AMHERST, Mass. -
After earning an at-large bid to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, the UMass field hockey team will square off against Maryland, the No. 1 overall seed, in the first round on Saturday at 11:30 AM in College Park, Md. The Minutewomen dropped a 2-1 decision to Stanford on Tuesday in the NCAA play-in game in Amherst, yet was still able to secure a spot in the national tournament with its strong RPI. The Minutewomen, who had their 11-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday, will look to avenge a 3-0 loss suffered at the hands of the Terrapins earlier this season.
Maryland is 19-1 overall this season, and is making their 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins won its third straight ACC conference title against North Carolina last weekend. Also competing in the College Park region is Connecticut and American, teams that Massachusetts went up against in 2010. UMass upset then-No.4 UConn on Sept. 11 (1-0) before falling to American 2-0 one week later.
BACK TO THE NCAAs
The Minutewomen earned an at-large bid to their 22nd National Tournament despite a loss in the play-in game to Stanford on Tuesday, 2-1. UMass is 12-19 in NCAA Tournament play, dating back to its run to the National Championship game in 1981.
Massachusetts earned a spot in the tournament in both 2007 and 2008 via play-in wins against Princeton and Kent State, respectively. Under Justine Sowry, the Minutewomen have appeared in the NCAAs in three of the past four seasons. This is the second meeting between UMass and Maryland in the national tournament; the Terrapins defeated the Minutewomen 2-1 in the quarterfinals in 1993.
Massachusetts is 0-10 all-time against Maryland in a series that dates back to 1979. The teams met early this season, a game that UMass dropped 3-0 in Maryland on September 19. Prior to that, the teams hadn't squared off since 2004, which was a 6-0 won for the Terrapins at home.
Maryland (14-5, 5-0 ACC) comes into the national tournament as the top overall seed and winners of their third straight Atlantic Coast Conference title. The Terrapins beat West Virginia in double overtime in the semifinals (5-4) before knocking off #2 seed North Carolina 5-2 last Sunday. The Terps have won their last 11 games, outscoring their opponents 58-22 in the process. Maryland's lone loss of the season came at the hands of Princeton, 4-2, on September 28.
The two teams met earlier this season in College Park on September 19, when the Terrapins shutout UMass 3-0. Maryland led the Minutewomen in nearly all statistical categories including shots (12-4) and penalty corners (9-3).
Maryland is led by 2009 National Player of the Year Katie O'Donnell, who leads the nation in both points per game (4.3) and assists per game (1.5). Her assists/game currently sits as the second-highest mark ever in a Division I Field Hockey season. She is also second in the country in goals per game with 1.4. In 2010, she has 28 goals and 30 assists for 86 points.
Supporting the 2009 First-Team All-American is Junior Jemma Buckley, who has 21 goals and nine assists this season. Buckley, a defender, was recently named to the ACC All-Tournament team after her four goals and one assist performance at the conference tournament.
Backstopping Maryland is junior goalkeeper Melissa Vassalotti, who is 14-1 this season in the cage with a 1.81 goals against average and .630 save percentage.
Patrolling the sidelines for the Terrapins is Missy Meharg, currently in her 23rd season with the team. Meharg has guided Maryland to six national titles and eight ACC Championships, going 411-102-9 in the process. Also with the Terrapins in her first season is former UMass assistant Dina Rizzo, who was with the Minutewomen in 2009.
A-10 CHAMPS AGAIN!
After a disappointing end to the 2009 season broke its string of two-straight Atlantic 10 Championships, UMass returned to the top of the conference in 2010, going a perfect 7-0 in A-10 regular season play before defeating No. 4 seed and host Temple, 1-0 in overtime, and No. 2 seed Lock Haven in the finals, 2-0 at Geasey.
Jaime Bourazeris scored a first half goal, Alexa Sikalis added an insurance goal late in the game, and the defense put in a stellar performance to lead UMass (15-6) to a 2-0 victory over Lock Haven (15-7) at Geasey Field to claim UMass' third A-10 Championship in four years.
Sikalis was named A-10 Championship Most Outstanding Player, while she was joined on the All-Championship Team by teammates Katie Kelly and Makaela Potts.
