The Massachusetts women’s soccer team has had its problems defensively; losing their last four consecutive games.
The offense however has been alive and the return of redshirt senior co-captain Sydney Stoll may be the key for UMass to turn their season around as they begin conference play this weekend.
Stoll has been plagued by injury throughout the entire 2010 season. She has been sidelined due to a hamstring pull in preseason and has watched her team struggle to a 3-6-0 record.
She did open against Washington, recording one shot on goal, but has since been forced to stand on the sidelines. Stoll will look to produce as she did in previous years for UMass and get her team in the conference hunt.
It may have seemed like déjà vu for the forward, as she missed the entire 2008 season and half of the 2007 season due to a broken collarbone injury against Rhode Island her sophomore year.
Last season as a redshirt junior, she started all 19 games for the Maroon and White. Stoll scored five goals along with an assist while taking 51 shots in 2009, accounting for a third of UMass’ goals scored. Stoll was also the 16th player in UMass history to be a part of the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team.
Stoll will play against Charlotte on Friday with limited minutes, according to UMass coach Ed Matz.
“Sydney is extremely excited to get back into it, as she has been very frustrated with this hamstring injury all season,” Matz said. “She is going to play for a limited amount of time, and then we’ll go from there.”
Without Stoll at the reigns of the offensive attack, others have stepped up to fill her shoes thus far throughout the season.
Therese Smith has four goals in her last three contests, including two against Brown. She has four goals and two assists for 10 points and leads the team in shot attempts with 32.
Deanna Colorassi has also had her share of offensive opportunities with four goals on the year. Colorassi has taken advantage of her opportunities to score, as she has 13 shot attempts with 10 on target. Her shots on goal percentage is .769 with a goal percentage of .308.
Senior Ashley Hamel has two goals, both game-winners, along with three assists all coming in the last two games to Smith. She has 16 goals midway through the season for a .167 goals per game average and is giving the Minutewomen chances to win.
“We need to play better collectively as a team,” Matz said. “We can’t blame it on goaltending or our defenders, but as a team effort we need to pick up our marks and play better defense.”
Emersyn Pullan will make her first collegiate start in net for UMass as sophomore Emily Cota suffered a concussion in last weekend’s game against Harvard and is not cleared to play. Pullan made two spectacular saves against the Crimson within her first moments of action.
Michael Counos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.