Dartmouth, Mass. -- The UMass Dartmouth women’s soccer team begins its quest for the 2018 Little East Conference tournament title on Tuesday evening, as the fifth-seeded Corsairs clash with fourth-seeded Southern Maine in league quarterfinal round action at Hannaford Field in Gorham, Maine that kicks off at 7:00 pm EDT.
First-year Head Coach Elise Cloutier guided her squad to an overall mark of 7-7-5 in regular season play, including a 3-2-3 slate in Little East action, as UMass Dartmouth enters the post-season with a 4-2-4 mark in its last 10 outings. The Corsairs are making their eighth straight trip to the conference championships, as Cloutier’s crew is seeking its first Little East tournament title and the program’s fourth berth in the NCAA Division III championship field.
Junior midfielder Ella Rath (Pawcatuck, Conn./Stonington) leads UMass Dartmouth in scoring with 10 goals and a pair of assists for 22 points, as four of her tallies have been game-winners during the regular season. Fellow junior midfielder Nerida Montrond (Lynn, Mass./Brockton) is also in double figures in the points column for the Corsairs with a trio of tallies and five assists for 11 points, while senior tri-captain Courtney Hewitt (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro) has chipped in with a pair of markers and a helper for five points to date.
Senior tri-captains Kayla Loycano (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) and Maddie McGee-Cochran (Lunenburg, Mass./Lunenburg) lead an experienced defensive unit for Cloutier, as each have been named as the Little East Defensive Player of the Week during the course of the campaign. UMass Dartmouth has allowed one or fewer goals in 13 of its 19 contests to date, including six total clean sheets along the way.
Sophomore Jaimee O’Brien (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) has been a solid last line of defense for the Corsairs this fall, as she has amassed six victories and four ties while making 98 saves for an .845 saves percentage. O’Brien, the Little East Goalkeeper of the Week on September 3rd, has posted a 1.09 goals against average and five shutouts in nearly 1,500 minutes of action in the UMass Dartmouth cage.
The Corsairs will be looking to avenge a 1-0 regular season setback to Southern Maine suffered back on October 13th at Hannaford Field, as the Huskies enter the post-season with a school-record 13 victories against four losses and a tie under first year Head Coach Seth Benjamin. Southern Maine recorded five of their triumphs in Little East play, and like UMass Dartmouth enter Tuesday’s quarterfinal match on a hot streak with a 6-1-1 mark this month.
The winner of Tuesday’s contest advances to the Little East semifinals to take on top-seeded Western Connecticut on Friday, November 2nd at the Westside Athletic Complex in Danbury, Conn. Tuesday’s other quarterfinal match will see third-seeded UMass Boston host sixth-seeded Castleton, with the winner advancing to square off with second-seeded Eastern Connecticut in Friday’s second semifinal that will also be played at Western Connecticut. The two semifinals winners will meet for the 2018 Little East title on Saturday, November 3rd and the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
For more information on the 2018 Little East Women’s Soccer Championships, please visit the league’s Championship Central page at www.littleeast.com.