Nov. 2, 2009
BOSTON, MA - The third-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston women's team will host sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the quarterfinals of the Little East Conference Tournament on Tuesday, November 3 at 2:00 p.m. at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston.
The Beacons' number three seed is their highest position in the LEC tournament ever as they host a conference quarterfinal match for the second straight season. UMass Boston is currently 13-4-1 on the season, including 5-1-1 in LEC play to establish school records for overall victories and league wins. The Corsairs are making their fifth appearance in the LEC tournament and are 6-11-1 and 2-5-0 on the season. The Beacons defeated UMass Dartmouth, 2-1, in the teams' only meeting of the season on September 26 at the Clark Athletic Center. Senior midfielder Kristi Morales (San Francisco, CA) and junior forward Tina Gillen (Carver, MA) each netted goals for UMass Boston, while Jamie Ledin (Bridgewater, MA) prevented the shutout for the Corsairs to make it 2-1. Junior keeper Michelle Cain (Essex, MA) made four saves for the Beacons, while Jen Warren (Somerset, MA) stopped seven shots for UMass Dartmouth.
UMass Boston is making its second tournament appearance and is 1-1 with a 4-0 quarterfinal win over the Corsairs as the number four seed in 2008 and a 4-0 semifinal loss at Western Connecticut State. UMass Dartmouth is 0-4 in tournament play.
The Beacons are enjoying their best season in school history, which included a school-record unbeaten streak of nine straight matches from September 15 to October 10. The team has set school records for goals (55), assists (39), points (149), shutouts (eight) and goals against average (0.93). UMass Boston's defense has been one of the biggest reasons for its success this year. The team ranks third in the Little East Conference in goals against average and owned a streak of 456:18 minutes without a goal allowed from September 26 to October 17, which included four consecutive shutouts. The Beacons have seen a pair of defenders earn LEC Defensive Player of the Week accolades with sophomore Samantha Place (Newton, NJ) earning the honor for October 19-25 and classmate Taylor Massmann (Kingston, MA) garnering the accolade for October 5-11. The LEC Goalkeeper of the Week award has been given to a UMass Boston keeper four times this season with Cain receiving the hardware for September 28 to October 4 and October 4-11, while senior Jessica Penta (Revere, MA) has been bestowed the honor for the weeks of October 19-25 and October 26 to November 1. Three of the Beacons' shutouts have come against LEC foes (0-0 at Eastern Connecticut State University on October 3, 1-0 vs. Western Connecticut State on October 10 and 5-0 vs. Rhode Island College on October 31).
UMass Boston's offensive output has been outstanding as well with an average of 3.06 goals per game to lead the conference and rank 30th in the nation. The Beacons have five players with 10 or more points for the first time in school history, led by sophomore forward Kristin Mulry's (Holbrook, MA) 33 points, including 15 goals to lead the LEC in points and goals per game with 1.83 and 0.83, respectively. The second-year player has been named the LEC Offensive Player of the Week twice this year and already has a pair of hat tricks this season as just the second UMass Boston player to make that claim in program history. She is flanked by Gillen, who was a Northeast-10 All-Conference selection for Assumption College a year ago and is making an All-Conference bid this year as well with 22 points on eight goals and six assists to rank amongst the LEC leaders in points (fifth), goals (seventh) and assists (fourth). She also has three game-winners to tie Mulry and the rest of the league for third. Sophomore forward Julienne McCuish (Mashpee, MA) has had a breakout season with 16 points, including 11 in her last five contests. She ranks third on the team with five markers and has a share of the team assist lead with six. She also cracks the league's top 10 leaderboard in points (ninth) and assists (fourth). Sophomore midfielder Molly Kuchar (Ashville, NC) has been one of the Beacons' top playmakers with a team-leading six assists to build on her career record total of 13. She also has three goals in a season that saw her miss the first three matches with mononucleosis. Place, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, leads the UMass Boston defenders with six points on two goals and a pair of assists and is joined by sophomore transfer Alex Deware (Needham, MA), who has been a shutdown defender, starting all 16 matches she has appeared in, despite battling injuries. Sophomore Stephanie McGrath (North Attleboro, MA) is also having an All-Conference caliber season in the backfield for the Beacons. Cain owns a 0.92 goals against average to go with a .857 save percentage to lead the conference in both categories, while posting a school-record matching three shutouts and a new program standard for wins with seven. Penta has been fantastic as well with a 0.94 GAA and a .750 save mark, while owning a 6-2-0 record. She has not allowed a goal in her last 410:14 of play, which is just 65 seconds shy of Cain's record, set earlier this season.