Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Defense turning into scoring for UMass

It’s no secret that Massachusetts men’s soccer coach Sam Koch spends most of his effort focusing on the defense.

His coaching style makes it possible for UMass (5-4-3, 2-2-0 Atlantic 10) to replace almost the entire backfield with new players or veterans who didn’t see much time last season without compromising his area of emphasis. However, shutting out a team doesn’t do a whole lot of good if the team isn’t scoring.

The Minutemen run into a problem offensively without a go-to scorer who will lead the A-10 in goals. The closest UMass has to a primary scorer is senior Mark DeSantis, who has three goals on the season, but has been sick for the past two weeks.

That leaves the defense with no choice but to take matters into its own hands, and recently, that’s exactly what it has done.

“Everybody has to do their part,” Koch said. “Just because you play in the back doesn’t mean you can’t score goals. I’m happy the [defense scores] because we don’t score a lot of goals. It doesn’t matter who puts them in.”

Out of seven players who have scored this season, four of them (Andrew Henshaw, Sam DeNormandie, Dominic Skrajewski and Stuart Amick) have experience in the backfield this season. One player who is nearly as valuable as junior Ben Arikian with his playmaking abilities is sophomore Mark Dangleis.

Dangleis is tied with Arikian with three assists on the season, all of which have come on timely goals. His first assist of the season came on Sept. 1 in a tie against then-No. 24 Boston University.

Dangleis, who at the time wasn’t a starter, threw a flip throw-in to DeNormandie, who headed the ball in for his second career goal to put the Minutemen up early. He also contributed to the lone goal UMass scored in its win against Xavier.

More recently, in the 2-0 win over Saint Joseph’s, he helped set up the Minutemen’s second goal off a corner kick.

The defense’s contribution to the offense comes from set pieces. Dangleis takes a majority of the corner kicks and uses his flip throw-in to get the ball further down the field.

“It’s just a different service into the box, and we have tall guys that can get [to] the other end of it,” Dangleis said.

Being left-footed also puts him at an advantage when it comes to finding teammates.

One of Dangleis’s favorite targets is fellow defender Henshaw, who stands at six feet tall.

“Mark seems to keep on finding me, and I don’t mind,” Henshaw said. “I like getting the goals in there, so hopefully he keeps finding me.”

The sophomore has used A-10 play to become an offensive threat on his own, scoring in both of UMass’ conference wins, as Dangleis helped Henshaw set up both goals in the last two weeks.

The first came against the Musketeers, where Henshaw scored the Minutemen’s lone goal, and his second came as added insurance in the win over the Hawks.

“All I have to do is time myself, and put the ball in the back of the net,” Henshaw said referring to connecting on Dangleis’ passes.

However, the Dangleis-Henshaw connection is only the most recent example of how UMass’ defense has become its offense.

Skrajewski, one of the Minutemen’s incoming freshmen, had no expectations as far as playing time was concerned. But during training camp, he worked his way into the starting lineup and contributed immediately – on both sides of the ball.

The freshman earned Koch’s trust, and has played a key role in the offense at times. Skrajewski has five shots on the season, and notched his first goal against Colgate on Sept. 29 as UMass rolled its way to a 3-0 victory.

As the Minutemen begin the final five games of their season, Koch will expect his defense to be as solid as it has been so far. But in order to be in the top tier of the A-10, some of the scoring will have to come from the back.

Adam Miller can be reached at amiller@dailycollegian.com.

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