DAYTON, Ohio -
The UMass women's soccer team will be making its third straight appearance in the Atlantic 10 Tournament when the squad begins the 2011 postseason on Thursday evening at 5 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio. The Minutewomen, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, will be facing No. 5 St. Bonaventure on Bajuan Field.
UMass In The Tournament
UMass is making its 12th appearance in the Atlantic 10 tournament, its third consecutive. The Minutewomen are 9-7 all-time in the A-10 postseason.
Against the 2011 tournament field, UMass is 1-3 all-time in the postseason: 1-1 vs. Dayton and 0-1 against Richmond and St. Bonaventure. The Minutewomen have never faced Charlotte or La Salle in the tournament.
The Minutewomen's last Atlantic 10 tournament victory came in the 1997 championship game, 1-0 over George Washington.
UMass last scored an A-10 Tournament goal in 1999, a 5-1 loss to Xavier.
Against St. Bonaventure
UMass is 13-3 all-time against St. Bonaventure in the series that began in 1993.
The teams squared off in the Atlantic 10 Tournament last season, which saw the Bonnies come away with a 2-0 win, the squads' only postseason meeting.
Last Time vs. The Bonnies
UMass celebrated Senior Day with a goal from senior Julie Morrissey that gave the squad a 1-0 win over St. Bonaventure on Oct. 23 at Rudd Field.
After St. Bonaventure had several early shots in the first half, UMass began to create its own opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the period. Following a corner kick by freshman Tori Sousa, Emily Benjamin had her shot cleared off the line by a Bonnies' defender at 39:37. A header by senior Meghan Collins was on target in the closing seconds of the frame, but was grabbed by St. Bonaventure goalkeeper Megan Junker to keep the game scoreless.
Later in the 56th minute, Junker denied Morrissey with a diving save to her right. However, Morrissey came through for the Minutewomen soon after and she corralled a through ball from freshman Moa Mattsson, dribbled away from a diving Junker and shot it into the open net. The tally, which came at 57:49, was her team-leading seventh of the season.
The UMass defense, backstopped by junior Emily Cota, made the one goal stand up the rest of the way as the squad recorded its ninth shutout of the season. Cota made six saves and logged her eight clean sheet of the year.
UMass doubled up the Bonnies in shots, 12-6, and led in corner kicks, 6-2. Fouls were 10-9, against the Minutewomen. Junker finished with five saves for St. Bonaventure.
The win over Duquesne on Oct. 21 marked head coach Ed Matz's 200th of his college coaching career, combined men's and women's. He currently holds a record of 202-180-43.
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 20-15-2 since taking over in 2010.
Morrissey Rakes In Weekly Awards
Senior forward/midfielder Julie Morrissey earned two weekly honors on Oct. 24 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 the following day.
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 12-4-2 on the season, UMass has now reached the highest win total by the squad 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 .722 is in the top-40 nationally, currently 38th 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 14 games, all starts, and holds a 0.56 goals-against average with a career-high nine shutouts. Cota boasts a .907 save percentage, stopping 78 of 86 shots she has faced over 1288:49.
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 14th in goals-against average.
Cota logged her ninth clean sheet of the year on Oct. 28 at George Washington, 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.
Cota was named the SoccerSavings.com/New England Soccer News College Player of the Week on Nov. 2 after she collected her ninth shutout of the season and made four saves against George Washington, tying her for 10th on the program's single season shutouts list. She is the first player to crack the top 10 since 1996.
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 10 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 tied for sixth with 15 in her three years with the Minutewomen.
Cota also ranks in the top-10 for career saves, currently sixth with 221.
Cota's nine 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 eighth.
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, Richmond and La Salle are first, third and fourth.
In the most recent RPI report released by the NCAA, UMass is #58 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 18 games, 13 different players have tallied points for the Minutewomen, including nine different goal scorers
Senior Julie Morrissey has scored seven of UMass' 23 goals through 18 matches and leads the squad with 15 points. She enters the tournament 10th 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 is one shy of her 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 with four. 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. She now has a total of 21 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 assist of her career vs. Fordham on Oct. 14.
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 returned 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 47 consecutive starts and 53 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. Thirteen of her 21 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 past 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.