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December 11, 2017

A-10 field hockey struggles in non conference play

The Atlantic 10 field hockey conference suffered a defeating week against non-conference foes. Aside from Saint Joseph’s – who were off the schedule – every team in the A-10 lost at least one game this week, collectively dropping eight-straight games and nine of 12 overall.

Despite playing eight out of twelve games at home, the conference as a whole was simply outplayed. The A-10 competitors started games strong, but on the offensive and defensive ends, their efforts were unsatisfactory. Opponents outscored them 48-15 in their 12 games, managing only one goal in three games and getting shutout in four more. Their average margin of defeat on the week was over four goals.

The six A-10 squads on the schedule faced teams with superior records, and it showed on the scoreboard. Pitted against opponents that included four teams ranked in the nation’s top 20 and a total of six teams with eight or more wins, the A-10 was clearly overmatched. The A-10 has not boasted stellar winning records to this point in the season.

As of Monday, the teams combined for a .370 win percentage (29-49), numbers that were far surpassed by their level of competition which had won almost two- thirds of their respective games (78-40, .660) going into last week’s action.        Out of their three wins this week, two of them came against teams with losing records.

The playing field will be leveled later this week when conference play begins.

Conference play on the horizon

Following a week in which non-conference opponents dominated the A-10, teams will be glad to begin play against similar teams with more in common – such as records.

On Friday, conference play officially begins with three evenly matched games on the slate.

La Salle (4-8) will welcome to town West Chester (5-6), Temple (4-9) will take the short drive to Buckley Field to face Saint Joseph’s (2-7), and St. Louis (1-10) travels to Richmond (5-6).

For Richmond and Temple, this is a chance for them to get back to the winning form that they displayed in the past four seasons. Since 2005, both teams have ended the season no less than third in the rankings. Temple won the conference in 2007 while Richmond won it in 2005 and 2006.

Massachusetts has spiked its conference play in the past three Seasons, winning three games in 2007 and six in the past two seasons including last year’s conference championship.

Four teams in the A-10 have been consistent bottom-dwellers. West Chester, Saint Louis and La Salle have produced sub .500 records in every season since 2005, while Saint Joseph’s has hovered around that mark reaching its peek at third place in 2006.

A good non-conference record does not guarantee that a team will play as well in conference. In the past two seasons, Richmond has registered five conference wins with sub .500 overall records.

Each of the seven A-10 teams will play once. The last game will be Saint Joseph’s at Saint Louis on Nov. 1. … Temple, Richmond and UMass were the only teams in the conference with wins this past weekend…In all, seven shutouts occurred in the A-10 this weekend, including four defeats that combined for an 18-0 opponent advantage … Sophomore Bridget Settles of Temple earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors this past week after scoring all five Owls goals in their two games played.

Daniel Gigliotti can be reached at dgigliot@student.umass.edu.

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