Field Hockey Hosting No. 5 UConn And Harvard This Weekend
Sept. 11, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass Minutewomen (3-1) host two key games with regional rivals this weekend when they welcome No. 5 UConn (4-0) and Harvard (1-1) to Garber Field. The Minutewomen start off the weekend on Friday when they host the fifth-ranked Huskies in a rematch of last season's first round NCAA match-up. On Sunday, Harvard comes to town for a noon contest. This weekend's games begin a stretch in which the Minutewomen play seven out of eight games at home.
In The Polls
UConn, after finishing fourth in the NFHCA Preseason Poll, dropped to fifth despite entering the week with a 3-0 record.
Kelly And Widdall Honored
The Minutewomen earned 11 corners on the day to Dartmouth's five. UMass also controlled the game in shots, 18-8, with Potts leading the way with four. Ashley Hines led the Big Green with three shots.
Katie Kelly scored a goal with 38 seconds left in the first half and then scored again with just over 10 minutes left in the second half to lead UMass to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Northeastern at Sweeney Field on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies scored first, but Erin Parker set up Kelly's goal late in the first half and the sophomore forward scored unassisted in the second half to give UMass its first win over the Huskies since Oct. 31, 1999.
Alesha Widdall made five saves in goal for UMass to earn her third-straight victory.
For the game, NU outshot UMass, 11-8, and held a 7-5 advantage in corners.
It was a weekend of redemption for UMass as it defeated two teams in Dartmouth and Northeastern that the Minutewomen had combined to lose 10-straight against. Friday's 2-0 win ended a three-game losing streak to the Big Green and Sunday's win ended a seven-game slide against the Huskies.
The teams met twice last season, both times in Storrs. In the regular season match-up on Sept. 22, the Minutewomen led two seperate times, on goals by Lauren Gillespie and Jaime Bourazeris, but the Huskies came back both times and Lauren Aird scored the game-winner with just 1:17 remaining to give UConn a 3-2 win.
The teams met again on Nov. 10 in the NCAA Tournament first round. Erin Parker scored in the 19th minute to again give UMass an early lead, but the Huskies scored four unanswered goals to go get the victory and end the Minutewomen's season, 4-1.
UMass' last win over UConn came on Sept. 30, 2000 in Amherst, 2-1.
Sunday's game will the 18th time UMass and Harvard have met on the field hockey field in a series that goes back to 1980. The Minutewomen lead the series, 10-6-1, and have won the last two years' match-ups by a combined 9-1 score. Previous to that, the Crimson had won four in row over UMass.
Last season's meeting, on Sept. 2 in Cambridge, was UMass' highest offensive output of the season. The Minutewomen defeated the Crimson by a score of 5-0 at Jordan Field. Cher King led the way with two goals and an assist. Katie Kelly, Katelyn Orlando, and Kristina DoRosario all added goals as well. It was the most goals scored in a game by UMass since a seasoning-opening 7-0 victory at Colgate on August 30, 2000.
The Huskies are lead by a strong defense, including two-time All-America and Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Jennifer Kleinhans. Joining her are returning starters, Gina Uguccioni, Katie Scully and Meg Wheeler along with returning goalkeeper Andrea Mainiero, who already has two shutouts on the season.
With the graduation of leading scorer in both goals and points, Lizzy Peijs, the Huskies will be looking towards returning players, seniors Lindsey Leck and Lauren Aird, who have already combined for a total of 10 points, and sophomore Melissa Gonzalez, to become the offensive threats of the team. Freshman Cara Silverman is off to a hot start, pacing the team with four goals so far.
The Huskies are led by head coach Nancy Stevens, who enters her 19th season with UConn field hockey, 30th overall. Over her 30 year career, Stevens has compiled an impressive 464-152-24 record guiding the Huskies to the NCAA tournament in 11 of the last 12 seasons. She is assisted by associate head coach, Paul Caddy who is in his eighth season at UConn, and assistant coach, Cheri Herr.
The Crimson is led by a five returning seniors, each of whom started at least 16 of the squad's 17 games a year ago. Harvard also returns four other starters and a promising class of freshman to the squad. Their defensive will be their strongest asset, with three of four back-line returning starters, along with senior goalie and team captain Kylie Stone (daughter of UMass baseball coach Mike Stone). Senior defenders Francine Polet and Abbie Harpstead will be counted on to anchor the team.
For the offensive unit, Harvard boasts of two returning All-Ivy league forwards, Tami Jafar and co-captain, Kayla Romanelli, who both netted 5 goals each last season. Sophomores Maggie McVeigh and Leigh McCoy will also prove a reliable addition to the forward line-up.
Harvard is led by head coach Sue Caples, who enters into her third decade wearing the Crimson colors. Caples, a 1982 UMass grad, starred for the Minutewomen from 1979-81 and captained the team her senior season in which she earned All-American honors. She has posted a 175-156-9 overall record with four NCAA tournament berths, three Ivy League titles and six ECAC tournament appearances. Caples is assisted by 2005 Boston College grad, Bronwen Evans, UNH grad, Emily Colton, and volunteer coach, Donna Chung.
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