Cassidy Babin’s shutout streak clocks out at over eight hours

By Adam Aucoin

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 Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

There’s plenty a person can do in 529 minutes.

That eight-hour, 49-minute period is roughly the normal amount of sleep someone gets at night. It’s also just slightly longer than the average workday.

For Massachusetts women’s soccer goalkeeper Cassidy Babin, the net and box she stands in are her workplace, and if the first half of the season has been any indication, she has mastered her craft.

For 529 minutes, she was unbeatable in her own environment.

The sophomore had not given up a goal in 529 consecutive minutes until she conceded a goal in the 67th minute of the 2-2 double overtime tie against Richmond Sunday at Rudd Field.

Babin felt like the streak improved the play of UMass (4-3-3, 1-0-1 Atlantic 10) from top to bottom.

“Shutouts are really hard to come by in our conference, so I think it’s great that we were able to do that,” Babin said. “Of course I’m sad that the streak is over, but I think that it helped us hold ourselves to a higher standard and it improved our mentality on the field.”

Babin continues to be the hardest goalkeeper to crack in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Her 0.51 goals against average is the best in the A-10 and her five shutouts puts her in a tie with Fordham’s Megan Fitzgerald for most in the conference.  Her goals against average put her 17th nationally as well.

The goalkeeper is aware of the attention her play is getting, but doesn’t let it affect her play on the field.

“I try not to think about the articles and the stats and all that stuff,” Babin said. “Our mission in general has always been to hold strong, keep balls out of the net, and put balls in the other net. I don’t think it has gotten to our heads because it is something we have always tried to do. We just happen to be having more success with it this year.”

Minutewomen coach Ed Matz has been nothing but impressed with his young goalkeeper this season and thinks, she is leaps and bounds better than she was last season.

When talking about her, one word he harped upon was confidence.

“We always saw potential in Cassidy, but it didn’t seem like she had the confidence in herself last year,” Matz said. “With our starting goalie (Danielle Kriscenski) injured for most of the spring, Cassidy had all the time in the spring to train. It seemed to really benefit her and the confidence was carried over to the season.”

Of course, any successful goalkeeper needs a strong defense in front of them and Babin has one of the best in the conference at her disposal.

The Minutewomen boast a veteran defense led by seniors Rebekka Sverrisdottir, Madison Smith and Georgia Gibson. They have also seen consistent play from freshmen Julia Taffuri and Paige Kozlowski.

Babin understands the importance of having a strong defense in front of her.

“Obviously they are making my job a lot easier,” Babin said. “It’s always great to have such strong players in front of you and our backline is one the most experienced around. It takes a little bit of the pressure off, but at the same time you have to (have) the mentality that you’re ready for anything.”

Matz added: “When your goalkeeper shows lots of confidence, it allows the rest of the team to have confidence as well. They can play more freely and know that the person behind them will pick them up if they make a mistake.”

Looking forward to the George Mason game Thursday, both Babin and Matz stressed that fixing the smaller issues like communication and limiting shot opportunities will be what leads them to victory.

“I think the major thing will be focus both individually and team-wise,” Babin said. “As long as we go over film these next couple days and fix the smaller issues we have, we should be fine Thursday.”

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.