Sept. 3, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -
The #17 UMass field hockey team, fresh off a season-opening 1-0 victory over #20 Providence last week, this weekend hosts Boston University and Iowa for the UMass Invitational at Garber Field. The Minutewomen take on the Terriers in the opener on Friday at 2 p.m. The hosts then play the Hawkeyes, a Final Four team from last year, on Saturday at 2 p.m. BU and Iowa then play each other on Sunday at 1 p.m. to close things out.
Live video of both UMass games will be available on UMass All-Access at UMassAthletics.com. Free live stats for all three games will be available on Gametracker at UMassAthletics.com.
Minutewomen Top Friars
Jill Powers scored off a Cher King assist with 13:40 left in the game to break a scoreless tie and give #17 UMass field hockey a 1-0 victory over Providence in the season opener for both teams on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Garber Field. The senior from Barbados stick-handled into the right side of the PC zone and sent a hard pass across the circle where fellow senior Powers tipped the ball high inside the left post for UMass' first goal of the season.
The Minutewomen used an 11-3 shot advantage and 4-0 penalty corner advantage to control the second half. UMass finished the game with a 6-1 penalty corner advantage and outshot the Friars, 16-7.
The victory was UMass' first in a season opener in six years. The Minutewomen last won their first game of the year on Aug. 30, 2003 over Fairfield, 2-1, in double overtime.
Powers Named Athlete Of The Week
Jill Powers was named the first UMass/Dinn Bros. Athlete of the Week on Monday. The senior forward scored the lone goal in the #17 Minutewomen's season-opening 1-0 victory over #20 Providence on Saturday afternoon at Garber Field. Powers was recognized at the first UMass Sports Luncheon of the season on Wednesday.
The goal was Powers' 24th of her career, the most among active Minutewomen, and her 10th in a UMass uniform since transferring from Rhode Island after her sophomore season.
Scouting Boston University
The Terriers, the top "others receiving votes" team in the NFHCA Preseason Poll, opened the season last weekend at the Wildcat Classic at Northwestern. BU fell in the opener to the host school, 2-1, in overtime, and closed out play with a 2-0 loss to top-ranked and defending national champion Maryland. Last Monday, BU played an exhibition game at Providence, defeating the Friars, 1-0.
Freshman Leslie Zules has BU's lone goal of the season, scoring it in her collegiate debut at Northwestern. Also expected to lead the team offensively are seniors Nikki Lloyd and Gabby Hajjar.
Junior Amanda Smith has played both games in goal for BU, posting a .667 save pct. and 1.98 GAA.
Last Time Vs. The Terriers
Two years ago, two second half goals off penalty corners led BU to a 2-0 victory over the UMass at Garber Field on Sept. 12, 2007. After out-shooting the Terriers 6-2 in the first half and controlling play, the tide turned against UMass in the second half. Pam Spuehler and Gabby Hajjar both scored for Boston University. Becky Letourneau made five saves in goal for the Minutewomen. Amanda Smith picked up the win in net for the Terriers.
The all-time series between UMass and BU is deadlocked at 14-14-2.
#9 Iowa also comes into the weekend 0-2, but both losses have come to national powers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last weekend. The Hawkeyes fell in their opener, 3-2, to #2 and 2008 national finalist Wake Forest and then lost to North Carolina, 5-0.
Sarah Pergine and Geena Lesiak have the two Hawkeye goals this season, while Tricia Dean has added an assist. Seniors Meghan Beamesderfer and Tricia Dean and sophomore Becca Spengler are also expected to help lead the team that lost eight players to graduation from its 2008 Final Four squad.
Tori Garifo and Kathleen Mcgraw both have seen action in goal for Iowa. Garifo has seen the bulk of the minutes and has a 6.00 GAA and .500 save pct. Mcgraw has played one half, allowing one goal and making one save,
Series Vs. Iowa
Iowa leads the all-time series against UMass, 7-1-1. The clubs last met in 1996 at Iowa, a 2-1 Hawkeyes victory.
Tough Road Lies Ahead
UMass will face one of the nation's most challenging schedules in 2009. UMass will play six opponents ranked in the top 20 in the NFHCA Preseason Poll: #3 Syracuse (Oct. 3), #5 UConn (Oct. 9), #9 Iowa (Sept. 5), #12 James Madison (Sept. 12), #14 Boston College (Sept. 20), and #20 Providence (Sept. 29). Three of those contests (Iowa, BC, and Providence) will be played at home on Garber Field. Syracuse and Iowa made up half of the NCAA Final Four from last season. In all, 12 of the Minutewomen's 20 opponents received votes in the preseason poll, including conference rivals Richmond and Temple.
UMass Ranked #17 To Start The Season
The Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll was released on August 25 with UMass beginning the season ranked 17th in the country with 126 points. The two-time defending Atlantic 10 champions finished the 2008 season ranked 17th in the final poll, a position they held for most of the year. Since 2006, when the NFHCA first released a preseason poll, this is the first time UMass has been ranked prior to the start of the season. In 2008, the Minutewomen were the highest "others receiving votes" team and in 2007 received one vote in the preseason poll.