Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s soccer struck by injuries, struggles offensively as it falls to No. 24 Rutgers -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

UMass football fall camp day four: Veteran offensive line boasts chemistry, looks to improve run blocking -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A colorful UMass homecoming -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Potential nighttime and weekend parking fee at UMass tabled -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day three: Ex-quarterbacks A.J. Doyle, Andrew Verboys continue transitions to new positions -

Wednesday, August 19, 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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