Field Hockey

13th A-10 Crown In Crosshairs For Field Hockey

Alexa Sikalis was Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 A-10 Championship.

Alexa Sikalis was Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 A-10 Championship.

Nov. 3, 2011

Atlantic 10 Championship Central

AMHERST, Mass. - The Atlantic 10 regular season co-champion UMass field hockey team (7-10, 5-1 A-10) heads to Philadelphia and Ellen Ryan Field on the campus of Saint Joseph's University this weekend for the 2011 A-10 Championship. The Minutewomen, seeded second by virtue of a loss to co-champ Richmond, are seeking their 13th conference title, fourth in the last five years, and first under first-year head coach Carla Tagliente.

No. 2 UMass will take on the No. 3 Owls on Friday at 2 p.m., following the other semifinal between No. 1 Richmond and No. 4 La Salle at 11 a.m. Saturday's championship game will begin at 2 p.m.

VIDEO: 2010 A-10 Championship Highlights
UMass comes into the 2011 A-10 Championship the most successful program in conference history. Its 12 championships, including three in the last four years, are more than all other A-10 schools combined.

The Minutewomen are 30-9 (.769) all-time in A-10 Tournament games, including a 18-3 record in the semifinals and a 12-6 record in the finals.

UMass is 8-3 all-time in A-10 Tournament games vs. Temple, the last being a 1-0 overtime win in last seasons semifinals. The Minutewomen are 3-4 against Richmond, the last being Richmond's 1-0 overtime win in the 2009 semifinals. UMass and La Salle have never met in the A-10 Championship, as the Explorers are 0-2 all-time in the tournament.

The last time Saint Joseph's hosted the A-10 Tournament was in 2007, when UMass defeated Richmond (2-1) and the host Hawks (2-0) to win its first conference title since 2001. That year's tourney was played at Finnesey Field.

Widdall Headlines Field Hockey's A-10 Honorees
Alesha Widdall headlines the list UMass field hockey players honored by the Atlantic 10 when the conference announced its postseason awards on Thursday. The senior goalkeeper was named Defensive Player of the Year, A-10 Academic All-Conference, and was named First Team All-Conference for the fourth year in a row. In all, the Minutewomen collected 11 awards.



UMass claimed four of the 11 spots on the A-10 All-Conference First Team. Widdall was joined by three first-time honorees: freshman defender Lauren Allymohamed, senior midfielder Nikki Panciocco, and junior midfielder Kim Young.

Junior forward Nicole Cordero was named to the All-Conference Second Team and sophomore midfielder Alexa Sikalis was named All-Conference Honorable Mention.

Freshman forward Renee Suter joins Allymohamed on the All-Rookie Team, while Widdall and Young were both named to Academic All-Conference Team.

The Whitney Point, N.Y. native is UMass' first four-time All-Conference performer since Cher King (2006-09) and the program's first four-time first-teamer since the A-10 started announcing multiple teams in 2005.

UMass has claimed the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year award for four years in a row as Widdall succeeds Makaela Potts, who won the honor in 2009 and 2010, after sharing the honor her freshman year with Temple's Mary Catherine Kinneman.

Field Hockey Alone In First After OT Win At Temple
In a series that goes back to 1978, UMass leads Temple in the series with a 32-11 record. First-year head coach Carla Tagliente is 1-0 against Temple by virtue of UMass' 2-1 overtime victory on Oct. 23 at Geasey Field.

Nikki Panciocco scored 6:53 into overtime to give UMass a 2-1 comeback victory over Temple and move the Minutewomen alone into first place atop the Atlantic 10 standings on Oct. 23 at Geasey Field. By winning the battle of undefeated A-10 teams, UMass claimed a share of the conference regular season title. Molly MacDonnell scored the tying goal with 3:13 left in regulation to send the game to overtime. The win was UMass' 15th in a row against A-10 regular season opponents.

Alesha Widdall made five saves in goal to earn the 47th win of the senior All-American's career.

Bridget Settles gave the home team the early lead 9:45 into the first half when scored her conference-leading 16th goal of the season.

The Minutewomen and Owls also met in last season's semifinals as the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds respectively, with UMass coming away with a 1-0 overtime victory on a goal by freshman Lindsay Bowman.

Late Richmond Goal Downs Minutewomen
VIDEO: Highlights From Richmond Game, Senior Day

The Spiders lead the all-time series 11-8.

Christina Amorose scored with 6:25 left in the second half to break a scoreless tie and give Richmond a 1-0 victory over UMass field hockey on a cold Senior Day at Garber Field last Friday. The loss snapped a streak of 15 Atlantic 10 victories in a row for the Minutewomen and resulted in UMass and Richmond sharing the regular season title at 5-1. UMass' last A-10 regular season loss had been over two years ago, on Oct. 23, 2009, and was also a 1-0 decision at Garber Field against the Spiders.

Widdall made five saves in the senior All-American's final game at Garber Field, all of which came in the second half. Freshman defender Lauren Allymohamed recorded her second defensive save of the season in the second half as well.

The Minutewomen and Spiders have combined to win the last 15 A-10 Championships (1996-2010).

Young Leads UMass Over La Salle, 2-0
The Minutewomen have a 16-1 record all-time against La Salle in a series that dates back to 1995. UMass has won six in a row over La Salle, dating back to the Explorers lone win in the series, 2-0 in 2003. Kim Young scored a first-half goal and set up another in the second half to lead UMass to a 2-0 victory over La Salle on Oct. 21 at Garber Field. It was the Minutewomen's 14th-straight Atlantic 10 victory and fourth out of their last five games overall. Young scored what proved to be the game-winner with 20:30 left in the first half off a penalty corner. The junior's fourth goal of the season came off a drag flick with Nikki Panciocco and Christine Cutry picking up their second and third assists of the season, respectively. Bowman added the insurance goal with 13 minutes left when she took a nice pass from Young on a 2-on-1, made a move around Explorers goalie Lisa Shaffer and knocked a shot into the empty goal off the reverse stick, making it 2-0. Alesha Widdall made six saves to record her fourth shutout of the season and 25th of the senior All-American's career.

Alesha Widdall, the nation's leader in minutes played, ranks fourth among all active Division I goalies in career save percentage (.778) and goals against average (1.37). She is 47-31 in her career with 25 shutouts in 77 starts. Widdall is a four-time Atlantic 10 All-Conference First-Teamer, three-time NFHCA Regional All-American, and two-time NFHCA All-American, in addition to being named the the 2011 and 2008 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, 2010 A-10 Student-Athlete of the Year and 2008 A-10 Co-Rookie of the Year.

Widdall anchors the top defense in the conference, posting a 0.66 goals against average during a 5-1 A-10 slate.

UMass' offense has been a diversified attack in 2011. The Minutewomen's 28 goals on the season have been distributed among 11 different players with nobody accounting for more than four.

UMass has two players with four goals each (Kim Young & Lindsay Bowman), four with three goals, and three more with two each.

Five different Minutewomen have game-winning goals, led by Young and Nikki Panciocco with two each.

UMass faced the toughest non-conference schedule in the conference and one of the toughest in the nation in 2011. The Minutewomen played eight teams ranked in the top 20 of the latest NFHCA Coaches Poll, including three of the top five teams.

UMass has played No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 Connecticut, No. 5 Syracuse, No. 11 Iowa, No. 12 Albany, No. 14 Boston College, No. 17 Boston University, and No. 18 Northeastern.

Though finishing its non-conference slate 2-9, the stiff competition prepared the Minutewomen well for A-10 play, where they went 5-1 on the way to the regular season co-title.

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