AMHERST, Mass. -
The UMass field hockey team closes out its challenging non-conference schedule with its toughest opponent yet in #1 Syracuse before hosting the Saint Louis Billikens to continue Atlantic 10 action. The Orange head to Amherst for a Thursday, Oct. 11 contest at 1 p.m. while the Billikens arrive for a 1 p.m. contest on Friday, Oct. 12. The Minutewomen immediately continue A-10 action with a Sunday contest against VCU, also hosted at Garber Field at 1 p.m.
Series With The Orange
Syracuse claimed victory in 15 of the 22 meetings between the programs, with the Orange's last win coming in 2011 when Syracuse downed the Minutewomen, 2-0 at home on Oct. 3. The Orange represent the most challenging foe to date this season for UMass, entering the contest as the No. 1-ranked team in the country according to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
Syracuse is buoyed by a consistent attack and lockdown defense on the current campaign, with seven different Orange players reaching double-figures in points to spearhead the offense. Kelsey Millman leads the team with 21 points on eight goals and five assists, following by Lauren Brooks (8 goals, 3 assists), Leonie Geyer (7 goals, 3 assists) and Jordan Page (5 goals, 7 assists).
On defense, the Orange have only allowed six goals through 12 games and have recorded five consecutive shutouts entering their contest with the Minutewomen. Leann Stiver serves as the starting goalkeeper, owning 797 of a possible 846 minutes. Stiver has limited the opposition with only five goals allowed against 35 saves, securing a 0.44 goals-against average and .875 save percentage with all 12 decisions and eight shutouts. Jess Jecko has closed out the remaining 49 minutes allowing one goal while making a save.
As a team, Syracuse is dominating its opponents, owning a 143-20 points advantage while outscoring teams, 51-6. The Orange have also outpaced their foes in shots, 262-85 and penalty corners, 101-45.
UMass last defeated Syracuse on Oct. 3, 2010, taking down the then-No. 8 Orange, 2-0 at Garber Field. Current-junior Molly MacDonnell and senior Nicole Cordero each recorded a pair of points during the contest, with MacDonnell earning the second goal of the game while Cordero tallied an assist on each UMass mark.
Series With The Billikens
Saint Louis is battling through a tough season in 2012, owning a 1-12 record entering Friday's contest at Garber Field. The Billikes secured their lone victory over Ball State, 3-2 on Sept. 23 and are in search of their first win over UMass in program history. The Minutewomen currently hold a 9-0 advantage in the series between the programs, tallying a 3-1 win in St. Louis in the last meeting on Oct. 16, 2011.
Tori Lycett's nine points on four goals and an assist pace the Billikens offense while Lexie Lindblad and Lisa Smith each own eight points on three goals and two assists. In total, Saint Louis' offense has been outscored, 45-14 while the opposition has recorded a 119-38 advantage in points. Foes are also outshooting the Billikens, 191-117 while also earning a 92-75 penalty corner advantage.
In goal, Meg Depew-Brady owns the starting role with 732 minutes on the season - allowing an overage of 4.02 goals per game while tallying a .558 saves percentage. Tori Westhead rounds out the remaining 178 minutes on the season with a 1.18 goals-against average and an 83.3 save percentage.
Series With The Rams
Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) and UMass have only met on one occasion in the history of the teams, with the Rams earning the victory, 1-0 on Oct. 28, 2001. The upcoming contest will mark the first battle between the squads as intra-conference opponents as VCU is in its first season as a member of the Atlantic 10.
Kelsey Scherrer's 12 goals and six assists for 30 points leads the Rams through 12 games while Arialle Hess and Haley McBee follow with 10 points each. Hess owns five goals to secure double-digits in points while McBee adds four marks and two helpers to the offensive effort. Overall, VCU leads its opponents in points, 94-58 and goals, 33-21 while being outshot, 143-139. Megan Botteri has played all 853:15 in net with a 1.72 goals-against average and 72 saves for a .774 saves percentage.
VCU is looking for its first A-10 victory after suffering a 2-1 loss at Temple on Oct. 5. After opening the season 7-0, the Rams have struggled in their previous five contests to a 2-3 record with losses to Drexel, No. 2 North Carolina and the Owls.
Weusthuis Named UMass Athlete of the Week
Freshman Noralie Weusthuis became the second field hockey student-athlete to take home UMass Athlete of the Week this season following a strong performance against #24 Maine. Weusthuis tallied her first collegiate goal in the contest - the eventual deciding goal in the 4-2 win - while helping stymie the Black Bears on defense to earn the program's fourth victory over a ranked team on the current season.
70 Minutes Just Isn't Enough
Through 13 games on the 2012 season, the UMass field hockey squad has played into overtime on six occasions, meaning nearly half of the team's games have required extra playing time to decide. UMass is 3-3 in games that go to overtime, with wins against No. 15 Ohio State, No. 17 Boston College and No. 18 New Hampshire.
