CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Despite a goal from Oni Bernard, the Minutewomen of Massachusetts defeated the Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team, 2-1 in Atlantic 10 play Friday night. With the loss, the Niners move to 3-7-3 on the season and 0-2 in the A10, while the Minutewomen improve to 8-2-1 and 2-0 in conference play.
"It's a bit of a heartbreaker," head coach John Cullen said after the game. "The effort is there and the intensity and will to want to win is there, but we've got to get over the final line. There are games that we could win and we've been good enough to win, but we find a way to lose."
Meghan Collins of UMass scored her first goal of the season in the 78th minute to put the visitors up, 2-1. A Minutewomen free kick started the play, with Tori Sousa finding the ball in front of the net. She took a touch before passing to Collins, who put it in the top right corner for what would prove to be the game winner.
Each team was able to tally in the first half, with UMass getting on the board first and Charlotte responding with a goal of its own 17 minutes later. Deanna Colarossi scored her first of the season to put the Minutewomen up 1-0 in the 13th minute. Collins picked up the assist on the play, collecting a long pass from near midfield and sending it over to Colarossi for the goal.
Bernard evened things up in the 30th minute. After an initial shot from defender Sarah Ann Waugh was saved by the UMass keeper, Bernard found the ball in traffic in front of the net and put it past keeper Cota, who was unable to regain her composure after Waugh's attempt.
The Niners had chances to even it up in the second half, but couldn't come through. With six minutes remaining in the match, Jonna Handra took a shot from 30 yards out that was stopped by Cota. Macky Wingo challenged the keeper, who managed to hang onto the ball despite the two colliding in the box.
Handra and Waugh each had shots in the final minutes of the game that were denied by Cota, and the Minutewomen held on for the narrow victory.
Handra led the 49ers in shots with four, while Waugh had three of her own. For UMass, Moa Mattsson and Colarossi each tallied three shots.
In goal, Natalie LaVigne made four stops for Charlotte, while her counterpart Cota made eight saves. Charlotte held a 6-5 edge in corners in the game and a 14-11 shot advantage.
The Niners take on Atlantic 10 foe Rhode Island on Sunday at Transamerica Field. Game time is 1 p.m.
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