AMHERST, Mass. -
In search of its third and fourth straight wins, the UMass women's soccer team heads to Philadelphia this weekend for a pair of Atlantic 10 matches, with a contest against Saint Joseph's at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Finnesey Field and Temple at 1 p.m. on Oct. 14 at Ambler Sports Complex. Coming off its second Atlantic 10 victory of the season vs. Rhode Island, the Minutewomen are 7-6-0 overall (2-1-0 A-10).
Scouting Saint Joseph's
Saint Joseph's enters Friday's match against UMass with a record of 6-5-2, winless in their last two games, both of Atlantic 10 contests. The Hawks tied Duquesne, 0-0, and fell to Saint Bonaventure, 1-0, last weekend.
Mo Hawkins leads the Hawks with 11 points on five goals and one assist, including three game winners. Nicole King follows with two goals and two assists for six points.
Christine Neal has started ten of 13 matches for Saint Joe's in net, playing a total of 1232:30. She holds a 1.31 goals-against average and a .802 save percentage with a record of 6-5-2.
Against The Hawks
UMass is 11-2-0 all-time against Saint Joseph's including an 5-1 mark away at Finnesey Field. The Minutewomen have won the last four matches against the Hawks, including the last two in Philadelphia.
UMass last faced Saint Joe's on Oct. 24, 2010, a 1-0 overtime victory for the Minutewomen at Rudd Field.
Temple enters the weekend with a record of 4-8-2, after splitting their last two games, both of its Atlantic 10 contests. The Hawks fell to Saint Bonaventure, 1-0, and defeated Duquesne, 1-0, in double overtime last weekend.
Kate Yurkovic leads the Owls with four points on two goals, including a game winner.
Tara Murphy has started eight of 14 matches for Temple in net, playing a total of 706:51. She holds a 1.15 goals-against average and a .855 save percentage with a record of 2-4-1. Shauni Kerkhoff has started the other six matches, playing 614:55. She holds a 0.59 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage with a record of 2-4-1.
Against The Owls
UMass is 12-3-1 all-time against Temple including an 5-2-1 mark away at Temple Stadium. The Minutewomen have won 3 of the past 4 meetings with the Owls and tied their last match in Philadelphia.
The last time these teams met, UMass defeated Temple, 5-0 on Oct. 22, 2010 in Amherst.
In The Atlantic 10
UMass is 108-68-7 (.609) 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 7-0 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 seven 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 18th as a team in save percentage (.868).
Moa Mattsson is fourth nationally in game winning goals with five.
Emily Cota is 25th in the nation in save percentage (.867).
Minutewomen Among The A-10 Leaders
Goalkeeper Emily Cota is third in the Atlantic 10 in shutouts (4), second in shutouts per-game (0.57) and fourth in save percentage (.867).
Goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon is first in the Atlantic 10 in saves per-game (9.83) and is fifth in total saves with 59.
Moa Mattsson is tied for first in game-winning goals (5), fourth in goals (7), fourth in goals per-game (0.54), fourth in points (17) and fourth in points per-game (1.31).
Seven different players have combined for UMass' 14 goals on the season. Five of the seven 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 13 matches with 17 points and scored her first of the season in a 2-1 loss to #6 UCLA in the teams' season opener.
Last Time Out
Matching its highest goal output of the 2012 season, the UMass women's soccer team posted three first half goals to down Rhode Island, 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at Rudd Field.
UMass wasted no time getting on the board as junior Grace Coombs' strike from 25 yards out found the back of the net just 31 seconds into the match.
After URI managed level the score at 1-1 in the 18th minute, Mattsson headed down sophomore Tori Sousa's corner kick from close range for her team-leading seventh tally of the season. UMass closed out the scoring in 32nd minute as sophomore Emily Benjamin finished off a cross from Sousa, her first collegiate goal.
Cota logged two saves and picked up the win (5-2-0). Shots were even in the contest at 11-11, while Rhode Island led in corners, 4-3. Fouls were 16-13 against the Minutewomen.
Mattsson Earns Second Weekly Honor Of Season
Moa Mattsson was tabbed the UMass Athlete of the Week on Oct. 9 after scoring the game-winning goal and notching an assist in a 3-1 win over Rhode Island, marking her second time collecting the honor on the season.
The sophomore has now scored the game winner in each of the last four of the Minutewomen's victories and logged her fourth match of the year with three points or more against the Rams.
Her game winner was her fifth of the year, which now sits tied for eighth all-time in UMass history for game-winning goals in a single season.
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.
Mattsson was named player of the week for the second time this season after scoring the game-winning goal and notching an assist in a 3-1 victory over Rhode Island on October 6th.
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 five goals through 13 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 279.
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 70 career starts. Skesavage has played and stared 52 of 53 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 29-22-2 (.566) over head coach Ed Matz' first two-plus seasons, including a record of 13-7-1 (.643) 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 128-113-27 all-time as a women's head coach, with an overall record (men & women) of 211-187-43.
Home Sweet Home
UMass is 231-72-12 (.752) all-time at home with a 53-41-3 (.562) 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 come home to play Charlotte and George Washington on Friday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 21. Friday's contest is set for a 4 p.m. start.