The Massachusetts women’s soccer team will look to strengthen its Atlantic 10 record this weekend in Ohio as it prepares to face off against Xavier and Dayton.
The Minutewomen (4-7-0) will first square off against Xavier (5-6-0) on Friday evening for their third game in conference play this season. UMass looks to continue its success after a strong 1-0 win against Saint Louis this past weekend.
The Musketeers, who are also 1-0 in conference play this season, are trying to start up a roll of their own after losing three of their last four matches in the shootout. They have, however, proven that they are not a team to be taken lightly, as their 4-1 win over La Salle indicates.
The team also has an ace in the hole with goalkeeper Jennifer Perri, who is just in her sophomore season, has played in all 11 games on the season and holds a 1.19 goals-against average along with an .800 save percentage, making her one of the best goalkeepers in the A-10.
She will have to face tough competition in the Minutewomen, whose revamped offense is led by Deanna Colarossi’s five goals and Therese Smith’s 38 shots.
Unfortunately for the Maroon and White, the weekend road trip does not get easier once it enters Flyer territory.
Dayton (10-2-0) is sporting the best record in the A-10, outscoring its opponents, 23-6, and outshooting them, 208-116. Its biggest offensive threat lies in Colleen Williams, who has 27 points off of 11 goals and five assists.
The Flyers also have five other shooters with at least five points or more to their names, making them the most offensively potent team the Minutewomen will yet face.
The only two losses they have suffered this year have come at the hands of non-conference opponents, Colorado College and Ohio State, and both were closely-played 1-0 losses.
“We have a tough weekend ahead of us,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “We just have to go out and keep ourselves composed and confident. We ended last weekend well with the shutout win, and we are going to try to carry it over into next weekend. Our goal is to get at least three points out of the weekend, but we will play to win both games.”
One of the big question marks for this weekend is whether or not freshman goalkeeper Emersyn Pullan will again be called upon to play for injured starter Emily Cota. The sophomore has not played since suffering a collision with an opposing player in the team’s loss to Harvard three games ago.
Pullan has picked up nicely in Cota’s absence, allowing only two goals in just over 220 minutes. She has a 1-1 record thus far with nine saves, a .818 save percentage, and one shutout.
David Martin can be reached at email@example.com.