13th A-10 Crown In Crosshairs For Field Hockey
Nov. 3, 2011
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.
IN A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY
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.
UMASS HAULS IN 11 A-10 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.
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.
AGAINST THE OWLS
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.
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).
AGAINST LA SALLE
THE WIDDALL WALL
Widdall anchors the top defense in the conference, posting a 0.66 goals against average during a 5-1 A-10 slate.
Five different Minutewomen have game-winning goals, led by Young and Nikki Panciocco with two each.
TAKING ON THE BEST
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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