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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s soccer is scaring opponents away with ghastly, gratifying gameplay

Olivia Reid
Men’s soccer player Marron Achaempong fights a UMass Dartmouth player for the ball. Photo by Olivia Reid / Photography Editor.

Spooky season is upon us, and it’s only fitting that the opponents of UMass Boston Men’s Soccer are seeing ghosts when they’re getting lit up by the Beacons. The team has been carving up defenses since the beginning of last month and hope to capture their second straight Little East Conference championship, and so far, it’s been smooth sailing—for the most part. 

According to Beacons Athletics, the team went into their Sept. 30 matchup against Rhode Island College with a strikingly exceptional 8–2 record, coming out triumphant in six of their last seven prior to their weekend meeting with the Anchormen. (1) During that period, a 3–2 loss to Bridgewater State University was the only defeat they endured, but by no means was it a mauling by the Bears. On offense, the Beacons have gone overboard, pouring in goal after goal, as their seven-game stretch of superlative skill beared witness to them outscoring their opponents 25–9. (1)

Those games included a two-game stretch against Eastern Nazarene College and UMass Dartmouth, to which the team bounced back from their setback against the Bears and opened fire with back-to-back wins. Their match against Eastern Nazarene Thursday, Sept. 21 showed just how hard the Beacons fight back when faced with defeat. 

As pointed out by Beacons Athletics, it impressively took all of 30 seconds for the Beacons to get on the board and move on from their troubles. Freshman prodigy Gabriel Meireles netted his ninth goal of the season to put them ahead 1–0. The Lions eventually sprawled back and got out to a 2–1 lead, but some late first-half heroics from Ryan Lima tied the game up at two. Both teams stood their ground defensively in the second half, but a goal by Logan Potter broke tie with a little over 11 minutes to play, allowing the group to run away with the win late. (2)

Potter and J.J. Devine had some things to say regarding stupendous output the team had over the past month.

“The season’s been good. We’ve all been coming together and you know, playing soccer, doing what we love. We all have good connections off the field, we’re friends and get along very well together,” Potter said. 

Devine added to Potter’s input, saying, “I think all the games in the beginning of the season were good because it helped us click quicker. Especially now, going into the second half of the season where it’s mostly conference games, as long as we keep the ball rolling, we should come out on top.” 

What Devine was referring to was the Beacons’ jam-packed schedule to open the season. Potter followed up on Devine’s perspective and said, “It’s weird because it feels like since school started, we’ve been doing nothing but play soccer all the time […] we’ve played 10 games in 27 days so far.” 

Potter potted two goals in the Beacons’ 4–1 pummeling of the Corsairs Wednesday, Sept. 27. His first score came off a corner kick from Diego Gisholt—with the Corsairs arguing for a foul to no avail—to help the Beacons jump out to a 1–0 lead. The rest of the game seemed to go the Beacons’ way, and though the score stayed put going into the half, the ball was rolling the Beacons’ way, as their lead quickly turned into a 3–0 lead with time winding down. Lima netted his eighth goal, while Josh DeAlmeida got back to his scoring ways with his second of the year. However, a Corsairs’ response to make it 3–1 made Potter’s second of the day, as pointed out by him, much more important than what’s taken at face value as a fan. 

“We kept them in. Luckily, we had a goal at the end for goal differential, but that should be a team we beat 8–0, 9–0 because that helps us in the conference. If we do end up losing a game or tying a game and we’re tied for first or second [in the conference], it goes down to goal differential, so it’s a big deal. We just gotta stay locked in and put teams away; no chance of them coming back and just killing them.”

Both players believe their lack of execution in the later stages are correlated with mistakes by players.

“We just gotta stay locked in and stop conceding goals late […] we think the game is over and we just aren’t focused,” said Devine. Potter added, “We get a little complacent; we need to start burying teams […] like, imagine if UMass Dartmouth got another one and it was 3–2 with five minutes to play. They have the momentum, and that could’ve turned into a scrappy game where we end up with a tie in conference play because we couldn’t put them away […] momentum is everything.” Momentum is everything. Both players talked about its grave importance and how it helps shape the teams’ scheme in gameplay.

“We always come out strong, we try to score in the first ten or the last ten minutes of the half, because it’s really a momentum shifter,” Devine said. Potter emphasized, “We play really well when we have momentum. If we score one goal, I would bet on us to go score two or three more goals because once we get the momentum, and things click for a short period of time, we just go off. So if we can sustain that throughout an entire game, we’re gonna be very good and feel confident in conference play and everything.” 

It’s abundantly clear that men’s soccer still has some minor issues to fix, but with the cramming of games now on the back burner, the Beacons are now able to rest up and rejuvenate for the most important portion of the season in conference games. As both Devine and Potter pointed out, practice makes perfect; Devine believes, “Having less games per week and more chances to practice, people will get healthier and be more fit.”

Now is the time to capitalize with the second half of the season looming and Potter, as he illustrates that he “feels it more every game,” says it best: “when we click and we do everything right, it’s gonna be crazy. Everything’s gonna work out, and we’re gonna be banging goals in and winning games.” 

Catch men’s soccer in their next home game against Western Connecticut State University Saturday, Oct. 14. By then, they’ll be in the midst of closing in on what will be another successful season in the books, looking scary and still spooking every team that comes their way during what may be their second consecutive road to glory. 

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-soccer/schedule
  2. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/9/21/mens-soccer-weathers-scary-scene-earns-victory-over-eastern-nazarene.aspx
About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor