Nov. 1, 2011
BOSTON, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Boston women’s soccer team will begin their run to a Little East Conference title on Wednesday, as the fourth-seed Beacons host the fifth-seed Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth at 2 p.m. on the Clark Athletic Center Field. UMass closed out their regular season with a 12-6-1 record, 3-3-1 in the LEC, while the Corsairs finished their regular season schedule with a 7-10-2 record, 2-4-1 in the LEC.
For the Beacons, this is the second straight season where they will compete for a conference title as the fourth-seed. Last season, after hosting the first-round, the Beacons upset conference favorite Eastern Connecticut State University in the semi-final round in penalty kicks. They then became the first time in history of the Little East Conference tournament to advance to championship game as the fourth-seed.
This season, the Beacons showed that they are truly one of the top teams in the Little East Conference. Head coach Amy Zombeck is confident that her team can make another run deep into the playoffs.
As a team, the Beacons have outscored their opponents 51-13 this season, with freshman forward Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) leading the way with her conference best 18 goals and 40 points. A Rookie of the Year candidate, Ledin has been dominant in her rookie season, recording three consecutive hat-tricks against conference opponents Rhode Island College, the University of Southern Maine, and UMass Dartmouth. She also managed a hat trick against Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the Beacons final regular season home game.
Also helping to solidify the Beacons offensive third is senior Kristin Mulry (Holbrook, Mass.). The program’s all-time leading scorer, and only 100 point earner, Mulry currently stands with nine goals and five assists this season. Tayla Andrews (Plymouth, Mass.) also ranks as one of the Beacons leading playmakers, with her five goals and six assists.
In the middle-third sophomore Sam Cristoforo (Rockland, Mass.) has been solid all season. With her team leading six assists, Cristoforo has helped to make the UMass midfield one of the most dangerous in the league. Also helping to secure the midfield this season has been seniors Brie Cavanaugh (Belchertown, Mass.), Molly Kuchar (Asheville, N.C.), and Julienne McCuish (Mashpee, Mass.). Combined the three senior members have recorded seven goals and seven assists respectively. Their ability to control the speed of play will be essential if UMass is to make another deep run in the conference tournament.
Truly one of the focal points of this year’s squad has been the back-four. Led by senior Samantha Place (Newton, N.J.), the Beacons defense has held a total of 11 opponents scoreless, with only one match going the full 110 minutes (10/28 at Plymouth St.). Helping to secure one of the top back-lines in the Little East is Alli Modzelewski (Newtown, Conn.), Brittany Spencer (West Brookfield, Mass.), and Jamie Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.).
Between the goal posts, will be none other than freshman standout Dani Perkins (Murrieta, Calif.). The program leader in shutouts in a season and in a career, Perkins has played 1,676 of the possible 1,766 minutes this season. With a 12-6-1 record, Perkins ranks amongst the top goalkeepers in the conference. Her 65 saves has earned her a .833 save percentage, while her mere 13 goals against, has given her a 0.70 goals against average.
For the Corsairs it has been Erica Jonasson that has dominated the offense this season, with her 12 goals. Shelby Friedland ranks second on the team with five goals, followed by Jillian Van Ness with four. Stephanie Borges has seen a majority of the time in goal this season, having started in 15 of the 19 games played. In 1,255 minutes of action, Borges tallied 92 saves (.274 save percentage), while giving up a combined 35 goals against (2.51 gaa).
The winner of Wednesday’s match will travel to Keene State College on Friday to face the Owls in the semi-final round. The winner of that match will play on Sunday in the championship game. The championship team will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which is scheduled to begin next week.