UMass is riding a three-game win streak into the weekend with matches against Fordham (10/22) and LaSalle (10/24) this weekend ... wins this weekend would not only keep the win streak alive, but would also keep UMass climbing in the A-10 rankings after jumping from a sixth-place tie to a third-place tie following two wins last weekend.
Overtime has been the rule rather than the exception over the last eight games. Seven of those games went into the bonus period, including four double overtime matches. On the season, UMass has played in eight overtime games (four 2OT) posting a 5-1-2 record.
Inside The Series
Last season, UMass posted wins over both Fordham (4-1) and LaSalle (1-0) in Amherst.
Myers scored twice against Fordham with Oral Bullen and Ian O'Donnell also scoring. Ernie Billitier assisted both Bullen and O'Donnell.
Recent history has served the Minutemen well with UMass holding a combined 10-0 record over both teams for the last five contests (5-0 each).
UMass looks to improve a 1-1-2 Atlantic 10 road record with wins this weekend.
Koch Captures No. 150 at UMass
Head coach Sam Koch recorded his 150th UMass victory on Sunday with a 2-1 double overtime win at George Washington. In his 15th season, he has the most wins of any men's soccer coach in program history. Among active collegiate coaches, Koch ranks among the top-50 with 210 victories in his 20 seasons on the sideline.
Higa Named A-10 Player Of The Week
Tallied three goals in wins over Dayton (10/15) and Xavier (10/17).
Scored second goal against Daytong giving UMass a 2-0 lead in an eventual 3-2 OT win.
Scored the opening goal and game-tying goal with 16 seconds remaining in regulation against Xavier.
Tallied six total points on three goals taking just three shots.
Now has four goals and one assist for nine points on the season ranking third on the team.
Dubbed `The Flyin' Hawaiin' by UMass student media, Higa was a member of the A-10 All-Rookie Team in 2003.
Of the 21 active players on the team, 14 have tallied an offensive point this season.
Nine players have scored goals and 13 players have posted assists.
UMass has played in school-record eight overtime games this season posting a 5-1-2 record in those contests. Four of those games went into double overtime.
Only UMass, Penn State and Siena have played in eight overtime games this season nationally. DePaul is just ahead of that trio with nine OT matches.
The NCAA record for OT games in a season is 11 set by Saint Louis last season (7-1-3 overtime record). The Billiken's only OT loss last season was to No. 21 Cincinnati. Overall SLU had a 15-4-3 overall record making the NCAA quarter-finals.
Billman Playing Well In Net
Nick Billman has played well in the net of late making three consecutive starts.
The sophomore had been splitting time with senior Colin Burns with the duo rotating every game.
Billman's numbers may not stand out in the league, but his defensive efforts and timely saves have helped the Minutemen put together a three-game win streak.
Pace Has Career Day At Richmond
Pace scored a career-high two goals in the Minutemen's comeback attempt at Richmond (10/8).
Both goals occured in the second half. His first goal came at 79:27 when his header to the right post found the back of the net. He went down in the box score again when he scored at 86:25 beating Eric Sciocchetti on a penalty kick.
Pace currently ranks third on the team with two goals, three assists and seven points.
Kitchell Makes First Goal Of 2004 A Big One
Junior Tim Kitchell's golden goal in the second overtime at George Washington was huge for the Minutemen as it gave UMass at 2-1 win. Here's a look at some of the other consequences from his shot.
...UMass picked up it first win in five games (1-2-2).
...a UMass player other than Rob Charest scored a golden goal.
...the goal was the first of Kitchell's career who has played in 39 career games (mostly as a defender).
The Monte Christo Sandwhich
Just over half of the UMass travel party experienced the joy that is the Monte Christo sandwhich on Oct. 10 following the GWU match. The Monte Christo is a ham, turkey, and cheese sandwhich which has been deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It traditionally includes a side of raspberry jam for dipping.
Of the 23 people (19 players, two coaches, one trainer, and one SID), only three had ever had a Monte Christo before.
Only one player, Tyler Pagano, was able to take down the entire sandwhich - although everyone who ordered the Monte, enjoyed the Monte.
Charest Earns A-10 Player Of The Week
Sophomore Rob Charest earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for the week of Sept. 19-26 after leading UMass to its second overtime victory of the season with two goals, including the game winner, against New Hampshire.
Charest was also named the Dinn Brothers/UMass Athlete of the Week for his efforts.
In the Minutemen's 3-2 overtime victory against New Hampshire, Charest scored his second golden goal of the year. The goal, scored in the 99th minute of play, secured the third win of the season for UMass and was Charest's second goal of the game. In the 71st minute, Charest hit the equalizer to knot the score at 2-2 giving UMass the chance for the overtime victory. Against Hartford (9/14) Charest also scored twice including the game-winner in the 104th minute of play.
