Scrolling Headlines:

UMass baseball finishes season with sweep over George Mason -

May 22, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinal -

May 22, 2016

‘Green Room’ is a bloody blast of survival horror -

May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

May 18, 2016

Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

May 17, 2016

Radiohead returns to the top with gorgeous, illuminating ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ -

May 16, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to quarterfinal of NCAA tournament -

May 16, 2016

UMass baseball outlasts Rhode Island in series finale behind strong pitching of Brandon Walsh -

May 15, 2016

Eileen McDonald’s overtime goal advances UMass women’s lacrosse in NCAA tournament -

May 14, 2016

12 UMass students face possible arrests in connection to an alleged bad LSD trip -

May 14, 2016

UMass baseball falls in first-ever Division I matchup with UMass Lowell 7-3 -

May 11, 2016

UMass baseball gets shut out in nonconference matchup with UConn -

May 10, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Richmond, wins eighth straight Atlantic 10 championship -

May 9, 2016

UMass baseball salvages last game of weekend series with Richmond behind strong eighth inning -

May 9, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse beats St. Joe’s, advance to Atlantic 10 championship game -

May 7, 2016

Lack of offense plagues UMass baseball in game two of doubleheader with Fordham -

May 1, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Davidson 12-5 on Senior Day -

May 1, 2016

Two arrested after report of aggravated robbery in Washington Hall last night -

May 1, 2016

Former UMass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe selected in fifth round of 2016 NFL Draft -

April 30, 2016

Ryan Moloney pitches seven scoreless innings as UMass baseball takes series opener from Fordham -

April 30, 2016

Minutewomen have rhythm heading into postseason

Matt Modica/Collegian

For the third consecutive season, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team has played well enough to earn itself a seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament and is looking to win its first conference title since 1997.

This season, however, marks the first time in three years that the Minutewomen (12-4-2 overall, 6-2-1 A-10) enter postseason play as one of the top six teams in the conference with the No. 4 seed. This year is also the first time in three years that UMass enters the postseason with a winning record and the first time that it has outscored its opponents in the regular season (23-14).

In order for the Minutewomen to make it deep into the tournament, they must stick to what has consistently worked throughout the season. They have to play solid defense from goal to midfield and maintain a shot-driven offense which includes freshmen and seniors.

Coming into the year, UMass’ biggest strength was its defense. As the season progressed, it became clear just how good the defense was as the Minutewomen went on to shut-out 10 different teams. Even against the best offenses, UMass defenders stifled opposing offensive drives by blocking shots, taking and maintaining possession of the ball and by moving the ball up into the midfield with quick, accurate passing.

On the rare occasions that opposing forwards were successful in breaking through the Minutewomen defenders, they were often times frustrated by the diving saves of junior goalkeeper Emily Cota.

Cota has been the cornerstone in net for UMass. In the 14 games she started in goal, she has a 10-3-1 record with nine shutouts, a .907 save percentage, a 0.56 goals-against average and over 1,288 minutes played.

With that kind of defense behind them, the offense is then free to work without the stresses of playing catch-up and can better find a rhythm.

The Minutewomen have a dynamic, shot-oriented offense that has seen significant contributions from its freshmen forwards. Two of the strongest offensive threats for UMass are freshmen forwards Tori Sousa and Moa Mattsson.

Sousa has developed into a fully capable striker with three goals, four assists and 19 shots, in addition to aggressive play in the offensive zone that drives the ball closer to the net while drawing multiple defenders away from other players.

Mattsson has also solidified her offensive role as a tough-to-handle forward with her size and speed, qualities she’s used to score one goal and three assists.

Driving the surprising performances of the underclassmen are the textbook examples provided to them by their senior leaders.

Senior forwards Julie Morrissey and Deanna Colarossi have been the catalysts of which this Minutewomen offense thrives. Morrissey has assumed the role of lead striker with seven goals, an assist and 56 shots, while Colarossi has been a key playmaker with four goals, three assists and 24 shots.

With strong defense and a highly productive offensive scheme, the greatest strength in UMass’ arsenal may be its ability to focus on the task at hand.

Throughout the year, UMass coach Ed Matz has preached the importance of taking the season “one game at a time.” With that mindset, the Minutewomen have been able to clear their minds of tough losses in addition to maintaining their drive to win after big upset victories. That mindset is sure to prove critical later this week, as each game they face will have the added pressure of potentially being their last.

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

 

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