The Massachusetts women's soccer team will look to strengthen its Atlantic 10 record this weekend in Ohio as it prepares to face off against Xavier and Dayton.
The Minutewomen (4-7-0) will first square off against Xavier (5-6-0) on Friday evening for their third game in conference play this season. UMass looks to continue its success after a strong 1-0 win against Saint Louis this past weekend.
The Musketeers, who are also 1-0 in conference play this season, are trying to start up a roll of their own after losing three of their last four matches in the shootout. They have, however, proven that they are not a team to be taken lightly, as their 4-1 win over La Salle indicates.
The team also has an ace in the hole with goalkeeper Jennifer Perri, who is just in her sophomore season, has played in all 11 games on the season and holds a 1.19 goals-against average along with an .800 save percentage, making her one of the best goalkeepers in the A-10.
She will have to face tough competition in the Minutewomen, whose revamped offense is led by Deanna Colarossi's five goals and Therese Smith's 38 shots.
Unfortunately for the Maroon and White, the weekend road trip does not get easier once it enters Flyer territory.
Dayton (10-2-0) is sporting the best record in the A-10, outscoring its opponents, 23-6, and outshooting them, 208-116. Its biggest offensive threat lies in Colleen Williams, who has 27 points off of 11 goals and five assists.
The Flyers also have five other shooters with at least five points or more to their names, making them the most offensively potent team the Minutewomen will yet face.
The only two losses they have suffered this year have come at the hands of non-conference opponents, Colorado College and Ohio State, and both were closely-played 1-0 losses.
"We have a tough weekend ahead of us," UMass coach Ed Matz said. "We just have to go out and keep ourselves composed and confident. We ended last weekend well with the shutout win, and we are going to try to carry it over into next weekend. Our goal is to get at least three points out of the weekend, but we will play to win both games."
One of the big question marks for this weekend is whether or not freshman goalkeeper Emersyn Pullan will again be called upon to play for injured starter Emily Cota. The sophomore has not played since suffering a collision with an opposing player in the team's loss to Harvard three games ago.
Pullan has picked up nicely in Cota's absence, allowing only two goals in just over 220 minutes. She has a 1-1 record thus far with nine saves, a .818 save percentage, and one shutout.
By: Michael Counos | October 07, 2010 |
The defense for the Massachusetts women's soccer team that has been struggling to finish games throughout the fall picked up its first Atlantic 10 conference victory on Sunday in a 1-0 shutout over Saint Louis.
The Minutewomen defense was sharp on a sun-drenched Rudd Field against the Billikens. Sunday marked the first-ever victory for the Maroon and White over SLU in their all-time series, as well as it being the first time all season that the Minutewomen blanked their opponents for three consecutive halves.
The Minutewomen held A-10 opponent Charlotte scoreless in the second half on Friday. Three of the four UMass wins this season have come via the shutout.
A trend of UMass seemed to be playing a tight back-and-forth game, but coming up short in the end. The Maroon and White fell to Brown on Sept. 23 with a Marybeth Lesbirel game-winner in the 87th minute. It was the same story against Oakland on Sept. 19 with the contest tied at two apiece, but a Nicole DeLuca goal in the 82nd minute sent the Minutewomen home disappointed.
The second half defense of late has been key for the Minutewomen as they have shut-out their last three opponents in the later half. UMass has allowed 16 total shots in the second half of the last three games combined.
UMass has fared better on its home turf with nine goals allowed in six contests compared to 12 allowed on the road in five games played. Two of their three shutouts were at Rudd Field against Vermont and most recently, the Billikens.
"It was good for Emersyn [Pullan] to get a shutout and I thought we played a really good second half," UMass coach Ed Matz said.
The freshman has been factor for the Minutewomen in replacement of sophomore goaltender Emily Cota. Pullan saw her first collegiate action against Harvard and responded with a three-save shutout against the Crimson in the second half.
That success has continued as she has recorded nine saves and a shutout in two and a half games played. Pullan boasts a .818 save percentage and has blanked her opponents four out of the five halves that she has been in net.
Road trip worries
UMass has proven that it is comfortable in front of its home crowd with a 3-3 record at Rudd Field. The road however has not been as forgiving as UMass is 1-4 at opposing fields.
The last road trip for the Minutewomen started out with a 4-0 rout over Fairfield, but ventured downhill from there. UMass lost consecutively to Michigan, Oakland and Brown.
UMass has scored eight goals on the road compared to 10 at home. Matz will be looking for a better outcome in the upcoming three-game trip.