AMHERST, Mass. -
After the squad clinched its third consecutive Atlantic 10 Tournament berth last Sunday with a win over St. Bonaventure, the UMass women's soccer team will be looking to secure a first round bye in the conference tournament next week in Dayton, Ohio, when the Minutewomen play at George Washington and Richmond this weekend to wrap up the regular season. UMass, currently sitting at 11-3-2 overall, 5-1-1 in conference matches, will face the Colonials on Friday at 3 p.m. and the Spiders Sunday at 1 p.m. The Minutewomen are currently tied for second in the A-10 standings with Richmond.
By virtue of holding tiebreaker scenarios over Charlotte, Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure, UMass clinched a berth into the Atlantic 10 Tournament for a third consecutive season.
Heading into this weekend, the Minutewomen have the opportunity to control their own destiny as far as where the squad will be seeded. With two wins, UMass would clinch the second seed and a first round bye at A-10s.
Scouting George Washington
Friday George Washington and UMass face off in Washington, D.C., as the Colonials will be looking to better their 5-10-2 record this season. GW has struggled at home with a 2-7 record at Mount Vernon Field. This weekend the Colonials finish up a five game home stand, where the team has a 1-2 record so far.
Last Saturday, GW dropped a 1-0 decision to Richmond.
Midfielder Sierra Smidinger paces the Colonials in scoring with four goals this season and, with an assist to her credit, has contributed nine points.
Not far behind in goals scored is Adriana Moya. The junior forward has three goals and also has three assists for nine points.
Molly Bruh boasts a team-leading four assists on the season and has scored one goal.
Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Rowe has seen the bulk of the minutes for the Colonials this fall. The senior holds a goals-against average of 1.57. Rowe has also totaled 111 saves, contributing to a .822 save percentage. She is 4-9-2 on the season with four shutouts.
The A-10 regular season ends this Sunday as two of the top teams in the conference standings square off in Richmond at Ukrop Park. The Spiders, who face Rhode Island this Friday evening, enter the weekend hoping to add to their undefeated 5-0-2 record at home this season.
Richmond is 5-0-1 in their last six games and has not lost since Sept. 30, A -10 setback to Duquesne.
Leading scorer for the Spiders and second in goals scored in the A-10 is sophomore forward, Becca Wann. Wann has 14 goals and six assists on the season for a conference-leading 34 points. She also paces the A-10 in game winning goals with six and is the leader in shots with 93.
Backstopping Richmond is goalkeeper senior Melissa Pacheco. She has let up just eight goals this season, for a .70 goals-against average. Pacheco also has 59 saves on the year for a .881 save percentage. The goalkeeper is 7-3-1 with six shutouts in her senior campaign.
Against The Colonials And The Spiders
In its series against George Washington, which began in 1981, UMass is 17-6-3 all time versus the Colonials with a mark of 3-4-1 on the road.
The last time these two teams met dates back to 2009 when the Minutewomen claimed a 1-0 victory over GW at Rudd Field.
Against Richmond, UMass is 2-7 all-time with a 0-4 record on the road against the Spiders.
The squads last met on Nov. 1, 2009, when the Minutewomen posted a 1-0 win at Rudd Field to secure a spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The win over Duquesne last Friday marked head coach Ed Matz's 200th of his college coaching career, combined men's and women's. He currently holds a record of 201-179-43.
In 11 seasons coaching Northeastern's women, Matz went 99-91-25 (.518).
As the head coach for the men's team at NU, he posted a mark of 83-74-16 (.526) in nine years.
Thus far at UMass, Matz is 19-14-2 since taking over in 2010.
Morrissey Rakes In Weekly Awards
Senior forward/midfielder Julie Morrissey earned two weekly honors on Monday as she was selected as the Co-Atlantic 10 Player of the Week and tabbed UMass Athlete of the Week. Morrissey is the sixth member of the Minutewomen to earn the UMass accolade this fall and is the third from the women's soccer program in three consecutive weeks. She was also selected as the SoccerSavings.com/New England Soccer News College Player of the Week this past Tuesday.
Morrissey scored both of the Minutewomen's goals in a 2-0-0 weekend. On Oct. 21 against Duquesne, she notched the game-winner in the 1-0 victory in the 30th minute and followed with another in the squad's second straight 1-0 win on Oct. 23 in the 58th minute against St. Bonaventure.
Tori Takes Two Weekly Honors
Freshman forward Tori Sousa earned a pair of weekly awards on Oct. 17 as she was tabbed the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week as well as co-UMass Athlete of the Week.
Sousa scored the first two goals of her career over the previous weekend, a 1-1-0 weekend for the Minutewomen in Atlantic 10 play, totaling four points. On Oct. 14, Sousa scored the eventual game-winner in a 2-0 victory over Fordham.
On Oct. 16, Sousa followed up by becoming just the second player to score on La Salle this season, giving UMass a 1-0 lead over the top-ranked defense in the country, though the Minutewomen eventually fell to the Explorers in overtime, 3-2.
Prior to its overtime loss to La Salle, UMass had posted its longest unbeaten streak since 1997, eight games, which lasted from Sept. 11 to Oct. 16 with a mark of 7-0-1.
The Minutewomen surpassed last year's win total with four games remaining in the regular season. UMass went 8-11-0 last year, 5-4-0 in the Atlantic 10.
At 11-3-2 on the season, UMass has now equaled the highest win total by the squad (11 in 2006, 2000 and 1999) since the Minutewomen posted 17 victories in 1997 and captured the Atlantic 10 title.
UMass' undefeated start to Atlantic 10 play (3-0-1) was 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 27th 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 12 games, all starts, and holds a 0.57 goals-against average with a career-high eight shutouts. Cota boasts a .905 save percentage, stopping 67 of 74 shots she has faced over 1108:49.
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 sixth in the nation in save percentage and 15th in goals-against average.
Cota logged her eighth clean sheet of the year on Oct. 23 against St. Bonaventure, the most by a Minutewoman since Danielle Dion had 9.5 shutouts in 1996.
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.
In total, UMass now has nine shutouts on the year, the most for the program since registering 12 in 1997.
With her fourth shutout of the season junior Emily Cota entered the program's top-10 for career shutouts and she now sits in seventh with 14 in her three years with the Minutewomen.
Cota also ranks in the top-10 for career saves, currently sixth with 210.
Cota's eight shutouts this season passes her previous career high total of five 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. Currently the squad is seventh.
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. La Salle, Dayton, Richmond are first second and fourth.
In the most recent RPI report released by the NCAA, UMass is #55 out of 322 Division I teams. Over the past two seasons (head coach Ed Matz's tenure with the Minutewomen), the squad has jumped over 200 spots in the RPI, concluding the 2009 season at #257.
A Balanced Attack
Through 16 games, 13 different players have tallied points for the Minutewomen, including nine different goal scorers.
Senior Julie Morrissey has scored seven of UMass' 21 goals through the team's first 16 matches and leads the squad with 14 points. She entered the week tied for ninth in the Atlantic 10 in goals and goals per-game.
The transfer from Cincinnati has 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.
Morrissey is tied for third in the conference in game-winning goals. It marks the highest total for the Mintuewomen in a single season since Emma Kurowski had four game-winners in 1997, which is tied for 10th all-time on the program's single season list.
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. She tallied the first two assists of her career vs. Fordham and vs. La Salle.
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. In back-to-back games, Sousa scored the first two goals of her career, beginning with the game-winner against Fordham on Oct. 14.
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.
Freshman Emily Benjamin tallied her first career assist on Oct. 21 at Duquesne on the game-winning goal by Morrissey.
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 45 consecutive starts and 51 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 came 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 came 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.