AMHERST, Mass. -
Riding a seven-game unbeaten streak, the UMass women's soccer team will begin a four-match home stand, its last of the season, this Friday and Sunday, Oct. 14 and 16, as the squad will play host to Fordham and La Salle. The Minutewomen (8-2-2, 2-0-1 A-10) and Rams are currently tied third in the Atlantic 10 standings and will square off at 4 p.m. on Friday. Sunday's contest against the first-place undefeated Explorers, UMass' Think Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Game, will kick off at 1 p.m. and will air locally on live television on CBS 3 Now.
Fordham comes to UMass on Friday with a record of 7-5-2 on the year and sits at 2-1-1 in Atlantic 10 play. The Rams are coming off a one-goal loss to nationally-ranked Dayton, 2-1, and previously defeated Xavier (2-1) and Temple (1-0) after opening the conference slate with a scoreless draw against Saint Joseph's
After playing their last five straight at home, the Rams will be on the road for their next four, starting with Friday's contest against the Minutewomen. Fordham is currently 1-4-1 on the road this year.
Kristina Maksuti leads Fordham in scoring with 23 points on nine goals and five assists over 12 games, including four game-winners. Annie Worden follows with 13 on five goals and three assists and Mariella Romano has 10 points on the year courtesy of four goals and two assists.
Among three goalkeepers who have seen action for the Rams, Rachel Suther has played the bulk of the minutes, a total of 1047:38 over 12 matches. She is 5-5-2 with three shutouts and holds a 1.72 goals-against average and a .726 save percentage.
Scouting La Salle
La Salle will play at Rhode Island on Friday before coming to Amherst on Sunday and enters the weekend undefeated on the year with a record of 12-0-1. The Explorers were one of the top teams receiving votes in the latest NSCAA Coaches' Poll.
La Salle began the season with 11 consecutive shutouts before its streak was snapped in a 2-1 overtime win over #19 Dayton last Friday. The Explorers followed up with their 12th shutout of the season in their most recent match, a 5-0 win over Xavier that capped off a string of six straight home games for the squad.
Helping La Salle outscore its opponents 30-1 this season, Kelsey Haycook and Renee Washington have contributed 11 and eight goals, respectively. Haycook has a total of 26 points on the year and three game-winning goals, while Washington has 19 points and four game-winners.
In net the Explorers have Melissa Sanger who currently leads the nation in goals-against average (0.076) and save percentage (.976). She has played all 1182:13 minutes and has logged 12 shutouts.
Against The Rams and Explorers
UMass holds a 12-3 all-time mark against Fordham since the series between the teams began in 1995, though the Rams have won two of the past three meetings.
Last season the Minutewomen defeated Fordham, 1-0, on the road to clinch a berth into the Atlantic 10 tournament. Current senior Deanna Colarossi scored the lone goal of that match in the 18th minute with Jess Howe picking up an assist. Emily Cota logged the shutout in net and made five saves.
UMass enters Sunday's match with a 7-8 all-time record against La Salle since the series began in 1996. The Explorers have taken eight of the past nine meetings, including the past five straight. The Minutewomen's last win against La Salle came on the road in 2005, a 2-1 double overtime victory.
Wear Pink On Sunday
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the UMass women's soccer team will be doing its part to promote the cause, as squad will hold a Breast Cancer Awareness Game this Sunday, Oct. 16 vs. La Salle.
The event will begin with Relay for Life signups at the Student Union Building at noon, followed by a walk to Rudd Field with Sam the Minuteman for the 1 p.m. kickoff.
At the field, those in attendance will have the opportunity to enter raffles and pick up literature on breast cancer and prevention.
After going 1-0-1 last weekend on the road, the UMass women's soccer team is now unbeaten in its last seven games at 6-0-1. This marks the longest unbeaten streak since the team started the year at 6-0-1 in 2007.
At 8-2-2 on the year, the Minutewomen have already matched last year's win total with six games remaining in the regular season. UMass went 8-11-0 last year, 5-4-0 in the Atlantic 10.
The Minutewomen last won nine games in 2007 (9-6-2) and last won 10 or more in 2006 (11-6-0).
UMass' 2-0-1 start to Atlantic 10 play is its best since 2001 when the team began the A-10 slate 7-0-0.
The Minutewomen's winning percentage of .750 is in the top-30 nationally, currently tied for 29th in all of Division I.
Collins Captures Weekly Award
Senior co-captain Meghan Collins was named co-UMass Athlete of the Week on Oct 11, becoming the fourth member of the Minutewomen to earn the award this fall.
Collins factored in both goals of UMass' 2-1 victory on the road at Charlotte on Oct. 7, the squad's first over the 49ers since the teams' first ever meeting back in 2005. She assisted on the first goal of the contest and later broke the 1-1 tie with the game-winner on a header in the 78th minute. Collins also played all 110 minutes of the Minutewomen's 1-1 draw at Saint Louis on Oct. 9.
Cota Strong Since Return
Seeing her first action since her 2010 season ended with a leg injury, junior Emily Cota has been sharp in her return to the pitch in 2011.