Previously, UMass has played six or more overtime games in a season only once, when the Minutewomen had six games need extra minutes during the 2000 campaign, which encompassed 23 contests. Throughout the entire A-10 Conference there have only been 15 overtime contests, with UMass being the only squad to participate in more than three games that required at least one extra period.
Top-Notch Competition Providing Early Season Tests
Through 13 contests, UMass field hockey has played a ranked foe 10 times, the most among all Atlantic 10 Conference schools. This year, UMass has faced No. 3 Connecticut, No. 3 Maryland, No. 7 Northeastern, No. 12 Boston University, No. 15 Ohio State, No. 17 Boston College, No. 18 New Hampshire, No. 21 UAlbany, No. 22 Richmond and No. 24 Maine.
Within the Atlantic 10, the eight-team conference has played 29 top-25 opponents combined, with Richmond challenging the second-most (six) while Temple follows with four such games and Saint Louis adds three. Lock Haven and St. Joseph's have each twice battled a ranked foe while La Salle and VCU have squared off against top-25 competition once a piece.
As a whole, the conference has gone 7-22 against NFHCA Top-25 opposition, with UMass owning four of those victories. Richmond downed No. 19 Williams & Mary and No. 25 American University while Temple fought by No. 15 Drexel to join UMass as the only A-10 teams with wins over top-25 opposition.
During UMass' double-overtime contest with American, senior midfielder Kim Young recorded her 40th point as a Minutewoman on a game-tying assist. Young has remained one of the most consistent players for UMass since her arrival in Amherst in 2009, recording at least three goals in each season. Young has a pair of 13-point seasons (2009 & 2011) and owns 18 goals and 12 assists in 75 career games.
This year, Young has turned in her best single-season performance at UMass, leading the squad with 16 points on seven goals and two assists. For her overall success on the field and in the classroom, Young has been awarded numerous honors, including First Team A-10 All-Conference (2011), A-10 All-Conference Rookie Team (2009) and NFHCA National Academic Squad and Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference (2011).
Following Closely Behind
Shortly after Kim Young reached the 40-point plateau against American University, senior forward Nicole Cordero added her 29th and 30th points of her collegiate career with a goal against No. 21 Albany to become the second active Minutewoman with at least 30 career points. Cordero has a single-season career-best 12 points on six goals in 2012 and has now played in 68 games with UMass.
Field Hockey Splits Weekend Series With Vermont, No. 21 UAlbany
UMass produced a resounding victory over Vermont, 10-1 on Friday, Sept. 21 before suffering another close loss to a top-25 opponent as UAlbany bested the Minutewomen, 3-2, on Sunday, Sept. 23.
The Minutewomen appeared to be headed to yet another overtime game against the Great Danes; however, a penalty stroke awarded by the officials for a foul in the circle with 26 seconds remaining in the contest gave UAlbany the deciding goal in the 3-2 loss. On a breakaway, Corrine McConville dribbled uncontested into the circle and the officials ruled UMass goalkeeper Sam Carlino interfered with the play as she attempted to stifle McConville's run on goal. Lindsay Bowman notched her first goal of the season to open scoring just under 17 minutes into the game while Cordero added her third goal of the weekend to round out scoring for the Minutewomen.
UMass Suffers Heartbreaking Loss In Third Consecutive Overtime Game
In it's sixth overtime contest in eight games this season, the No. 25 UMass field hockey team endured a heartbreaking defeat, 3-2 to No. 12 Boston University. Alexa Sikalis and Nicole Cordero each notched one goal for the Minutewomen while Kate Heineman recorded an assist at Garber Field on Tuesday afternoon.
The Terriers earned the game-deciding goal in the 86th minute of action. Rachel Coll settled a pass from Ella Gunson and placed a shot by UMass freshman goalkeeper Sam Carlino to finalize play.
The Minutewomen notched an opening-minute goal for the second consecutive contest to break the scoreless tie only 45 seconds into the game. With the ball loose in the circle near Boston University's starting goalkeeper, Valentina Cerda, Sikalis placed a soft shot into the left side of the cage for the 1-0 lead.
After BU knotted the game at 1-1 in the 18th minute, UMass responded at the 21:24 mark as Heineman slotted a pass to Cordero in front of the cage, with Cordero working the ball around Terrier goalkeeper Valentina Cerda to push UMass into the lead, 2-1.
BU closed regulation scoring at the 35:00 mark, as Jacinda McLeod secured a goal off of a penalty corner attempt after time in the half had expired. The play was allowed to continue past the end of the half as the penalty corner attempt was awarded prior to the end of play.
Terrapin Invitational Recap
The Minutewomen suffered a pair of defeats while in College Park, Md., for the Terrapin Invitational, dropping a game each to No. 3 Maryland and American. After falling 5-0 to the Terrapins to open competition at the tournament, UMass battled into the second overtime period with American before eventually falling, 2-1, in the 93rd minute.
