Scrolling Headlines:

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

Towson stonewalls UMass men’s lacrosse in CAA Championship; Minutemen season ends after 9-4 loss -

May 6, 2017

Zach Coleman to join former coach Derek Kellogg at LIU Brooklyn -

May 5, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse advances to CAA finals courtesy of Dan Muller’s heroics -

May 4, 2017

Extra passes earning Minutemen success this season

In the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team’s season-opening 15-12 victory against Sacred Heart, the Minutemen attack almost always made the extra pass.

“We’re always going to struggle with [assists],” UMass coach Greg Canella said. “Last year we didn’t have many assists at all, but we put an emphasis on that this year.”

It was evident from the early going that UMass attempted to fill in for the loss of last year’s leading scorers, Tim Balise and Jim Connolly, with an abundance of passes which resulted in more shot attempts.

The Minutemen (1-0) focused on making the so-called “hockey assist” – a strategy that means making the extra pass before shooting – and the comeback win at Sacred Heart shows that it’s paying off.

“With better ball movement within the offensive sets, I think we’re going to get the better opportunities, and better shooting opportunities,” Canella said.

UMass had 34 shots on net in the win, but a total of 55 shots for the entire contest.

“Make the pass that creates the assist, you don’t always have to get the assist,” Canella said of his offensive philosophy. “It’s really a mindset for our guys.”

Bobby Hayes and Art Kell are tied for the team’s lead in shots, but also wound up as the team’s leading scorers. Hayes, UMass’ leading scorer returning from last season, had a career-high four goals from the midfield position. Kell also set a career-high with a hat trick, while also adding an assist in the winning effort.

Although Kell is only a sophomore, he is the most experienced on the UMass attack and demands much of the defensive attention. At 6’2”, Kell is a big target for the midfield, but shows the quickness to be able to play from behind the net.

Midfielder Ryan Hantverk had nine shots in the first game of the season, scoring two goals in the contest. The junior showed off a powerful shot when he lined up with Sacred Heart’s Zach Frank from the top of the box and still put the shot past the Pioneer’s goalie.

Garber Gorillas

UMass athletic teams have been called by a few different names over the seasons: the Minutemen or Minutewomen, the Maroon and White, or even more affectionately, the ‘Mass Attack.’

Excellent play at Garber Field, however, has earned the men’s lacrosse team the moniker ‘the Garber Gorillas.’ This weekend, the Minutemen are playing against Hartford where they first earned the nickname – Garber Field.

“I like it,” Canella said with a smile. “Anything with the Garber name thrills me. Coach Garber, as my coach and mentor, we keep his name within the program and regard it highly.”

The field is named after legendary coach Dick Garber, who roamed the UMass sidelines from 1955-1990. Garber racked up a career record of 300-141 and ranks third all-time in NCAA coaching wins.

While the nickname does make a correlation between the UMass players and rugged animals that live in the jungle, the Minutemen are satisfied with the name because of the success they have had with it.

The name comes from a marketing ploy based of an event back in 1969 when a UMass player’s girlfriend wore a gorilla suit with the player’s jersey to a game, and then the nickname took off.

“It stuck from that day on,” Canella said. “The fans love it, the people love it and hopefully the gorilla will show up for the game and we’ll keep that tradition going.”

Neil Carroll can be reached at nacarrol@student.umass.edu.

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