Sept. 23, 2009

Courtesy of UMass

AMHERST, Mass. - After steadily climbing throughout the first month of the season, UMass field hockey (5-2) has reached No. 10 in the latest Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll released on Tuesday. Head coach Justine Sowry's Minutewomen, who were ranked 17th in the preseason poll, and then 15th and 11th in the next two polls, haven't been ranked as high in nine years.

The last time UMass was ranked as high in the poll was when it came in at #8 in the Nov. 7, 2000 poll. UMass reached a high of #7 on Oct. 3 of that season.

After posting a 1-0 victory over #20 Providence in the season opener on Aug. 29, the Minutewomen hosted Boston University and #9 Iowa the weekend of Sept. 4-5. UMass dropped a hard-fought 3-2 overtime decision to the Terriers before knocking off the Hawkeyes the following day, 4-3. The last time the Minutewomen defeated a higher ranked opponent was on Sept. 30, 2000, a 2-1 victory over #7 UConn at Garber Field.

A #15 ranking in the Sept. 8 poll resulted, and UMass carried that into its first road games of the season on Sept. 11 and 12 against Albany and #12 James Madison. Great defensive play in both resulted in a pair of 1-0 victories and gave the squad a 4-1 record.

The Minutewomen then reached #11 in last week's poll, which they took into a big home weekend series against Northeastern and #9 Boston College. UMass won convincingly over the Huskies on Saturday, 4-0. On Sunday, the Minutewomen scored first, but eventually fell in overtime to the Eagles, 2-1, in a hard-fought contest.

Despite the loss and all of its seven opponents being among the top 26 vote-getters in the NFHCA poll, UMass' 5-2 record is tied for its best start since 2000.

The two-time defending Atlantic 10 champions return to action this weekend when they travel to Vermont on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game and to Quinnipiac on Sunday for a 3 p.m. contest.

Potts Named A-10 Player of the Week
Junior defender Makaela Potts (Sydney, Australia) was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Monday for her efforts over the weekend that saw UMass go 1-1. The 2008 All-American recorded a career-high four points on one goal and two assists in a 4-0 win over Northeastern with her mother, Trudy, and twin sister, Kirsten, visiting from Australia to watch her play for the first time.