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

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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