Scrolling Headlines:

Demonstrators issue demands at Board of Trustees meeting as Woolridge announces resignation from post of chairman -

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UMass men’s basketball shows improvement in 3-point shooting. -

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UMass men’s basketball cruises to a victory over Pacific behind a strong second half -

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UMass Divest and proponents of sanctuary campus will not be allowed to speak at Board of Trustees meeting -

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Former political prisoner to speak on human rights and prison experience -

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UMass men’s basketball using late-game situations as learning opportunities for remainder of season -

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UMass men’s basketball kicks off Gotham Classic at home against Pacific -

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UMass hockey looks to continue recent improvements against Connecticut -

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UMass hockey team confident in game plan despite UConn’s constant change in net -

December 8, 2016

UMass women’s basketball falls apart in the fourth quarter in 71-55 loss to Hofstra -

December 8, 2016

It’s been a long year -

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A return to the collapse of 2008 -

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Mindfulness in, and in spite of, a technological age -

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Beer, bets and pool: a High Horse unofficial review -

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Don’t let winter stop you from running outside -

December 8, 2016

BREAKING: Train allegedly strikes pedestrian in Amherst -

December 7, 2016

Campus Climate survey shows strong response -

December 7, 2016

Jennifer Carlson gives talk on race and gun law enforcement -

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Labor Center to receive increased funding from University -

December 7, 2016

Verdi enforces playing a full 40 minutes as UMass takes on Hofstra -

December 7, 2016

Napoli and Co. look for first win

903_7960The University of Massachusetts women’s soccer team will travel to Hartford tonight in hopes of jumpstarting their stagnant offense and giving Angela Napoli her first victory as head coach of the Minutewomen.

“I think our morale is still high” UMass coach Jessica Napoli said. “Every game we play better and better and get better opportunities.”

The Hawks (3-3), coming off a 5-2 win over rival Central Connecticut, feature an offensive that can explode at the drop of a dime. 

In wins over Iona and Central Connecticut, Hartford scored all nine of their goals in the second half.

The Hawks feature the talented quartet of redshirts, senior Laura Guigli, junior Mary Beth, sophomore Breanna Robinson and freshman Alex Uscilla. Uscilla has had a breakout rookie campaign, leading the Hawks with eight points on three goals and two assists, while Hamilton has already surpassed her totals form last season, scoring two goals and three assists. 

Robinson, an America East All-Conference Second Team and All-Rookie Team selection last season, is arguably the best player remaining from last year’s squad.  In six games, she has chipped in one goal and two assists. Guigli is also off to a solid start in her final season, tallying six points on two goals and two assists.

Despite what their record may indicate, UMass (0-4-1) has been playing very well on the defensive end.  The goalkeeping duo of senior Lauren Luckey and freshman Emily Cota has been stepped up during the team’s offensive woes, combining for 36 saves while allowing just six goals on 114 attempts.

“They are very equal, and they each have their strengths and their weaknesses, so, we know that whoever we have in net, we know what to expect,” Napoli said.

However, the Minutewomen’s defensive efforts will go unnoticed unless its offense starts to produce.  In a tie with New Hampshire, the Minutewomen tried to improve their offensive gameplan, raising their season-high in shots for the third consecutive game (23 attempts). 

Forward Sydney Stoll seems poised to lead the Minutewomen after missing all of last season and part of 2007 with an injury.  The redshirt junior leads the team in shots with eight and is tied for second with two shots on goal.  If she returns to her pre-injury form (she notched six goals and three assists in 11 games in 2007), Stoll could prove to be just the offensive threat UMass needs.

“Every time we step out there it feels like we add another piece to the puzzle,” Napoli said. “We all feel it is just a matter of time (before we score).”

 Along with Stoll, the Minutewomen will also need Therese Smith, the team’s second leading scorer from a year ago, to help guide the team out of its scoring slump.  Smith has attempted seven shots thus far, two of which have been on goal. 

The Minutewomen have several young athletes who could prove to be contributors down the stretch.  Lauren Yelinek, a sophomore transfer from Texas Tech, proved in her freshman season that she can be a very effective passer by notching six assists in 13 games. 

Freshmen Meredith Fox and Jess Howe have started all five games this season, with Fox attempting three shots and Howe contributing on defense.

Tonight’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Yousuf Al-Marzook Athletic Field in West Hartford, CT.

Mike Mastone can be reached at mmastone@student.umass.edu

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