UMass women’s soccer attempts to retain playoff position with pair of weekend games

By Frank Corona

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

In soccer, some stats are more alarming than others. Although the majority of them are just numbers on a page, there are a few that have a significant more impact than others.

Although stats aren’t high on anyone’s mind for the Massachusetts women’s soccer team, it’s impossible to ignore the Minutewomen’s 4-0-0 record they have when scoring first.

After struggling to generate offense for most of the season, UMass scored two goals in its against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne – both 2-0 wins – to catapult the Minutewomen into a tie for fourth place in the Atlantic 10 alongside George Washington and Rhode Island, all of which have 10 points in the standings. Prior to their back-to-back victories, UMass was on the outside looking in, sitting at 11th place.

The main difference this past weekend for the Minutewomen that made all the difference was simple: they scored first in both matches.

This season, excluding two games that ended in a 0-0 tie, UMass is 4-0-0 when they score first. In comparison, when opponents are the first to score, the Minutewomen are a measly 1-7-2.

This weekend, UMass will face off against Richmond (8-7-2, 2-2-2 A-10) and Davidson (4-12-1, 1-5 A-10). Neither the Spiders nor Wildcats are above .500 in conference play this season as the Minutewomen post a 3-2-1 record in A-10 play. .

Richmond is currently riding a two game losing streak, however ranks second this season in both goals scored and shots, scoring 33 goals off of 295 total shots. Although the Minutewomen are fourth in the conference in shots this season (220), their 14 goals put them at a tie for 12th in the conference. The Spiders also hold an advantage in conference play in both shots, (110 to 82) and goals scored (11 to 8) over the Minutewomen.

Davidson’s offense won’t be as much of a concern for UMass, as it ranks last this season with 148 shots that have resulted in only 10 goals. Their 52 shots against conference opponents are also worst in the A-10. The Wildcats two goals in conference play also rank dead last amongst A-10 teams as well.

For the Minutewomen, offensive production was seen from some unfamiliar faces, despite a lot of offensive focus being placed on junior Jackie Bruno, who ranks fourth in A-10 conference play with four goals this past weekend.

Both sophomore Alyssa Fratarcangeli and freshmen Natalie Perussault recorded their first goals of the season this past weekend, with Perussault’s being the first of her career.

Sophomore Daniela Alvarez has been a huge contributor offensively leading the team in shots against conference foes with 14, to go along with a goal and an assist in the last six matches.

Along with the hopes that this offensive surge and momentum continues for the Minutewomen as they wrap up the season, also comes the hope the red-shirt sophomore Danielle Kriscenski can keep up her productivity in net.

Since returning from injury for the last two matches, Kriscenski has yet to allow a goal, tallying 15 total saves in the process. Needless to say, the two shutouts were a huge reason why UMass was able to walk away with six points this past weekend.

Barring some sort of blowup, it looks like the Minutewomen will lock up a postseason spot this weekend. Despite a slight scare after back-to-back losses against the Patriots and Rams, UMass seems to have gotten the ball rolling at the right time. Whether is was the two timely home games, or the team recognizing the urgency to lock up a playoff spot before it was too late, the resurgence could not have come at a better time.

UMass will head to Richmond, Virgina for its matchup against Richmond this Friday evening, followed by another trip to Davidson, North Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

Frank Corona can be reached at [email protected]