She has appeared in the past eight games, all starts, and holds a 0.48 goals-against average with five shutouts. Cota boasts .913 save percentage, stopping 42 of 46 shots she has faced.
Entering this week's action, Cota ranked second in the Atlantic 10 in goals-against average, save percentage, shutouts and shutouts per-game. In the most recent national statistics report, she was ranked seventh in the nation in save percentage and 11th in goals-against average.
On Oct. 3, Cota was tabbed the UMass Athlete of the Week after recording two shutouts in the previous week and making a total of nine saves combined in wins over Dartmouth and Rhode Island.
On Oct. 1, UMass collected its fifth straight shutout at home in its A-10 opener vs. Rhode Island by a 2-0 margin. This matched the longest streak since the team had eight consecutive shutouts in 1996. The Minutewomen saw the shutout streak come to an end at Charlotte on Oct. 7, ending at 481:10 straight minutes between opponent goals.
From Oct. 7, 2001 to Oct. 21, 2001, UMass logged five straight clean sheets. The program record for consecutive shutouts was set back in 1982 when the Minutewomen held their opponents scoreless for nine straight games.
With her fourth shutout of the season junior Emily Cota entered the program's top-10 for career shutouts and she now sits in ninth with 11 in her three years with the Minutewomen.
Cota also ranks in the top-10 for career saves, currently seventh with 185.
Cota's five shutouts this season already equals her previous career high total from 2010 when she appeared in 15 matches, starting 13.
The UMass women's soccer team broke in to the NSCAA regional rankings for the first time since 2006 back on Sept. 20, earning a No. 9 ranking. The Minutewomen moved up to No. 8 the following week and continued their climb, going up to No. 5 in the Mid-Atlantic Region where they currently sit in this week's poll.
With the regions being divided by conference affiliation, the Mid-Atlantic Region includes the Atlantic 10, Ivy League, CAA and the Patriot League.
Three other A-10 foes are all ranked in the region. Dayton, La Salle and Richmond are first, third and sixth, respectively.
In the most recent RPI report released by the NCAA, UMass is #68 out of 322 Division I teams. Over the past two seasons (head coach Ed Matz's tenure with the Minutewomen), the squad has jumped nearly 200 spots in the RPI, concluding the 2009 season at #257.
A Balanced Attack
Through 12 games, 12 different players have tallied points for the Minutewomen, including eight different goal scorers.
Senior Julie Morrissey has scored five of UMass' 15 goals through the team's first 12 matches is second on the squad with 10 points. She entered the week sixth in the Atlantic 10 in goals and goals per-game.
The transfer from Cincinnati has already surpassed her goal and point totals from last season with the Bearcats. She posted a career-high 16 points on seven goals and two assists as a freshman.
Morrissey logged her third career multi-goal game, scoring twice against Elon on Sept. 2. She earned her 10th career game-winner in that contest, as well.
UMass Takes Down Nationally-Ranked BU
Sophomore Grace Coombs' first collegiate goal was all the offense UMass needed in a 1-0 upset of #20 Boston University on Sunday, Sept. 11, at Rudd Field. Strong team defense helped the Minutewomen to their first win over a ranked team since defeating #15 Connecticut, 2-1 on Sept. 19, 2006.
The Terriers had opened the year at 5-0-1 with a win and a draw against two top-10 teams prior to the weekend's action and had been ranked in three national polls.
The victory over BU was the first for UMass against the Terriers since a 3-1 victory on Aug. 31, 2006 in Amherst.
Coombs Honored After BU Win
Sophomore defender Grace Coombs was named co-Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week and UMass Athlete of the Week on Sept. 12 after scoring her first career goal, the game-winner vs. No. 20 Boston University.
Stephanie Gordon as the second member of the squad to collect a UMass Athlete of the Week nod this fall.
Coombs, who made the first two starts of her career during the week of Sept. 5-11, at Harvard and against BU. She scored the lone goal of the match in the 23rd minute against the nationally-ranked Terriers.
Coombs also played a key roll in the team defensive efforts that resulted in the shutout of BU, who had out-scored its opponents 12-6 heading into the match and out-shot the Minutewomen, 22-3.
Gordon Earns Award
Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon was named the UMass Athlete of the Week on Aug. 29.
The previous week, on Aug. 23, Gordon helped the Minutewomen win a season opener for the first time since 2007, making nine saves and backstopping the squad to a 2-1 victory at New Hampshire. The match was Gordon's first in nearly two years, as the Northeastern transfer was just two shy of her career high in saves.
Sophomore Grace Coombs made her first UMass appearance off the bench in the squad's 0-0 draw vs. Fairfield. She started her first match at Harvard on Sept. 9 and scored her first career goal against Boston University on Sept. 11.
Sophomore Jen Houtmann netted her first career goal at UNH, which proved to be the game-winner.
Jensen tallied her first career assist and Julie Morrissey registered her first goal as a Minutewoman against the Wildcats, as well, bringing her career total to 15 after playing three seasons at Cincinnati.
Junior Stephanie Gordon collected her first shutout at UMass against Fairfield on Aug. 30 and made three saves. She now has 14 career shutouts combined between Northeastern and UMass.
Senior Erin McGafigan scored her first UMass goal on a penalty kick at Harvard on Sept. 9.
