BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston earned regional and national recognition for the first time in program history when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and D3Soccer.com poll were released Tuesday afternoon.
The 11-1 Beacons earned a spot in the top 10 of the NSCAA New England Poll as the 10thranked team in the region, supplanting in-state rivals UMass Dartmouth who had held the same spot last week.
In the D3Soccer.com poll, Amy Zombeck's crew earned their highest national ranking ever at number 26. UMass Boston received 39 points in the poll comprised of sports information directors and national members, one point shy of the top 25. In the prior two weeks, the Beacons had received points for the first times ever, but had not risen above 29th in the poll.
Women's soccer is the only regionally-ranked and nationally-ranked team in the Little East Conference. The Beacons head into this week tied with Eastern Connecticut State University atop the conference at 4-0.
This season has been the most successful in program history thus far, as UMass Boston has raced out to an 11-1 start. The Beacons 8-0 mark to begin the year set new program-records for best start to a season and longest winning streak in program history.
Forwards Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Tayla Andrews (Plymouth, Mass.) are two of the leading candidates for the Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year. The two forwards are tied for the league-lead with 13 goals and Ledin holds a slight edge over Andrews (32-31) for the overall lead in points.
Junior midfielder Sam Cristoforo (Rockland, Mass.) has controlled the midfield and has already set career-highs in goals (six) and points (19), while leading the LEC with seven assists.
Defensively the Beacons have relied heavily on a very experienced back field which has held opponents to a mere 13 goals on the season. With three seniors in Brittney Spencer (West Brookfield, Mass.), Anna O'Donoghue (Swansea, Mass.), and Meghan O'Connell (Abington, Mass.) and one junior Alli Modzelewski (Newton, Conn.) anchoring UMB's defensive third this season, UMass has just dominated some of the top forward lines in the Little East Conference.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) has been a revelation in net. The newcomer has started all but one game and amassed a 10-1 record with five shutouts and 42 saves.
Looking ahead, the Beacons will face off against Wentworth Institute of Technology on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., before facing off against Eastern Connecticut State University at 1 p.m. on Saturday. A Beacons win over the Warriors Saturday would set yet another Beacons program mark, as UMass Boston would earn a fifth conference win for the first time ever.