In the semifinals, Lindsay Bowman scored off a pass from Katie Kelly 3:14 into overtime to break a scoreless tie and send UMass to the finals by defeating Temple (9-12), 1-0. UMass completely controlled play throughout the game, outshooting the host Owls, 21-3, and drawing 12 penalty corners to Temple's three, but just as she did in their regular season meeting, a 1-0 UMass victory, Temple goalkeeper Sarah Dalrymple kept her team in the game, making 10 saves.
The Minutewomen are 30-9 (.757) all-time in A-10 Tournament games, including a 18-3 record in the semifinals and a 12-6 record in the finals.
Justine Sowry is 6-1 in A-10 tourney games, winning her first four game for A-10 titles in 2007 and 2008 before falling in last year's semifinals to Richmond.
EIGHT NAMED TO A-10 ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
Head Coach Justine Sowry, senior defender Makaela Potts, and junior goalkeeper Alesha Widdall led a total of 12 UMass honors when the Atlantic 10 announced its All-Conference field hockey teams last week. Sowry was named A-10 Coach of the Year for the third time in four seasons, while Potts repeated as A-10 Defensive Player of the Year and Widdall was named A-10 Student-Athlete of the Year. The Minutewomen placed four players on the All-Conference first team.
Potts, who became just the second UMass player to ever win Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009 (Anke Bruemmer in 2001), made it back-to-back honors in 2010 while also being named to the All-Conference First Team. Joining Potts on the first team are senior Jaime Bourazeris, senior Katie Kelly, and junior goalkeeper Widdall, giving UMass a conference-high four on the first team.
Junior transfer defender Thando Zono was named to the All-Conference Second Team in her first season in the Maroon & White.
UMass also had a league-high three freshmen named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team. Forward Lindsay Bowman, defender Hannah Prince, and midfielder Alexa Sikalis comprise the largest All-Rookie Team class in UMass program history.
Kelly and Widdall were also honored by being named to the Academic All-Conference Team.
KELLY MAKING MARK ON UMASS RECORD BOOK
Senior captain Katie Kelly leads the Minutewomen this season with 11 goals and nine assists for 31 points. Her 93 career points is sixth-best all-time at UMass after passing Megan Donnelly (1982-85) and Laura O'Neil (1977-80) in the last two weeks. Her 36 goals is now tied for seventh-best all-time with Pam Moryl (1981-84).
Kelly is moving up the career assist rankings at UMass, as well. Kelly, a 2009 and 2010 Atlantic 10 First-Team selection, has 21 assists, which ranks eighth all-time. Jaime Bourazeris and Makaela Potts each have 17 assists, and could break into the top-10 leaderboard with two assists against Maryland.
Kelly now has double-digit goal totals in three-straight years after 11 each in 2008 and 2009.
THE WIDDALL WALL
Junior goalkeeper Alesha Widdall is once again among the nation's goalkeeping elite. Her .795 save percentage ranks sixth nationally while her 1.06 goals against average ranks eighth. She also leads the A-10 in both save percentage and goals against average. As a team, UMass enters the week with the nation's fifth-best save percentage (.804) and seventh-best GAA (1.06).
Widdall ranks fourth among all active goalies in career save percentage (.784) and seventh in goals against average (1.22). She also ranks seventh in minutes played, coming in as the first non-senior on the list.
The three-time A-10 All-Conference First-Teamer and 2008 All-American has eight shutouts on the season and 21 in the junior's career.
With a freshmen class of 10, many new Minutewomen have stepped in and played leading roles immediately. Four different UMass freshmen have been named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week this season, claiming the award four out of ten weeks.
Also among UMass' talented freshmen is defender Hannah Prince, who has started every game in the backfield, recording the fifth-most minutes played on the team (1,425).
Senior Makaela Potts has five goals and three assists on the season, but the two-time NFHCA All-American's true value isn't measured on the stat sheet. A key component on both the offensive and defensive corner units, Potts is also relied upon to be UMass' primary ball-mover and playmaker from the back and midfield lines.
Kelly (73) and Potts (86) have accounted for 159 of the team's 327 shots (48.6 percent). The next closest to them is Thando Zono with 30.
Since returning from an injury on October 15, junior Thando Zono has six goals in her last six games. The transfer from Rhodes University scored both goals against Richmond, including the overtime winner, and netted the first two tallies against Saint Joseph's to spark the Minutewomen.
