The Massachusetts women’s soccer team, riding a five-game winning streak, will take its first long distance road trip of the season and travel to Charlotte, N.C. and St. Louis, Mo. this weekend for a pair of Atlantic 10 Conference games.
The first of these games at Charlotte (3-6-3, 0-1 A-10) will be held under the lights Friday at 7 p.m. Charlotte is most recently coming off of a 2-1 loss to St. Louis in their own conference opener.
The 49ers are led by preseason All-Conference selection Macky Wingo, who leads the team with 11 points this season (four goals, three assists).
Much like the Minutewomen (7-2-2, 1-0 A-10), the 49ers have had some trouble putting up big offensive numbers, only managing to score 13 total goals in their first 12 games. Comparatively, UMass has 12 goals in its first 11 games.
What separates these two teams is on the defensive side of the ball. While the Minutewomen might not score often, they have been able to count on a solid defensive effort game in and game out, allowing just eight goals in 11 games.
With those types of defensive statistics, it’s not surprising that UMass has recorded six shutouts. The Minutewomen have currently recorded five-straight shutouts since losing to Harvard on Sept. 9. The UMass record for consecutive shutouts is nine, a streak put together in 1981. The current streak is the longest since 1996, when the Minutewomen had eight shutouts in a row. This year, UMass has allowed just eight goals while the 49ers have allowed 24.
Charlotte has been switching between two goalkeepers this season, Natalie Lavigne and Alex Kubrick. Lavigne has played in six games, registering a 1.74 goals against average while Kubrick has played in eight games, registering a 2.22 goals against average.
If the Minutewomen are able to pull off a victory, it will be the first time they have beaten Charlotte since 2005, the first year that the two teams met.
Charlotte’s three wins have come against Jacksonville, UNC Wilmington and High Point, the latter two wins coming at home, where they are 2-2-1.
Following their match against the 49ers, the Minutewomen will travel to St. Louis (3-5-2, 1-0 A-10) for a game against the Billikens at 2 pm.
The Billikens are coming off a win against Charlotte, and they will be led on offense by Jenny Hummert and Abbey Stock, who have totaled eight and seven points, respectively.
SLU’s statistics look similar to that of Charlotte’s, having given up significantly more goals than they have scored. In their first 10 games, the Billikens have allowed 17 goals while scoring just seven.
Both opponents seem to enjoy playing at home more than on the road, as Charlotte lays claim to an undefeated record while neither team has been unable to win on the road.
The Minutewomen are 1-5 all-time against the Billikens, with the lone victory coming last year.
UMass will enter both matchups having had a lot of success spreading the wealth on offense. While Deanna Colarossi and Julie Morrissey lead the team in goals with three and five, respectively, 11 different players have accumulated points throughout the season.
The road trip will be the only significant one for the Minutewomen until the end of the month when they travel to Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Va. Between this weekend’s matchups and those games, UMass will return home, where they have won four games in a row.
Eric Mansfield can be reached at email@example.com.