes.
The Corsairs defense stayed strong and prevented the opponents from seeing the net for the rest of the contest. The final score was 3-1, UMass D.
The Panthers only managed to attempt six shots total, being quieted by the defense.
One interesting statistic from the game is that the Corsairs attempted all five of their corner kicks in the second half, none of which actually resulted in a goal.
The next men’s soccer game will be back at Cressy Field on September 24, at noon sharp. Get down to the field and support the team!