Scrolling Headlines:

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UMass Board of Trustees approves rise in tuition, student fees -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former Minutewoman Quianna Diaz-Patterson named to Puerto Rican national softball team -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

UMass rowing’s Jim Dietz inducted into CRCA Hall of Fame -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jury selection begins Monday in second gang rape trial -

Monday, June 15, 2015

Students turn attention to state legislators as decision on UMass budget looms -

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alumna and next director of Brooklyn Museum Anne Pasternak ‘created her own path’ -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

UMass graduate crowned head of 600-year-old Indian kingdom -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Committee recommends UMass increase tuition, student fees for in-state undergraduates -

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Darrice Griffin named UMass’ senior associate athletic director for internal operations/senior woman administrator -

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Report: UMass football will host Mississippi State in 2016 -

Monday, June 8, 2015

Closely-contested loss to top Explorers displays UMass improvements

In its 3-2 overtime loss against La Salle at Rudd Field on Sunday afternoon, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team proved that it has everything it takes to compete with the best schools of the Atlantic 10.

The Minutewomen (9-3-2, 3-1-1 A-10) were on a 7-0-1 run before their loss to the conference-leading Explorers (13-0-1, 5-0-0 A-10), a stretch that marked the first time in which UMass had been unbeaten in eight consecutive matches since the 1997 season. Over that span, the Minutewomen shut out six teams, outscored their opponents 11-2 and outshot them 110-101.

Even in a tough loss against one of the best teams in the country, UMass still showed that it was not a team to be taken lightly by any opponent, no matter their national standing. The Minutewomen demonstrated that they could shut down opposing offensive drives with tight defensive play, as well as capitalize on the few scoring chances they were able to make with an offense that has grown to be more and more shot-oriented since the start of the season.

For the Explorers, UMass is just the second team to which it has surrendered a goal (with Dayton being the first) and the first team to which it has surrendered multiple goals this season. Prior to Sunday’s match, La Salle had outscored its opponents 30-1 and had shut out 11 consecutive teams to start the season.

As they work to improve their A-10 standing and prepare themselves for postseason play, the Minutewomen, both freshmen and seniors alike, are more than pleased with the way they have performed against tough competition.

“Honestly, I could not have asked for a better start to my college career,” said freshman forward Tori Sousa. “To get on a team that is a top competitor for the A-10, I am really excited and I just want to make the most of my opportunities to help my team win.”

Sousa has begun to establish herself as a strong presence on offensive drives in her first collegiate season. Sousa has scored two goals, earned three assists and has managed 10 shots in 14 games played.

“Being a senior, this is [a great feeling],” said defender/midfielder Meghan Collins. “We have not been this successful this early on in the A-10s, so…this [season] is huge. We are excited to play and to push further along [in the standings].”

Collins has proven critical in UMass’ defensive and offensive play. In addition to solid defense and good ball movement through the midfield, Collins has also registered two goals, an assist and 11 shots in 14 games played.

When compared to last season, it is obvious why the upperclassmen are so excited to continue their season at their current pace.

In 2010, the Minutewomen finished with an 8-11-0 record, including a 2-0 loss to St. Bonaventure in the A-10 Tournament. UMass was outscored by its opponents, 32-28, outshot 260-244, and suffered from stretches of inconsistent play. Also, though they held a winning home record of 5-3-0, they managed only a 5-4-0 conference record and a 3-7-0 road record.

Currently, UMass is outscoring its opponents 19-13 and is being slightly outshot 190-181. The Minutewomen have played well on both offense and defense, and have gone deep into games, outscoring opponents 9-6 in the second half or later (as compared to last season, in which they were outscored 15-11 in the second half or later).

UMass has also been dominant at Rudd Field this season. In addition to a strong 6-2-1 home record, the Minutewomen also sport 3-1-1 road and conference records, all marks greatly improved from their previous totals.

Even with so many improvements already made, do not expect UMass to sit on its heels as the season winds down. The Minutewomen still have to work to secure a top seed within the conference, as well as win their first A-10 Tournament match in the new century.

David Martin can be reached at dmmartin@student.umass.edu.

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