Nov. 4, 2009
BOSTON, MA - The third-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston women's team will travel to Willimantic, CT to take on number two seed Eastern Connecticut State University in the semifinals of the Little East Conference Tournament on Thursday, November 5 at 3:00 p.m. on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State.
The Beacons' number three seed is their highest position in the LEC tournament ever as they play a conference semifinals match for the second straight season. UMass Boston is currently 14-4-1 on the season, including 5-1-1 in LEC play to establish school records for overall victories and league wins. The Warriors are making their 11th straight appearance, having appeared in every LEC tournament since its inception in 1999 and are 10-5-3 and 5-1-1 on the season. The Beacons played Eastern Connecticut to a 0-0 double overtime tie on October 3 in Willimantic, CT to snap a 13-match losing streak to the Warriors. Junior keeper Michelle Cain (Essex, MA) made one save for UMass Boston, while senior Kim Church (Farmington, CT) stopped two shots for Eastern Connecticut. The Warriors earned the second seed based on a tie-breaker of least goals allowed in LEC play between Eastern Connecticut and UMass Boston.
UMass Boston is making its second tournament appearance and is 2-1 in tournament play after defeating number six seed University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 4-0, on Tuesday, November 3. The Warriors have been no lower than the number two seed over the past nine seasons and are 7-8 in tournament history with a pair of league championships to their credit.
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 (59), assists (44), points (162), shutouts (nine), goals against average (0.88) and corner kicks (91). UMass Boston's defense has been one of the biggest reasons for its success this year. The team ranks first 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 3.11 goals per game to lead the conference and rank 38th in the nation. The Beacons have six players with 10 or more points for the first time in school history, led by sophomore forward Kristin Mulry's (Holbrook, MA) 35 points, including 16 goals to lead the LEC in points and goals per game with 1.84 and 0.84, 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 27 points on 10 goals and seven assists to rank amongst the LEC leaders in points (fifth), goals (fifth) 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 18 points, including 13 in her last six contests. She ranks third on the team with five markers and leads the squad with a school-record eight assists. She also cracks the league's top 10 leaderboard in points (eighth) and assists (second). Sophomore midfielder Molly Kuchar (Ashville, NC) has been one of the Beacons' top playmakers with 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 17 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 as just one of three players to start every match this season. Cain owns a 0.92 goals against average to go with a .857 save percentage to lead the conference in save percentage, while ranking second in GAA. She has also posted a school-record matching three shutouts and shares the new program standard for wins with seven. Penta has been fantastic as well with a 0.84 GAA and a .826 save mark to lead the LEC in goal against average and stand second in save percentage, while owning a 7-2-0 record. She has not allowed a goal in her last 5000:14 of play for a new school standard.