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UMass enters the tournament at 4-13-1 overall and 3-5 in Atlantic 10 play (nine points), finishing tied for seventh (with Saint Joseph's whom they did not play in 2013) in the league standings. UMass will face top-seeded Saint Louis on Thursday at 5 p.m. The Billikens clinched the regular-season title with a 2-1 win over the Minutemen in Amherst on Sunday. This is the first time in program history that UMass will open postseason play against the last team it played in the regular-season.
Conference Tournament History
UMass is making its 12th Atlantic 10 Championship appearance in 2013. It has fashioned a 7-8-3 all-time record in the tourney, claiming titles in 2001 and 2007. The event was held in Dayton both of those years and UMass is 3-1-2 all-time in Dayton. The Minutemen have advanced to the finals six times - 1992, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2007 & 2008.
Of UMass' three ties, one saw the Maroon & White advance in the 2007 first round over UD via a shootout, while they won the 2001 crown and dropped the 1992 title game on PKs. All four shootouts have been 4-3 tallies.
Talking Conference Championships
UMass has won four Atlantic 10 regular-season titles: 1994, 2000, 2002, 2008. In 2007, the Minutemen won the Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship for just its second ever tournament title (2001) and its second-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Minutemen then promptly ran through the tournament field all the way to the National Semifinals in 2007 before their appearance in 2008.
Against The 2013 Field
The Minutemen are 0-4 in 2013 against the field, dropping games to No. 1 Saint Louis, No. 2 George Mason, No. 3 VCU and No. 5 Dayton. Thee did not face No. 4 La Salle, No. 6 Duquesne or No. 7 Saint Joseph's.
UMass lost to Saint Louis 2-1 in the final game of the season on Sunday. The Minutemen and Billikens have met one previous time in the tournament, with UMass claiming a 2-0 win in the 2008 semifinals.
Head Coach Sam Koch
UMass head coach Sam Koch is in his 23rd season leading the Minutemen and brings a 222-181-49 record into the A-10 Championship. He has led UMass to four regular-season titles and two tournament crowns. Koch is a four-time A-10 Coach of the Year, tied for the most in league history. His two tournament titles are the most of any current league coach (Mike McGinty at SLU and Dennis Currier at Dayton each have one title).
Schwartz Named Academic All-District and All-Conference
Junior forward Josh Schwartz was recently named to both the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-Atlantic 10 teams. The Annapolis, Md. product leads the team in points (16), goals (6), assists (4) and shots on goal (18), while ranking second with one game-winning goal. He carries a 3.936 grade point average in biology/pre-med.
He enters the tourney with career totals of 13 goals, six assists and two game-winners in three season at UMass.
Schwartz not made below an A-minus in college with two-consecutive 4.0 semesters. He was one of ten recipients of the Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program and is a first author on a paper to be presented at an upcoming Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America (POSNA) conference in Toronto.
Offense Came Alive During Second Half Of 2013
It's no secret that UMass struggled to score goals at times during the season. Lucky for the Minutemen, the bulk of the scoring outages came in the non-conference portion of the season. UMass had just three goals on 91 shots (10.1/gm) over the first nine games. Then something clicked and the Minutemen had a 12 scores on 102 shots (11.3) the final nine games, which also included all eight A-10 games.
Keys Key To Success
There have been many factors that have contributed to the increased scoring over the second half of the season, but the most obvious has been the move of Matt Keys from center back to forward around the eighth game of the year. The junior from Norfolk, Mass. had never played forward at any point in his high school or college career, but has adapted well. He leads the team in game-winning goals (2) and assists (4 - tied), is second in points (10), shots (31) and shots on goal (10), and third in goals (3). He had three total goals in his first two seasons at UMass prior to 2013. He has started all 55 games in his three years at UMass.
Who Has the Game Winners
UMass' four game-winning goals have come from three players. Junior Matt Keys has collected home winners over Rhode Island and George Washington, junior Josh Schwartz had the deciding score in the 5-2 win over Siena and sophomore Mark Morris secure victory at St. Bonaventure two weeks ago.
Overtime In 2013
UMass opened the 2013 season with a pair of overtime games at the Bradley Invitational, but has not played one since. The Minutemen tied Evansville, 0-0, before falling to Bradley, 1-0, 4:44 into the extra session.
Shutouts Rare For UMass Defense
The Minutemen opened the season with a scoreless tie against Evansville and have not held anyone scoreless since - a span of 17 games.
UMass In One-Goal Games
UMass was 2-8 in one-goal games this season. Of note, three of the five A-10 losses were by a single score, including during the opening weekend of league play when the Minutemen led George Mason 1-0 at the half.