After falling behind to American in the sixth minute, play remained even until sophomore defender Lauren Allymohamed secured her first collegiate tally for UMass at the 59:18 mark. Allymohamed deflected in a pass from senior midfielder Kim Young to even the score at 1-1.
Starting Out Strong
Facing a treacherous non-conference schedule that includes 10 teams ranked in the NFHCA Top-25 Preseason Poll, UMass dropped No. 15 Ohio State, No. 17 Boston College and No. 18 New Hampshire to secure three victories over top-25 schools in as many attempts to open the year. Each contest required overtime, with the Minutewomen using the extra period to notch the game-deciding tallies for a trio of 2-1 victories.
Young Named UMass Athlete of the Week
Following a two-goal, one-assist weekend for Kim Young, the senior midfielder took home UMass Athlete of the Week honors. Young provided the game-tying mark at No. 17 Boston College before setting up the game-winner in the contest only 21 seconds into overtime. Young also secured a tally against Dartmouth, and the dangerous attacking player now owns a point in three of four games this year.
When awarded the honor four contests into the 2012 season, Young had already began spearheading the Minutewomen's offensive efforts with seven points on three goals and an assist.
UMass Splits Weekend Series With Dartmouth, No. 17 Boston College
After faltering in their home-opener against the Big Green, 3-1, the Minutewomen rebounded immediately with a 2-1 overtime victory at No. 17 Boston College. Trailing 1-0 into the 62nd minute, senior forward Nicole Cordero fired an on-target shot that rebounded to Kim Young. The senior midfielder rushed the net to corral the loose ball and redirected it into the back of the goal to tie the contest at 1-1. After playing the remainder of the contest without either team recording a mark, UMass struck for the deciding tally only 21 seconds into overtime. Young slotted a pass to Cordero following a short breakaway, with Cordero tipping home the centering pass to secure the win.
Young also notched the lone Massachusetts goal against Dartmouth, earning UMass Athlete of the Week honors for her five points on the weekend.
Prince Named Atlantic 10 Player Of The Week
After helping UMass to a pair of wins against ranked opponents, junior Hannah Prince was named Atlantic 10 Field Hockey Player of the Week, the league office announced on Aug. 27.
Prince scored the first two goals of her career, both overtime game-winners, as the Minutewomen defeated No. 18 New Hampshire and No. 15 Ohio State by 2-1 margins on Friday and Saturday in Durham, N.H. She factored in UMass' first goal vs. the Buckeyes, as well, dishing her first career assist.
UMass Downs No. 18 New UNH, No. 15 Ohio State During Opening Weekend
UMass posted a pair of 2-1 overtime wins vs. No. 18 New Hampshire and No. 15 Ohio State last weekend in Durham, N.H. It marked the first two victories over ranked opponents of head coach Carla Tagliente's tenure.
The pair of wins put the Minutewomen out to their first 2-0 beginning to a season since 2000. UMass' last 3-0 start came in 1996 when the squad opened up with four consecutive wins.
In addition to the two game-winners by Prince, seniors Kim Young and Thando Zono also added tallies against UNH and Ohio State, respectively. In goal for UMass, Carlino had three saves vs. the Buckeyes.
Bulk Of Scoring Production Back
UMass returns nine of its 11 players who scored goals last season, including its top-three points producers from 2011 in senior Kim Young, redshirt-senior Callie Sweigart and junior Lindsay Bowman.
The returning Minutewomen were responsible for 65 of the squad's 80 total points last season and 23 of 28 goals. Young led the charge with 13 points on four goals and five assists, en route to all-region and All-Atlantic 10 honors.
Atlantic 10 Predictions
UMass was tabbed second in the 2012 Atlantic 10 preseason poll. Trailing only the defending champion Richmond Spiders, the Minutewomen were picked ahead of Temple, VCU, La Salle, Saint Joseph's, Lock Haven and Saint Louis in voting conducted among the league's eight head coaches.
UMass was the No. 2 seed in last year's A-10 Championships after the Minutewomen tied Richmond for the best regular season record in conference play at 5-1.
Youth In The Cage
UMass will be tasked with replacing four-year starter Alesha Widdall in the cage. Widdall, who was a two-time All-American, a four-year all-region and All-Atlantic 10 honoree in her time with the Minutewomen, was named to the 2012 U.S. Women's National Team this past summer.
Freshman Pennsylvania natives Sam Carlino and Sammy Zeiders will be looking to fill the void. Carlino played club with W.C. Eagles Field Hockey from 2007-2012 and was part of the team that took second at the National Club Championship in 2011. She was an all-area first team standout at Unionville High School. Zeiders was a two-time all-state honoree out of Lower Dauphin High School where she won a state title as a sophomore in 2009-10.