AMHERST, Mass. -
The UMass women's soccer team will put its two-match winning streak on the line as the squad heads to Brown for a 4 p.m. meeting with the Bears on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 20. Then on Sunday, Sept. 23, the Minutewomen will wrap up their non-conference slate at home against Siena at 1 p.m.
Brown enters Thursday's match boasting a record of 5-1-0 this season with its only loss coming at Providence by a 3-2 margin. The Bears have logged wins over St. John's (3-0), New Hampshire (1-0), Vermont (1-0), Northeastern (1-0) and Sacred Heart (1-0), with an active three-game shutout streak.
Chloe Cross has four of the team's eight goals on the season and leads Brown with eight points. Mika Siegelman follows with seven points on thee goals and one assist. All three of Siegelman's tallies have been game winners.
Netminder Amber Bledsoe boasts a 0.33 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. She splits time with MC Barrett who holds a 0.67 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
Siena is currently 2-4-0 on the season and plays two matches before coming to UMass on Sunday, at Vermont on Wednesday and home vs. Temple on Friday.
The Saints' two wins have come at home vs. Central Connecticut and Quinnipiac, 2-1 and 1-0 in overtime, respectively.
Five different players have provided Siena's five goals this season. Kelly Ristoff leads the squad with three points.
Taylor Booth has been in net all six games for the Saints and holds a 1.33 goals-against average and a .778 save percentage.
Against The Bears & The Saints
UMass is 11-4-1 all-time vs. Brown since the series began in 1978. The Minutewomen have never faced Siena.
Last fall in Amherst, UMass defeated the Bears, 1-0 in overtime. Current senior Emily Cota logged the shutout and had four saves.
Five different players have combined for UMass' eight goals on the season. Four of the five have one goal apiece, all which were first career tallies.
Having already surpassed her freshman year total of six points, sophomore Moa Mattsson currently leads the Minutewomen in scoring through eight matches with nine points and tallied her first of the season in a 2-1 loss to #6 UCLA in the teams' season opener.
Last Time Out
UMass celebrated its return to Rudd Field with a 2-0 victory over New Hampshire last Sunday afternoon, the squad's second consecutive win via shutout.
The Minutewomen broke up the scoreless deadlock in the 77th minute. Junior Hlín Gunnlaugsdottír sent a cross from the right of the 18-yard box in to sophomore Tori Sousa. Sousa managed to knock the ball down for classmate Moa Mattsson, who drove it past Erica Correa from about 10 yards out for her fourth of the season.
Just over five minutes later, Mattsson set up Gunnlaugsdottír's first career tally as a quick touch from Mattsson found Gunnlaugsdottír on the wing. Gunnlaugsdottír took a few steps towards goal and sent a low shot in along the ground that tucked inside the far right post at 81:49.
Senior Emily Cota collected her second straight shutout for UMass and made seven saves, including a spectacular diving stop in the 80th minute that prevented a UNH equalizer.
Cota Collects Multiple Weekly Awards
UMass senior goalkeeper Emily Cota collected multiple weekly awards following her performance against Boston University and New Hampshire. She was tabbed Atlantic 10 and UMass Athlete of the Week and was named to the CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll for Division I Women's Soccer.
Seeing her first action of the 2012 season, Cota posted back-to-back shutouts to help the Minutewomen to a pair of wins and made a total of 14 saves, seven in each contest at Boston University and vs. New Hampshire. The Minutewomen defeated the Terriers, 1-0, and followed up with a 2-0 win over the Wildcats.
The shutouts were Cota's 17th and 18th of her UMass career, moving her within one of the No. 5 all-time mark in program history.
Mattsson Named UMass Athlete Of The Week
Sophomore Moa Mattsson was named the UMass Athlete of the Week on Aug. 27, becoming the first Minutewoman to earn a weekly award this season.
Mattsson scored two goals, including the game-winner in UMass' first victory of 2012, at Bryant on Aug. 22. The first of her two tallies, which came just 93 seconds apart, was a beautiful strike from 35 yards out to help down the Bulldogs, 3-2.
Youth Is Served
Eight of UMass' 11 starters against UCLA in the season opener were either first or second-year players for the Minutewomen. Four of the eight--Rebecca Sverrisdóttir, Madison Smith, Jen Coppola and Georgia Gibson --are true freshmen.
