After falling behind 4-1 early to Albany, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team used a 10-2 run to end the game, and came away with an 11-6 win Tuesday afternoon at Garber Field.
The Minutemen’s (3-1) defense rebounded after giving up 13 goals in Saturday’s loss to Yale by stepping up in the second half and allowing two Great Dane goals to pull away.
“The defense took it personally and they stepped up and played,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “Two goals in a half is pretty good in Division I lacrosse, I don’t care who you play against, and Albany has a ton of fire power.”
Despite giving up a hat trick in the first 17 minutes of the game to Albany’s (0-4) Joe Resetarits, the Minutemen held the Great Dane’s two other offensive threats, Dave Brock and preseason All-American Brian Caufield, scoreless in the contest.
“Our guys are pretty proud and they have a lot of pride, they work hard, I’m not surprised,” Cannella said. “We have certain expectations, they have expectations for themselves, so I’m just happy they were able to put together a good performance.”
While Albany’s offense was nearly shut down from two minutes into the second quarter until the end of regulation, the Minutemen’s attack got into a rhythm. After Resetarits notched his third goal of the game one minute, 55 seconds into the second period to go up 4-1, the Minutemen scored five unanswered goals, part of a 10-2 run to end the game.
Sophomore Art Kell (two goals, three assists) and senior Bobby Hayes (two goals, two assists) led the offensive attack with all-around play. With 4:01 remaining in the third quarter and the game tied at four, Kell converted on Hayes’s pass twice in less than a two-minute period to give UMass a lead it never surrendered again.
Ryan Liebel and Ryan Hantverk also added two goals apiece while Will Manny (one goal, one assist) and Anthony Biscardi (one goal, two assists) rounded out the Minutemen with multiple points in the game.
After Derek Kreuzer’s goal cut the deficit back to one with a minute left in the third quarter, Manny tallied his sixth goal of the game on the man-advantage and Liebel extended the lead to three at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Albany’s Joe Pompo added his fifth goal of the season shortly after, but three unanswered goals by the Minutemen in the final 8:22 of the game sealed the victory.
“I thought our guys played with a lot of intensity from the first whistle to the last whistle,” Cannella said. “It was kind of good to see our guys come back and rebound after a loss.”
Despite dominating in shots (26-7) and face-offs (9-1) in the first half, the Minutemen found themselves trailing by three goals two minutes into the second period.
The Great Danes took an early 1-0 lead when Resetarits scored an extra-man goal off a rebound. UMass’ Christian Hain responded with his fourth goal of the season, as he took a low shot from the point to beat Albany goaltender John Carroll (19 saves).
Kreuzer took the lead back on an unassisted goal with 4:57 left in the first quarter, the first of three unanswered goals scored by the Great Danes. Resetarits scored the next two goals of the game to give Albany the 4-1 lead early in the second quarter.
UMass responded with three unanswered goals of its own to end the half with a 4-4 tie.
“Albany owned us early, we took some shots, and [Carroll] had 14 saves in the first half,” Cannella said. “Our guys got frustrated but fortunately in the second quarter we scored three goals in that zone and they came out of it in the second half for the most part so again fortunately for us we put it in the back of the net.”
The win keeps UMass perfect at home this season where they play twice in the next week. First the Minutemen will see Harvard 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Providence on March 16 at 3 p.m.
Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at email@example.com.