AMHERST, Mass. -
The UMass women's soccer team concludes its four-match homestand this Saturday, Oct. 6, with a contest against Rhode Island at 1 p.m. on Rudd Field. Coming off its first Atlantic 10 victory of the season vs. Xavier, the Minutewomen are 6-6-0 overall (1-1-0 A-10). In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Saturday will mark UMass' annual Think Pink Game, which will begin with a Relay for Life Walk with Sam the Minuteman from the Student Union Building starting at 12:30 p.m.
Scouting Rhode Island
Rhode Island enters Saturday's match at UMass with a record of 7-5-1, having lost two in a row, both of its Atlantic 10 contests. The Rams fell to Dayton, 7-2, and to Xavier, 1-0, last weekend.
Ashley Evangelista leads the Rams with 12 points on five goals and two assists, including three game winners. Jennifer Barrientos follows with four goals and three assists for 11 points.
Reilly Lindsey has started eight of 13 matches for URI in net, playing a total of 757:27. She holds a 1.90 goals-against average and a .529 save percentage with a record of 2-5-1.
Against The Rams
UMass is 16-8 all-time against Rhode Island including an 8-3 mark at home in Amherst. The Minutewomen have taken two of the past three meetings with the Rams, both on Rudd Field.
UMass is 107-68-7 (.607) all-time in Atlantic 10 matches and posted its highest conference wins total in 10 years last season with a record of 6-2-1.
First Goal Crucial
UMass is 6-0 when scoring the first goal of the match this season and 0-6 when its opponent notches the first tally.
Five of the Minutewomen's six victories have come via shutout, while the squad has been held off the board in five of six setbacks. Three of the six losses were by one-goal margins.
Where They Stack Up Nationally
Out of 330 Division I women's soccer programs in the nation, UMass ranks 16th as a team in save percentage (.874).
Moa Mattsson is 11th nationally in game winning goals with four.
Emily Cota is 15th in the nation in save percentage (.881).
Minutewomen Among The A-10 Leaders
Goalkeeper Emily Cota leads the Atlantic 10 in shutouts (4), shutouts per-game (0.67) and is third in save percentage (.881).
Goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon is first in the Atlantic 10 in saves per-game (9.83) and is second in total saves with 59.
Moa Mattsson is tied for first in game-winning goals (4), fifth in goals (6), sixth in goals per-game (0.50), fourth in points (14) and sixth in points per-game (1.17).
Five different players have combined for UMass' 11 goals on the season. Four of the five all logged their first career tallies.
Having already surpassed her freshman year total of six points, sophomore Moa Mattsson currently leads the Minutewomen in scoring through 12 matches with 14 points and tallied her first of the season in a 2-1 loss to #6 UCLA in the teams' season opener.
Last Time Out
Dominating possession throughout the match, the UMass women's soccer team used a goal in each half to roll to a 2-0 win over Xavier on Sept. 30 on Rudd Field.
UMass wasted no time putting pressure on the Xavier defense, with its first corner kick coming less than two minutes into the contest. Moments later, junior Grace Coombs played a ball over the top to sophomore Moa Mattsson in behind the Musketeers' back line. Uncontested, Mattsson carried towards goal and drove a shot past Katie Markesbery at the 3:17 mark for her team-leading sixth of the season.
The Minutewomen put together a host of scoring chances in the opening half, but were denied by Markesbery on several occasions, including a blast from Mattsson in the 26th minute.
Following the intermission, UMass found the back of the net once more. With the advantage on a delayed whistle, Mattsson played a ball across the 18 to sophomore Emily Benjamin for a quick through ball to Jen Coppola who connected for her second tally of the season at 78:13.
The Minutewomen limited Xavier to just one shot on net in the entire contest, which was easily grabbed by senior Emily Cota in her fourth shutout of the year. Overall, the Musketeers had just four attempts to UMass' 24 shots and did not record a corner kick in the contest, while the Minutewomen registered seven. Markesbery finished with eight saves for Xavier. Fouls were 9-5 against UMass.
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' five 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).
UCLA, currently ranked #3 in the latest poll, remains undefeated at 9-0-2. UMass is one of four teams to score against the Bruins as the squad has allowed four goals through 11 matches.
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 an 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 fifth all-time in program history with 20 career shutouts, one away from tying Kristin Walker (2004-07) for fourth. She ranks fourth in career saves, as well, with 277.
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 51 of 52 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 28-22-2 (.558) over head coach Ed Matz' first two-plus seasons, including a record of 12-7-1 (.625) 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 127-113-27 all-time as a women's head coach, with an overall record (men & women) of 210-187-43.
Home Sweet Home
UMass is 230-72-12 (.819) all-time at home with a 52-41-3 (.557) 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 travel to the Philadelphia area to play Saint Joseph's and Temple on Friday and Sunday, Oct. 12 and 14.