Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass looks to make claim as prominent program

With the conference schedule winding down and the Atlantic 10 playoffs looming, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team continues to tally wins, looking to finish strong in what has been one of the more successful seasons record-wise in the last 10 years.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

While the success to this point has given UMass coach Ed Matz reason to believe that he’s made the school proud, the journey does not end here.

“UMass has such a rich history in women’s soccer, we have a lot of proud alums,” said Matz.

Matz added that he hopes the UMass program can one day be looked at in the same light as other Massachusetts area colleges, like Boston College and Boston University.

“I think we’ve taken some strides this year to reach that goal,” Matz said.

In the latest NCAA RPI Rankings, BU is ranked No. 36 in the country and BC is No. 14. The Minutewomen (11-3-2, 5-1-1 A-10), meanwhile, sit at No. 55.

While the roster faced many changes with several newcomers, one thing that Matz said wasn’t going to change for UMass this year was its attitude and work ethic.

“Our attitude, our willingness, our hunger and the desire to get better every single practice from day one to yesterday, it’s been the same,” said Matz.

Two of those newcomers, senior forward and midfielder Julie Morrissey and forward Deanna Colarossi, have made their mark in a season that has seen the Minutewomen tally the most wins since they had 11 in 2006. The Minutewomen also had 11 wins in 2000 and 1999. The highest win total before that was 17 in 1997, marking the last time UMass took home the A-10 title.

Morrissey leads the team in goals and total points with seven and 14, respectively. Colarossi, despite missing the last three games due to injury, is second on the team in the same categories.

Most recently, Morrissey helped lead the Minutewomen over Duquesne and St. Bonaventure, scoring both goals in two 1-0 wins. For her efforts, Morrissey was named both Co-A-10 Player of the Week and UMass Athlete of the Week. The goals were her third and fourth game-winners of the season, tying her for 10th place in program history.

“I thought our offense played pretty well on both days,” said Matz. “Julie had the opportunity to finish a couple chances and she did.”

Another large part of UMass’ success has been its ability to protect its home field. The Minutewomen have taken advantage of all of their scheduled home games, going 8-2-1 in contests played at Rudd Field.

The final two conference games will be away from Rudd when the Minutewomen take on both George Washington (5-10-2, 2-3-2 A-10) and Richmond (11-4-3, 5-1-1 A-10), completing UMass’ second long-distance road trip of the season.

Even though so much of UMass’ success has come playing in front of a home crowd, travelling has not been a problem thus far either.

“I think we’ve had some success on the road,” said Matz. “I think we’re pretty confident. Friday’s match will be tough because [George Washington] will be playing for a playoff spot. Whenever you play a team with their backs against the wall, that certainly will be a challenge for us. If things go well Sunday’s match could be for second place in the A-10. That should take care of itself.”

While the weekend will have to decide who UMass will match up against in the A-10 playoffs, it’s apparent now that the Minutewomen have been able to find a winning formula under Matz’ leadership.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at [email protected].


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