Freshman Jackie Bruno also saw her first collegiate action, playing 14 minutes as a reserve.
A Formidable Schedule
In its first seven matches to open the 2012 season, UMass faced five teams that either earned rankings or received votes in the NSCAA Preseason Poll.
The Minutewomen began with #6 UCLA and hosted (RV) Harvard on Aug. 31.
UMass faced preseason-ranked #3 Wake Forest and #22 Virginia Tech in Winston Salem on the weekend of Sept. 7-9 and defeated preseason #23 Boston University on Sept. 14.
Three of UMass' four setbacks thus far have come against ranked foes, two of the three were by one-goal margins (2-1 vs. #6 UCLA and 1-0 vs. #17 Wake Forest).
Cota, enters her final year at UMass coming off her best season of her career to-date. In 2011, Cota posted a record of 12-4-1 with 10 shutouts, good for sixth in program history for shutouts in a single season and most by a individual since Briana Scurry in 1993. She logged a 0.82 goals-against average and a .874 save percentage on her way to NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region, All-New England and All-Atlantic 10 recognitions.
Currently, Cota is sixth all-time in program history with 18 career shutouts, one away from tying Kelly Tuller (1978-80). She ranks fifth in career saves, as well, with 254.
After winning two championships at Northeastern (a CAA tournament title in 2008 and a regular season crown in 2009, Stephanie Gordon saw action in five games in net, drawing four starts in her first season with the Minutewomen in 2011. She posted a record of 2-1-1, including one shutout, and made nine saves in her UMass debut, a 2-1 triumph over New Hampshire. Gordon left Northeastern as the program's career leader in goals-against average (1.09) and earned 2009 All-CAA Second Team and 2008 CAA All-Tournament Team recognition.
In the 2-1 loss to #6 UCLA, Gordon matched her career high with 11 saves, a mark she had previously set against Hofstra while at Northeastern on Oct. 31, 2009.
She bested that career high in the following match, stopping 16 shots at Bryant.
Deep On Defense
Despite graduating 2011 all-region defender Meghan Collins, UMass returns a bulk of talent on defense, some who will see action in the midfield this season.
The Minutewomen bring back five defenders who played in 18 or more games last season.
Among those five, co-captains Jess Howe and Lauren Skesavage were two of five UMass players who started all 21 games last fall. Howe has missed just two matches in her three-plus collegiate seasons for a total of 58 career starts. Skesavage has played and stared 47 of 48 possible matches in her career thus far with the Minutewomen.
As a team, UMass posted 11 shutouts in 2011, including five consecutive, for the most clean sheets by a Minutewomen squad since 1997.
UMass' group of seven sophomores features four players who started 11+ games and appeared in 17 or more of the team's 21 contests last season as freshmen.
Returning leading scorer Tori Sousa posted 12 points as a freshman on four goals and four assists, tying for the team lead in helpers. Sousa posted a team-high nine points in A-10 play (3g, 3a, 2 gwg) last season en route to Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honors.
Classmate Moa Mattsson is second to Sousa among scorers returning with six points (1g, 4a) as a rookie in 2011. Mattsson, who started all 21 matches last fall, collected multiple postseason accolades, including NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region, Atlantic 10 All-Conference and Atlantic 10 All-Rookie honors.
The Matz Era At UMass
UMass is 26-20-2 (.563) over head coach Ed Matz' first two-plus seasons, including a record of 11-6-1 (.639) in Atlantic 10 matches and a trip to the A-10 final in 2011.
In just two year's time, the squad jumped over 200 spots in the RPI, finishing 2011 with a #46 ranking after concluding the 2009 season at #257.
Under his direction, UMass players have earned nine All-Atlantic 10 honors, five all-region accolades and three All-New England selections.
Matz is 125-111 -27 all-time as a women's head coach, with an overall record (men & women) of 208-185-43.
Home Sweet Home
UMass is 228-71-12 (.813) all-time at home with a 50-40-3 (.553) mark at Rudd Field.
The Minutewomen posted an 8-2-1 home record in 2011, including eight shutouts and a victory over #20 Boston University.
UMass will open Atlantic 10 play at home vs. Dayton on Friday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m., a rematch of the 2011 A-10 championship game.