Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass to take on Spiders, need conference win

After losing both games against non-ranked conference opponents this past weekend and dropping six spots in the NFHCA/Kookaburra Division I Poll, Massachusetts field hockey coach Justine Sowry strayed from her usual practice routine. The sixteenth-ranked Minutewomen instead played a care-free game of soccer at practice this week.

Sowry stressed the fact that the Minutewomen (9-6, 0-2 Atlantic 10) need to forget about the past and to remain calm in preparation for the future. UMass faces Richmond (9-7, 3-0 A-10) tomorrow at 3 p.m. in a rematch of last season’s A-10 conference championship game, which the Minutewomen won, 2-0.

“As soon as we become frustrated and panic, then we cannot make good decisions on the field,” Sowry said.

“It’s really important this week to be sharp and intense at training, but also be in a relaxed state of mind and that’s really important.”

UMass swept the 2008 season series against the Spiders, outscoring Richmond, 5-1 in two games.

Senior Cher King and junior captain Katie Kelly scored three of the five goals against the Spiders, and they are two of the most capable Minutewomen to bring UMass out of its slump, especially in-conference. King had one goal, three assists in four conference games last season, and Kelly had four goals, one assist in six A-10 games.

Kelly and junior back Makaela Potts lead UMass with six goals this season. Potts also has six assists in a productive backfield that includes Jaime Bourazeris (three goals, one assist), Nikki Panciocco (one assist) and Christine Cutry (one goal, one assist).

Even though the Minutewomen swept the Spiders last season, Sowry is well-aware that Richmond is gunning for UMass and looking to extend its perfect start in conference play.

“Richmond is a great opponent. They’re undefeated [in the conference] and coached well,” she said. “They have a number of talented of players, and I’m sure they want to beat us. They have strength all over the field and we’re going to have our best performance on Friday to have a chance, and that’s what we are aiming to do.”

Sophomore All-American Alesha Widdall leads the conference with a .733 save percentage this season, and holds the edge over Spider goalkeeper Jacki Raithel (1.83 GAA) with a 1.47 goals-against average.

While the Minutewomen have a strong defensive front that can also score goals, Richmond’s leading goal-scorer Sarah Blythe-Wood (16 goals, seven assists), leads a Spider defense that is just as productive as their offense.

Senior Megan Thompson scored the only goal in the series for the Spiders, and returns this season to lead a forward line that has 29 goals among them.

In a conference stat-sheet dominated by both UMass and Richmond, the Spiders have allowed 1.73 goals per game this season, behind the Minutewomen’s 1.53.

Richmond is largely a first-half team, scoring seven-fewer of its 51 goals before halftime, while giving up 49 of 89 penalty corners in the second half.

The Spiders, however, are marginally better on the road. In four away games this season, Richmond averages 4.25 goals per-game, and Raithel averages nearly seven saves per-game in road matches.

Notes

The 2009 NFHCA Division I Senior All-Star team includes A-10 representatives: King, Blythe-Wood and Temple’s Charise Young. The two-time All-Conference player has one goal, three assists this season. Wake Forest University hosts the game at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21.

The North and South squads will consist of 20 teams and the game consists of two 25-minute periods. As an addition to the festivities, the All-Stars face the 2009 U.S. National team as well.

Mike Gillmeister can be reached at mgillmei@student.umass.edu.

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