Burns Gets Offensive
Senior goalkeeper Colin Burns acheived a first for his collegiate soccer career when he placed his named in the offensive portion of the box score against Siena (9/14). Burns boomed a free kick nearly 65-yards allowing freshman Matty Lemire to set-up Oral Bullen's third goal of the season. Burns tallied the first assist of his career on the play.
Recapping The Xavier Win
Richie Higa scored two goals and Greg Cirillo netted the game-winning golden goal as UMass rallied to defeat Xavier 4-3 in double overtime on Sunday at Rudd Field.
The Minutemen jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the match, but the Musketeers battled back taking a 3-2 lead ... with 16 seconds remaining in regulation, Higa tied the match to force the overtime periods ... UMass won the game off Cirillo's golden goal in the second overtime of play.
UMass took the early 2-0 lead on goals by Higa and Oral Bullen ... Higa scored first at the 4:32 mark taking a pass from Ian O'Donnell after an Xavier turnover.
Bullen tacked on his goal in the 18th minute collecting a rebound off the cross bar from a Matty Lemire shot ... the goal was his team-leading seventh of the season.
Xavier answered in the 20th minute when Toni Skudrzik fired a shot inside the right post from 10-yards out ... in the 53rd minute, Xavier tied the game 2-2 on a shot by Nick Frasher after a UMass turnover.
Xavier took a 3-2 lead in the 64th minute when a Skudrzik shot bounced off the left post to Jimmy Cummings ... Cummings placed his shot inside the right post giving Xavier the lead.
Higa scored his second goal of the game with 16 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the match at 3-3 and force the eighth overtime match of the season for UMass.
The Minutemen then won their third consecutive match when Cirillo scored after gathering the rebound off Ralph Pace's shot which hit the right post.
Scouting The Rams
After a slow start to the season (0-6-1 with no goals), Fordham has put together a 3-3-2 record heading into Friday ... the Rams have lost three straight games, all Atlantic 10 matches (Duqesne, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph's).
Offensively, Shaun Moamem leads Fordham with four goals and two assists for 10 points ... he is followed by David Jaques who has three goals and one assist for seven points.
Stephen Faber has started 11-of-12 games this season and has a 3-7-2 overall record ... he has posted 56 saves on an .812 save percentage but has given up only 13 goals in 15 games (1.07 GAA)
Fordham lays claim to several noted alumni: Vince Lombardi, Denzel Washington, Alan Alda, Dylan McDermott, Mary Higgins Clarak, and Tony Reali (Stat Boy) - just to name a few.
Scouting The Explorers
LaSalle enters the weekend with a 7-5-1 overall record and a 3-3-0 record in the league ... the Explorers are ranked fifth in the A-10 with the top-six teams making the tournament.
After starting conference play with a 2-0 record, LaSalle has gone 1-3 over the last two weekend series ... like Fordham, LaSalle also lost both games last weekend to Temple and St. Joe's.
Andrew Perez leads the Explorers with five goals this season ... four players have three or more goals with Scott Golden adding six assists to that total to lead the team in points (12).
LaSalle's Stash Graham has started all but one game in goal posting a 1.37 GAA and making 74 saves which is good for second in the A-10.
The Rudd Field Advantage
Since its opening at the start of the 2002 season, Rudd Field has become one of the top home-field advantages in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Minutemen have posted a 17-6-2 mark (.700 winning percentage), including a 7-1-1 mark in 2003. In that span, UMass has outscored its foes 68-37 in the 25 games at home, including 21-5 in 2003. UMass posted five shutouts at Rudd Field in 2003 and have seven since the opening of the complex.
Koch certainly finds the month of October to his liking. In fact, the Minutemen saw a 22-game October unbeaten streak come to an end when Xavier defeated the Minutemen on October 10. The streak spanned back to Oct. 20, 2000, when Dayton defeated UMass, 3-1. Over the last five years, the Minutemen are 37-7-4 (.811 winning percentage) in the month of October.
Burns is a fifth-year senior that has recovered fully from a serious head injury during his freshman year. He is coming off a solid season as the UMass goalkeeper last season and will be counted on again this season.
Canavan is perhaps the most seasoned Minuteman. He spent five years in the United States Navy before joining the Minutemen last year. He is 28 years old and played for two seasons at New Hampshire before heading to the Navy.
Oral Bullen figures to be UMass' top offensive threat. He is the leading returning scorer with 20 points (8 g, 4 a).
Atlantic 10 Success
Sam Koch has had most of his success come against Atlantic 10 opponents. During his 13 years at UMass, Koch has posted a 81-39-10 record (.659 winning percentage) against Atlantic 10 opposition, and has a winning record against every team but one, Rhode Island. Against out-of-conference foes, Koch is 66-50-10 (.551 winning percentage).
A Look Back At 2003
UMass finished last season with an 11-7-1 record, its fifth straight 10-win season. It marks the longest successive 10-win streak in school history.