AMHERST, Mass. -
The UMass women's soccer team will begin its quest for the program's sixth Atlantic 10 Championship as it opens Atlantic 10 Tournament play on Thursday, Nov. 1, in Kingston, R.I. As the No. 7 seed in the tournament, the Minutewomen will face No. 2 Dayton in the first round at 5 p.m. at the URI Soccer Complex. UMass is currently 9-9-1 on the season, while the Flyers, the defending A-10 champions, are 13-4-1 on the year.
UMass In The Tournament
UMass is making its 13th appearance in the Atlantic 10 tournament, its fourth consecutive. The Minutewomen are 11-8 all-time in the A-10 postseason and are coming off a trip to the championship game last fall. The Minutewomen, the No. 4 seed in 2011, defeated No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure, 3-1, and upset No. 1 La Salle, 1-0, before falling to Dayton in the final, 5-1.
The Minutewomen last won the Atlantic 10 title in 1997, 1-0 over George Washington. It was UMass' fifth A-10 title (four tournament championships, one regular season title).
UMass' seniors are the program's first class since the 2000 season to have played in the conference tournament all four years.
New Tournament Format
With the addition of Butler and VCU, the Atlantic 10 Tournament has expanded to an eight-team field this season, as opposed to the six-team field of recent years, where the top-two seeds earned first round byes.
The winners of Dayton-UMass and VCU-Saint Joseph's will meet in the second semifinal contest on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., with the first match set for 5:00 p.m.
Against The Flyers
UMass is 4-14 all-time against Dayton since the programs first met in 1996. During the regular season, the Flyers came away with a 4-0 victory over the Minutewomen on a rain-soaked Rudd Field.
In 2011, UMass and Dayton squared off in the Atlantic 10 Championship match with the Flyers claiming the title with a 5-1 win.
The Minutewomen's last victory over the Flyers came in Amherst on Oct. 12, 2008, by a 1-0 margin.
Mattsson Earns Second All-A-10 Nod, Named Academic All-Conference
Sophomore Moa Mattsson was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference first team, while also being recognized for her work in the classroom as a member of the Academic All-Conference squad.
Mattsson is just the fifth Minutewoman in program history to collect All-A-10 accolades in each of her first two seasons, earning a second team selection as a freshman in 2011.
Mattsson, who was selected to the first team as a forward, currently leads UMass in scoring with 27 points on 11 goals and five assists. Her 27 points on the year are the most by a Minutewoman since Emma Kurowski, UMass' all-time points leader, recorded 32 as a senior in 1999 on her way to Atlantic 10 Player of the Year recognition.
The regular season match vs. Duquesne marked Mattsson's sixth of the year with three or more points as she tallied two goals in that contest.
Off the field, Mattsson, an Engineering major, boasts a 3.96 grade point average.
First Goal Crucial
UMass is 9-0 when scoring the first goal of the match this season and 0-9-1 when its opponent notches the first tally.
Six of the Minutewomen's nine victories have come via shutout, while the squad has been held off the board in seven of nine setbacks. Five of the nine losses were by one-goal margins.
Nine different players have combined for UMass' 25 goals on the season. Five of the nine logged their first career tallies this year.
Having surpassed her freshman year total of six points just two matches into the season, sophomore Moa Mattsson currently leads the Minutewomen in scoring through 19 matches with 27 points and notched her first of the season in a 2-1 loss to #6 UCLA in the teams' season opener.
D'Arcy Emerging As Scoring Threat
After scoring her first collegiate goal in last year's Atlantic 10 final, sophomore Alyssa D'Arcy has become a key offensive contributor as of late, currently ranking second on the squad with eight points.
D'Arcy who has started each of the past four matches, her first four starts of her career, has six points over the past three games. She scored twice in UMass' 4-0 victory over George Washington and dished two assists in the regular season finale at Duquesne.
Where They Stack Up Nationally
Out of 330 Division I women's soccer programs in the nation, UMass ranks 23rd as a team in save percentage (.852).
Moa Mattsson is 10th nationally in game winning goals with five. She is also in the top-50 for total goals (38th) and total points (43rd).
Minutewomen Among The A-10 Leaders
Moa Mattsson is tied for second in game-winning goals (5), tied for second in goals (11), third in points (27), fourth in points per-game (1.42), tied for fifth in goals per-game (.58) and tied for eighth in assists (5).
Sophomore Alyssa D'Arcy ranks seventh in assists per-game (.33) with four in 12 matches.
Goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon is first in the Atlantic 10 in saves per-game (7.75) and third in save percentage (.873).
Last Time Out
Posting its highest goals total since 2010, the UMass put in two in the first half and three in the second to down Duquesne, 5-2, in the teams' regular season finale on Oct. 28.
Sophomore Moa Mattsson provided all of the first half offense, staking UMass to a 2-0 lead with her 10th and 11th tallies of the season. Mattsson headed in a pass from junior Grace Coombs in the 21st minute and later put in a rebound from her own shot at the 38:11 mark.
Coming out of the intermission, Duquesne halved their deficit with a 25-yard strike by Stephanie Colon 50:35 into the contest. However, less than two minutes later, sophomore Tori Sousa regained the two-goal cushion for the Minutewomen. Sousa sent a shot into the right corner of the net off a feed from sophomore Alyssa D'Arcy.
D'Arcy also set up UMass' fourth of the afternoon with a through ball to sophomore Emily Benjamin who lofted it over the head of Dukes' netminder Ashley Szalwinski at 70:06.
Freshman Jackie Bruno made it a 5-1 margin with her third of the season in the 74th minute.
Barbie Rohm completed the scoring for Duquesne in the final seconds of the match, putting in a rebound at 89:23.
The Dukes finished with an 18-14 shot advantage, while UMass led in corner kicks, 5-4. Senior goalkeeper Emily Cota logged two saves for the Minutewomen.
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 Collects Second Weekly Honor Of The 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.
The sophomore scored the game winner in each of the prior four of the Minutewomen's victories and logged her fourth match of the year with three points or more against the Rams. The Uppsala, Sweden native now sits tied for eighth all-time in UMass history for game-winning goals in a single season, as well.
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 in non-conference play came 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, entered 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 291.
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 returned a bulk of talent on defense this fall.
The Minutewomen brought 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 76 career starts. Skesavage has played and stared 58 of 59 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 31-25-3 (.551) over head coach Ed Matz' first two-plus seasons, including a record of 14-9-2 (.604) 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 10 All-Atlantic 10 honors, five all-region accolades and three All-New England selections.
Matz is 131-116-28 all-time as a women's head coach, with an overall record (men & women) of 212-190-44.