UMass Athletics Teams Fare Well Against Top Competition In 2008-09
Feb. 24, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass Athletics have enjoyed tremendous success against some of the top teams in the nation during the 2008-09 season, highlighted by men's basketball, hockey, and softball defeating their defending NCAA national champions. Men's soccer also hung tough with Wake Forest in early October. UMass is also one of two schools (Georgetown) set to host the defending men's and women's lacrosse champions, Syracuse and Northwestern, respectively. In total, UMass teams have posted five wins thus far against defending national semifinalists, finalists, and champions.
The Minutemen men's basketball squad is only the second team this season (Syracuse) to face both teams that competed in last season's championship game. UMass fell to former head coach John Calipari's Memphis Tigers on Nov. 18 then edged Kansas on Dec. 13, 61-60. Both games were seen nation-wide on ESPN. Incredibly, the win over the Jayhawks was UMass' fifth in six tries against defending champions.
The Mass Attack hockey team has faced a tough schedule this season, none tougher than three games against champion Boston College and one against Frozen Four team North Dakota. The Minutemen have more than held their own, posting a 2-2 record, highlighted by a memorable 4-3 overtime win on Nov. 22 in front of a sold out Mullins Center crowd. Earlier in the season, the Minutemen defeated North Dakota, 3-2, at the prestigious Ice Breaker Tournament.
Three fall sports faced stiff competition, as football hosted and beat defending finalist Delaware, 17-7 on Oct. 4. Then two weeks later, the Minutemen dropped a 30-15 decision to semifinalist Richmond. Field hockey played neck-and-neck with national power and defending semifinalist UConn on Sept. 12, but lost by a 1-0 final. Men's soccer faced a tough test at No. 1 and defending champion Wake Forest on Oct. 7, and succumbed, 2-0.
Softball has put together an elite nonconference schedule that includes three of last season's eight College World Series teams. The team has already beaten its defending champion Arizona State, 1-0 on Feb. 22. The Minutewomen lost 4-2 to UCLA a day earlier and is still set to play Alabama in the upcoming NFCAA Leadoff Classic on Mar. 1.
McGuirk Alumni Stadium will host two lacrosse champions on Mar. 25 and Apr. 25. First, the Minutewomen welcome in four time defending champion Northwestern in a special 7 p.m. night contest. Exactly a month later, the Minutemen men's lacrosse team hosts Syracuse at 1:30 p.m. in a game to be televised on CBS College Sports.
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