Minutewomen to host VCU in first-ever meeting

By Matthew Zackman

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

After winning its Atlantic 10 conference opener and extending its win streak to three games, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team now shifts its focus to Saturday, when Virginia Commonwealth visits Rudd Field.

This is the first-ever meeting between UMass (5-5-1, 1-0 A-10) and the Rams (5-4-1), as VCU joined the A-10 conference in 2012.

In their first season as members of the conference last season, the Rams compiled a 6-2-1 record against A-10 opponents and made it all the way to the conference championship game before losing to La Salle.

Now, VCU is struggling to stay above .500, with many of its losses coming against top-25 teams. In a span of 10 days, it played against No. 8 Virginia, No. 1 North Carolina and No. 13 Georgetown. Despite losing all three games, the Rams have played better lately, going 4-1-1 in their last six games.

If the Minutewomen wish to extend their winning streak, they will need to watch out for VCU’s senior forward Courtney Conrad. Conrad was named to the A-10 All-Conference first team last season and is currently tied with junior Maren Johansen for the team lead in goals, assists and points.

Last week, Johansen was named Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Co-Player of the Week, when she registered two goals and an assist in a 5-1 win over George Mason and a 1-1 draw against Elon over the weekend.

On the other side of the pitch, UMass sophomore Rebekka Sverrisdóttir and junior Becky Landers look to build off their first career goals that they scored last week in the win against Saint Joseph’s.

UMass will also turn to redshirt freshman goalkeeper Danielle Kriscenski to take control and stop a powerful Rams offense from scoring. Despite being a first-year starter, Kriscenski has already been honored as the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week and has been steady in net all season, with many of her statistics ranking her among the top goalies in the A-10.

However, following UMass’ 2-1 victory over the Hawks, Minutewomen coach Ed Matz said that the team is not being propelled by a select group of players, saying that his players are putting the team first and each contribute in the best way that they can.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Rudd Field.

Matthew Zackman can be reached at [email protected]