April 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

VIDEO: UMass United Ralley in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chance for UMass to learn from previous A-10 struggles

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Atlantic 10 competition has arrived and for the Massachusetts field hockey team, it’s all about lessons learned from the past.

The Minutewomen (5-6) face a Saint Louis (0-12) team on Saturday that is still searching for its first victory of the season. However, their line of focus remains unwavered as they remember mental lapses a year ago that plagued the team in its first three conference matches.

A season ago, the Minutewomen were 9-3 with one game to go before conference play. They went on to lose their next four games, including three straight conference matchups by a total score of 6-1. The losing streak meant that they had to win each of their next three conference games just to make it into the A-10 tournament.

While UMass accomplished that difficult feat last year, it is making sure that its concentration is much sharper for this year’s conference run.

“What you’ll find with this team is that we’re on a mission right now,” Sowry said. “[The team has] a chip on their shoulder from last year. They’re not going to take any game lightly, whatsoever and they’ll be pushing really hard throughout the A-10s.”

There was no lack of intensity last weekend when the Minutewomen shut out then-No.8 Syracuse, 2-0, and claimed their first win against the Orange in 12 years.

But now the roles are reversed. Saint Louis has never beaten UMass. The series, which began in 1979, has stretched to seven all-time meetings. In those meetings, UMass has outscored SLU, 26-5. Last year, the Minutewomen ended their aforementioned four-game losing streak in a convincing 10-1 rout of the Rams.

Still, Saturday’s game will not be taken lightly, especially with UMass having prepared all season for their conference matchups.

“Any of the A-10 opponents, when they come up against us, they’re going to be bringing their best games,” UMass coach Justine Sowry said. “What I do know about Saint Louis is that they do fight; they’re a scrappy, fighting team. If you don’t respect your opponent, anything can happen at the end of the day. So we’ll be taking them pretty seriously.”

Sowry feels that her team can play with the best teams in the country if the concentration level is there. However, early this season, the Minutewomen had trouble sustaining their concentration against lesser opponents.

“The team is really starting to grow up,” Sowry said. “What we’re looking at is putting together consistent performances every game. Our senior leadership has provided consistency with their performances, but it’s getting the freshmen, those that are playing a lot of minutes, consistent within the team structure.”

UMass has a chance this weekend to come out strong against its conference rivals and not like it did a year ago. The mission is clear: win the Atlantic 10 – one game at a time.

“In terms of the focus and energy, it’s looking really good right now,” Sowry said. “[This weekend] is just going to be an opportunity to measure ourselves up with our opponents in the A-10. It’s full steam ahead.”

Pete Vasquez can be reached at pvasquez@student.umass.edu.

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