Freshman forward Lindsay Bowman has four goals in 2010, the biggest coming when she sent the Minutewomen into the Atlantic 10 Championship game with her overtime goal against Temple. Bowman scored the first two goals of her career on Sept.11-12, and they were big ones. On Sept. 11, she scored the game's lone goal in the 1-0 victory over No. 4 UConn. On the following day, she scored the game-tying goal with 6:04 remaining before UMass eventually won in overtime at Yale. Bowman was named A-10 Rookie of the Week and UMass Co-Athlete of the Week with football quarterback Kyle Havens. Bowman tallied her first career assist on Tuesday against Stanford.
Among those joining Bowman on UMass' very young forward line are sophomore Nicole Cordero (2 goals, 4 assists), sophomore Kim Young (3 goals), and freshmen Molly MacDonnell (2 goals) and Alexa Sikalis (1 goal, 1 assist). Cordero recorded two assists in the 2-0 win over the No. 8 Orange, while MacDonnell scored her first career goal in that game.
Senior defender Jaime Bourazeris has three goals and seven assists on the season. Her first goal was the game-winner in a 2-1 game at Northeastern and her second was the game-winner in the Minutewomen's 2-0 win over No. 8 Syracuse. She also scored a first-half goal to pace UMass in their 2-0 win over Lock Haven in the A-10 Championship game. UMass returns nine starters from the 2009 team. Head Coach Justine Sowry also welcomes 11 new players in 2010, 10 freshmen and one transfer.
Sowry, in her fourth year as head coach, has a career record of 58-30 and has been named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year three times (2007, 2008 and 2010) and was named Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2008.
UMASS TAKING ON THE BEST
UMass' aggressive scheduling has paid off as the Minutewomen have come in at the No. 15 spot in the latest NCAA RPI report release on Nov. 8. UMass is the fourth-highest non-BCS conference school in the RPI. The Minutewomen have been in the top 15 in five of the six RPI reports in 2010.
The Minutewomen have defeated two ranked teams in 2010, both top 10 squads from the Big East: No. 4 UConn, 1-0 (Sept. 11), and No. 8 Syracuse, 2-0 (Oct. 3).
Four of UMass' losses have come by one goal and all six have come to teams that were either ranked at the time or are currently ranked (No. 9 Boston College, 1-0; No. 17 Indiana, 2-1; current No. 17 Boston University, 2-1; No. 18 American, 2-0; No. 2 Maryland, 3-0; and No. 19 Albany, 2-1).
UMASS SHUTS OUT THE ORANGE
Jaime Bourazeris scored in the first half, Molly MacDonnell scored a second-half goal, and Alesha Widdall made 11 saves to lead UMass field hockey (5-6) to a 2-0 victory over No. 8 Syracuse (7-4) on Oct. 3 afternoon at Garber Field. The win comes on Head Coach Justine Sowry's birthday and is the Minutewomen first win over the Orange since 1998, snapping a string of 12 Orange wins in the series.
The win served as a fitting birthday present to Sowry who had been 0-4 against Syracuse coming into the game.
Both UMass goals were set up on passes by Nicole Cordero, the first two assists of the sophomore forward's career. Widdall made a season-high 11 saves in goal and made a spectacular diving stop on a penalty stroke by Syracuse's Martina Loncarica with 2:11 left in the game to keep the shutout. It is the junior's third shutout of the season and 16th of her career.
MINUTEWOMEN UPSET NO. 4 UCONN
Lindsay Bowman scored the first goal of her career off a pass from fellow freshman Mika Black to lead UMass to the upset victory over No. 4 UConn, 1-0, on Sept. 11 at Garber Field. It was the Minutewomen's first victory over the Huskies since 2000, a span of 11 games. It is also the highest ranked opponent UMass has defeated in the Justine Sowry era, replacing last season's win over No. 9 Iowa.
UMass last defeated UConn on Sept. 30, 2000, 2-1, in Amherst. The Huskies had won the last 10 meetings. The win was also the highest-ranked opponent UMass has beaten in 14 years (No. 4 James Madison, 3-2 2OT, on Sept. 14, 1996) in Iowa City, Iowa.