Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

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

Upperclassmen look to lead on Senior Day, rest of season

On any team, senior leadership is essential to being successful.

Just ask the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team.

Last season, the Minutemen (7-2, 2-0 Colonial Athletic Association) reached their 18th NCAA Tournament, thanks in part to a senior class that was one of UMass’ best ever.

Goalkeeper Doc Schneider and attackmen Jim Connolly and Tim Balise helped the Minutemen with their play on the field, while setting the tone for underclassmen and seasons to come.

This season, UMass has gotten consistent play from its six seniors, who will be honored this Saturday when the No.7 Minutemen host Towson riding a four-game winning streak at Garber Field.         

“It’s a really good group, and fortunately for us right now, the seniors are playing their best lacrosse that they have,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said.

Midfielders Bobby Hayes and Christian Hain have been instrumental in the offensive zone, helping the Minutemen bolster a young offense that is averaging 13.3 goals per game, good for sixth in the NCAA.

Hayes, a captain and four year starter for UMass, has 16 goals and nine assists, while Hain (eight goals, six assists) has led the second line of midfielders and has helped them find the back of net.

The Minutemen have just 15 upper classmen on their roster, and lost a significant amount of goals from Connolly (39 goals), Balise (31) and Evan Blum (14).

That being said, players like Hayes and Hain have helped underclassmen in adjusting to the college game, along with Schneider and midfielder Joe Reale, who are now coaching some of their former teammates as assistants for the Minutemen.

“We ask our guys, our seniors, to hopefully have that ability every year, so there’s a good leadership group, they play the right way,” Cannella said.

Along with Hayes and Hain, fifth-year captain defenseman Diogo Godoi has 18 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers, and played an instrumental role in the win against Penn State last weekend. Godoi intercepted a pass which set up the game-winning goal, and was named to the Inside Lacrosse National Team of the Week and named UMass Athlete of the Week. Godoi also held the Nittany Lions’ leading scorer, Matthew Mackrides (25 goals, 30 points) pointless in the victory on Saturday.

Midfielder Kevin Wright has used his speed to transition to the defensive midfield in his senior year, playing in all nine games and grabbing eight ground balls.

Along with Wright, long stick midfielder Will Jeffery has helped in the defensive midfield and transition game. Jeffery, a transfer from Butler, has started all nine games this season, while recording seven groundballs, five caused turnovers and an assist against Harvard earlier this season.

Captain attackman Ryan Smith is a fulltime starter now after playing in just seven games in his first three seasons.

Smith has scored four goals this season, including his first career hat trick and first goals of his career against Hartford.

In four years, the senior class is a combined 28-24, including the 2009 ECAC Championship and the NCAA Tournament berth. Godoi, who redshirted in 2007 after breaking his hand, played in the 2006 NCAA Championship.

Kell’s status uncertain

After not playing in the victory over the Nittany Lions with a foot injury, sophomore attackman Art Kell’s status for Saturday’s game against the Tigers is still uncertain. Kell, who leads the team with 33 points, 21 goals and 13 assists, is 13th in the NCAA in points per game (4.13).

Kell is the only returning attackman from last season, starting alongside Balise and Connolly and registering 11 goals and three assists, leading all freshmen scorers.

David Brinch can be reached at dbrinch@student.umass.edu.

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