Scrolling Headlines:

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

Towson stonewalls UMass men’s lacrosse in CAA Championship; Minutemen season ends after 9-4 loss -

May 6, 2017

Zach Coleman to join former coach Derek Kellogg at LIU Brooklyn -

May 5, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse advances to CAA finals courtesy of Dan Muller’s heroics -

May 4, 2017

On campus: The liberal assault on free speech -

May 4, 2017

Ten freshman headline new Minutewomen squad

Jeff Bernstein

Jeff Bernstein

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team welcomes 15 new players in 2011, including 10 freshmen. If it wants to improve on last year’s 8-11 record, those newcomers will need to prove their value early and often.

At this point in the preseason, the only sure thing the Minutewomen feel is positive team chemistry. UMass head coach Ed Matz, who is entering his second season at the helm, said that the team’s “chemistry is very good so far, and the players are doing a good job of pushing each other and bonding through conditioning tests, practice, dorm life and growing as a team.”

“It’s going to take time, having confidence in each other and the system,” he added. “But they’re learning each others’ strengths and weaknesses and are starting to build from them.”

While building that team chemistry takes time, spotting some of the raw talent in practice has not taken long at all.

Freshman midfielder Moa Mattsson, from Uppsala, Sweden, has been named to the Preseason Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team. Mattsson comes to UMass from the U19 Swedish National Team and made her international debut in a game against Slovakia in September of last year.

Sophomore Cecelia Jensen, a transfer from Elon University who had a decorated career for Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, has also been performing well early on.

Matz said that he has been impressed with both of these newcomers as they’ve come in working hard on both sides of the ball.

There was also an addition to the coaching staff, as former St. John’s goalie and St. Bonaventure assistant coach Rebecca Capinera joined the staff. In an interview with UMass Athletics, Matz said that he was very excited to have Capinera on the staff and that her familiarity within the conference should really help the Minutewomen’s game preparations.

Leadership will prove to be an important part of creating a winning atmosphere. UMass lost five seniors from last year’s squad and will be looking for other players to step in and fill those roles this fall.

Matz said that often, when there was a big game or one that came down to the wire, the older players took control and stepped up for the Minutewomen.

The six remaining seniors are Deanna Colarossi, Meghan Collins, Lindsey DiOrio, Erin McGaffigan, Julie Morrissey and Natalie Muka.

Matz has been impressed with how the seniors have responded in practice so far, noting how Collins and Colarossi have really stepped it up on both sides of the ball. DiOrio has shown signs that she’s ready to step into that leadership role as well.

The Minutewomen have not been limited to the practice field as they’ve had two scrimmages against the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University. Neither game resulted in a win, but Matz was able to identify a few areas that his team needs improvement in.

“We have a lot of talent, the problem is that everybody wants the ball,” Matz said. “They just have to learn what their roles will be and how to work better together on offense, and from that they will really start to click in the offensive zone.”

UMass’ non conference schedule will include games against New Hampshire, Elon, Fairfield, Bryant, Harvard and Boston University. It will be the first game against Elon for Jensen since her transfer to the Maroon and White this season.

Matz said that he expects the non-conference games to be a tough and challenging test for the team.

“I like our schedule this year,”Matz said. “It is, though, a short season, so we need everybody healthy to make the most of it. We’re getting towards full health, but we have to make sure we try and maintain that.”

UMass was picked to finish seventh in the A-10 preseason poll while Dayton is the favorite to win the conference. Last season, the squad made the A-10 tournament, despite losing its final game of the regular season, 3-0, to La Salle. UMass’ season came to an end four days later when the team dropped a 2-0 match against La Salle on Nov. 4.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at eamansfi@student.umass.edu.

 

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