Freshman Kristen Gargiulo made her first career start on Sept.11 vs. Boston University.
Freshman Moa Mattsson notched her first career goal with just 2:17 remaining in regulation to give UMass a 1-0 win over Maine on Sept. 16.
Freshman Tori Sousa tallied her first career point against Brown on Sept. 22, logging the assist on the game-winning goal in overtime off a corner kick. Sousa then made her first career start on Oct. 1 vs. Rhode Island and logged another assist in that contest, as well.
Sophomore Lauren Skesavage notched her first career goal on Oct. 9 at Saint Louis, helping the Minutewomen come from behind for the draw with her tally in the 72nd minute.
Though UMass lost a key component to its offense, 2010 NSCAA All-Region midfielder Therese Smith, to graduation, the Minutewomen bring back two of their top three point-getters from last fall in co-captains Deanna Colarossi and Meghan Collins.
Colarossi led UMass in scoring in her first season with the team in 2010, posting nine goals and two assists for 20 points on the way to an All-Atlantic 10 second team honor. Her nine goals marked the highest total by a UMass player since 2004 when Britt Canfield scored 11, while Colarossi's point total was the most for a Minutewoman since Canfield had 26 in 2007.
Colarossi finished in the top-10 in the Atlantic 10 for points (10th), points per-game (10th), goals (8th) and goals per-game (8th) last season.
Collins, who tallied the first three goals of her career last fall, was third in scoring for UMass in 2010. She finished her junior campaign with nine points on three goals and three assists, including two game-winners.
Collins played in 56 of 58 possible games in her three previous seasons and has been a regular starter since her freshman year in 2008. Last fall she started all 19 games, helping to bring her current total to 41 consecutive starts and 47 consecutive games played.
Howe has started every contest she has played in her collegiate career, having missed just two matches due to injury over the past two seasons heading into 2011. She tallied two assists last fall for the first two points of her career.
Moore started every possible game in her first year at UMass and collected All-Atlantic 10 Honorable Mention and Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team recognition last season. She contributed two assists, as well.
Skesavage played in all 19 games in her rookie year in 2010 and made her first career start on Sept. 3 against Vermont. She tallied three assists, including two in A-10 play.
Welcome To Amherst
In addition to co-captain Deanna Colarossi, who transferred in to UMass from Oakland prior to the 2010 season, head coach Ed Matz has brought six more transfers into the fold in 2011.
Midfielder Erin McGaffigan and goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon both joined the Minutewomen this past spring after previously having played for Matz at Northeastern. Gordon was an All-CAA second team selection in 2009 and helped the Huskies to a CAA tournament championship as a freshman in 2008 and a regular season title in 2009. She left NU as the program's all-time leader in career goals-against average (1.09) in addition to holding single season records for shutouts (7 in 2008) and goals-against average (0.96 in 2009).
Senior Julie Morrissey comes to UMass after three seasons playing in the BIG EAST conference for Cincinnati. Morrissey was among the Bearcats' top scorers in each of her three seasons, including leading the squad with 16 points on seven goals and two assists as a freshman, becoming the first freshman to lead Cincinnati in points since 1993. Eleven of her 18 career goals have been game-winners.
Cecilia Jensen played at Elon as a freshman in 2009 and totaled four points on one goal and two assists in eight games with the Phoenix. She was a high school teammate of current UMass freshman Kristen Gargiulo.
Erin Ronan, a sophomore transfer from Saint Peter's, will add depth for the Minutewomen at the goalkeeper position. Ronan started nine games for the Peahens in 2010 and made 38 saves.
Defender Grace Coombs comes to Amherst from across the pond. The UK native played club soccer for the Charlton Athletic women's team and helped the squad to promotion back into the Premier League National Division this past season.
This summer Gargiulo, Landers and Sousa helped FC Stars of Massachusetts capture the Region I championship and advance to the National Finals in Arizona.
Mattsson Honored By A-10
UMass women's soccer freshman midfielder Moa Mattsson was selected to the 2011 Preseason Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team. Current junior goalkeeper Emily Cota was a previous preseason all-rookie honoree in 2009.
Mattsson, who comes to UMass from, Uppsala, Sweden, is a member of the U19 Swedish National Team and made her international debut in a 4-0 win over Slovakia in September 2010. She played club soccer for Danmarks IF, as well.
Capinera Joins Staff At UMass
Former St. John's goalkeeper, Rebecca Capinera has joined the UMass women's soccer staff as an assistant coach. She comes to UMass from Marist and has previously coached in the Atlantic 10 as a member of the St. Bonaventure staff.
Capinera was the head of goalkeeper development for the Red Foxes and was responsible for the team's video breakdown and exchange. She also assisted with recruiting, practice plans, travel, summer camps and fundraising.
Previously Capinera spent two seasons as the first assistant coach at St. Bonaventure and worked with the Bonnies' goalkeepers, helping the squad to consecutive A-10 Tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010, and two 10-plus win seasons.
Capinera was a three-year letterwinner in goal for the Red Storm and collected three BIG EAST Academic Scholar-Athlete honors, while finishing with over 100 career saves.