November 6, 2013

LEC Semifinal Preview: #1 Women's Soccer vs. #5 Eastern Connecticut State University

2013 Little East Conference Semifinals
#1 UMass Boston Women's Soccer vs. #5 Eastern Connecticut State University
Thursday, November 7-1:30 p.m.
Clark Athletic Field—Boston, Mass.

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UMass Boston is looking to avenge its lone conference loss of the season as they prepare to take on fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.

THE SERIES:
UMass Boston and Eastern Connecticut will matchup for the 22nd time on Thursday, in a series that dates back to 1995. While the Warriors hold an 18-1-2 lead all-time, the Beacons have earned their lone win and a tie in the past four meetings.

POSTSEASON HISTORY:
Thursday's Little East Conference Semifinal marks the third time the Beacons and Warriors have met in the postseason and third time in the past five years.

Second-seeded Eastern Connecticut knocked off #3 UMass Boston 4-0 in 2009, before the Beacons returned the favor in 2010. The fourth-seeded Beacons slipped by the top-seeded Warriors 3-1 in penalty kicks, after drawing 1-1 through the first 110 minutes, to become the first women's soccer team in Little East Conference history to advance to the championship game as a fourth seed or lower. Then freshman Sam Cristoforo (Rockland, Mass.) recorded the final successful penalty kick in the huge draw against a Warriors team that was ranked eighth in the nation.

LAST MEETING: 1-0 EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE, OCTOBER, 5 ,2013
Kaitlyn Kennedy scored three minutes and twenty second into the contest and the goal held up, as Eastern Connecticut State earned their first Little East Conference win of the season with a 1-0 victory. Despite outshooting the hosts 11-6 and 8-2 on shots on goal, UMass Boston couldn't avoid their first shutout loss in 31 games. Chelsea Santos made eight stops on the afternoon to push Eastern Connecticut State to 6-4 on the year.

LAST UMASS BOSTON WIN: 1-0 UMASS BOSTON, OCTOBER 13, 2012

Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) scored with 10:08 remaining in regulation to lift UMass Boston to their first ever win over Eastern Connecticut State. Ledin connected on a give-and-go with Tayla Andrews and her shot just slipped by Warriors goaltender Mackenzie MacLeod, who partially made the save. UMass Boston dominated the contest with a 20-6 shot advantage and 10-5 edge in shots on goal.

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS:
Fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State (9-8-1, 3-4) is making their 13th straight Little East Conference Semifinal appearance under head coach Chris D'Ambrosio. After a 6-4 start to the season, the Warriors have struggled down the stretch, going 3-4-1, including dropping two of their final three Little East Conference games. On the year, the Warriors are just 2-5-1 in true road games and 4-6-1 away from Mansfield, Connecticut.

The Warriors earned a spot in the LEC Semifinals by defeating #4 Western Connecticut State University 1-0 Tuesday evening. Freshman Hailey Lehning scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season off a pass from senior Tamar Merheb and Chelsea Santos made four stops in net. With a win against the Beacons, Eastern Connecticut State would become the first fifth seed or lower to advance to the Little East Conference Women's Soccer Title Game.

SCOUTING THE BEACONS:
Top-seeded UMass Boston is looking to advance to their third Little East Conference Championship Game in the past four years, after finishing the regular season with another 6-1 conference record. The defending LEC Regular Season and Conference Tournament Champions wrapped up their second straight Little East Conference Regular Season Crown Saturday, when they knocked off Rhode Island College 7-0, behind three goals from Ledin and two from Tayla Andrews (Plymouth, Mass.).

UMass Boston leads the Little East Conference and stands 28th in the nation with their 3.16 goals per game, while sitting tied for second in the LEC with their .92 goals against average. Ledin (32 goals and 69 points) and Andrews (17 goals and 41 points) rank first and second in the LEC in goals and points, while Crisotoforo, Amanda Pugliese (Pembroke, Mass.) and Andrews are all in the top five in the conference in total assists. Junior goaltender Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) ranks second in the LEC in goals against average (.97) and save percentage (.823), behind only Eastern Connecticut State's Santos (.80 GAA, .857 Save %).

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

UMass Boston is riding a program-record nine-game winning streak into the contest that started the game after losing to Eastern Connecticut State.  The Beacons have outscored their opponents 37-8 during their nine-game streak.