ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure men's soccer team fell today to the UMass Minutemen by the score of 2-1. The loss sets the Bonnies back to 2-3-1 in the conference (8-7-2 overall), while the Minutemen move to 3-3-0 in conference play (4-11-1 overall).
Every point is critical as the final weekend of conference play looms next weekend, and the hunt for postseason play thickens. The top 8 teams in the conference will advance to Dayton in two weeks for the 2013 A-10 Championship, and the Bonnies will look to rally back next weekend to keep its hopes alive.
UMass jumped out to the lead early in the first half when Josh Schwartz received a feed from Peter Alvarenga in the 18th minute and Schwartz placed the ball past a sliding Jeremy Figler and into the back of the Bonnies net. It was his team-leading 5th goal of the season. UMass would double its lead in the 31st minute from a play that originated off of a corner kick, resulting in a deflected ball off of Connor Devivo to teammate Mark Morris, who put home the bid from point blank range.
The second half would see a good deal of action, but unfortunately for the Brown and White, the score remained 2-1 in favor of UMass and would stay that way until the final horn would sound. SBU had a number of great chances in the second half- the golden opportunity coming off the foot of Brad Vanino in the 80th minute from a strike just outside the box, only to find the crossbar. The two teams combined for 12 shots in the second half, and Bonnies goalkeeper Jeremy Figler came up big with 5 saves, bringing his total to 6 on day. Brad Vanino and Emmett O'Connor combined for 9 of the teams 12 shots.
Despite this loss being a disappointment to the Bonnies, head coach Mel Mahler knows the team must turn the page quickly and prepare for next weekend. "Today's defeat puts us in a situation where we no longer control our own destiny in regards to making the A10 Tournament. It's a tough loss but we have two conference matches remaining to secure one of the eight post season spots", Mahler explained. "Congratulations to UMass for playing a smart and effective match. I have great respect for Head Coach Sam Koch, his staff and the UMass players for finding a way to get three points today. With their backs against the wall they made the trip under difficult circumstances, and every player that wore the UMass jersey today demonstrated wonderful character and determination". Mahler added: "sometimes we learn more from a loss than a victory, as was the case today. I believe we possess the same character traits, the same determination when facing difficult challenges. I feel I can speak for Coach Hesch, and every player on the roster when saying we are anxious to get back on the training field with a determined diligence to be the best team we can this coming weekend. I'm confident we will have a great week of training and will be prepared for our remaining two regular season conference matches."
The Bonnies wrap up the season next weekend at home, beginning on Friday (Nov. 8) vs. VCU and Sunday afternoon (Nov. 10) vs. George Mason in the regular season finale.