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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Wiping the Slate Clean

Throughout history it’s been proven that success rarely occurs overnight. It takes time. However, exactly how much time varies. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.” After taking a step towards success last season, the UMass Boston women’s soccer team certainly picked up that pace tremendously this season.

After shaking off a 1-2 start, the Beacons rallied to win 13 of their next 16 games. A run that took them to the semi-finals of the Little East Conference tournament. Although they eventually lost, the Beacons received a bid to play as the number six seed in the ECAC New England tournament. The first postseason bid in the program’s history.

“This team battled for 90 minutes every game,” head coach Amy Zombeck said. “We didn’t always get the results we wanted, but this group has a lot to be proud of.”

That includes an offense who’s 2.95 goals per game ranked 38th in the nation. The mark is a team record; one of many offensive records the Beacons broke this season. The Beacons also set new school standards for goals (59), assists (44), points (162), and corner kicks (91), while also having six players record 10 or more points.

The Beacons’ defense was just as good. Their goals against an average of 1.13 ranked third in the conference. They also held an impressive streak of 456:18 minutes without allowing a goal from September 26th to October 17th, which included four consecutive shutouts. The Beacons finished the season with a school-record 9 shutouts.

“Considering we played a new system, I am very happy with the results,” Zombeck said. “The defense was unbelievable. Any of those players back there are all-conference caliber.”

The defense put forth two of their best performances against two critical conference games. On October 3rd, the Beacons traveled to Willimantic, CT to take on Eastern Connecticut, a team that held a 13 game winning streak against the Beacons. The defense played stoutly as they helped the Beacons preserve a 0-0 tie, snapping the losing streak.

The Beacons defense came up huge again one week later, when Western Connecticut came into town. The Beacons had lost 14 straight to the Colonials, while being outscored 84-0. History didn’t matter as the defense shutout the Colonials 1-0.

Those two results did a lot towards changing the Beacons’ mindset.

“We used to go into playing these teams thinking we were going to get killed,” said captain Kristi Morales. “Not this year.”

Sophomore midfielder Molly Kuchar saw it as payback.

“They knocked us out last year in the tournament,” she said. “So beating them this year was so exciting for all of us.”

In only her fifth year, Zombeck has taken a program that was winless in conference play and transformed it into one of the conference’s elite. Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed as she was named the Little East Conference Women’s Soccer Head Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

“It’s a great honor,” Zombeck admitted. “But I owe this to my assistant coach, Greg Visinho, and the players. They worked hard everyday and it has shown with the strides they have made.”

Morales saw it differently.

“Coach is very deserving of this award,” she said. “She is truly dedicated to making this program a success. She cares about each one of us on and off the field. She is an amazing person and I am so happy for her.”

An early ambush of injuries almost threatened the Beacons’ season. But the players found a way to regroup and grew closer as a team.

“We had a lot of injuries and illnesses this year,” Kuchar said. “But we proved anything is possible if you work hard enough for it. As a team we came together really well and were able to accomplish more than anyone expected.”

With Zombeck at the helm, and losing only two starters to graduation, good things seem to be on the horizon for this program. And if you think they’re just going to sit back and wait for them to fall into their laps, then you just don’t know these Beacons.

About the Contributor
Sebastian Lena served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2009-2010 Lena also served as business manager Fall 2011