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November 30, 2016

Minutemen finish GW in Warrior Classic

When his team needed him most, midfielder Christian Hain came through for the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team.

In his first career start for the Minutemen, Hain scored the game-winning goal with 33.5 seconds left on Saturday afternoon in the ESPNU Warrior Classic, propelling No. 16 UMass to a 13-12 victory over Georgetown.

After sophomore Steve D’Amario (two goals) tied the game at 12 with less than a minute and a half to go in regulation, UMass coach Greg Cannella called a timeout to set up a final offensive play.

“Coming out of the timeout, our plan was to go with the low wing dodge, to be patient and to push the ball behind and try to get it around,” Hain said. “I don’t know, I just got a stab, we had been practicing it all week, and I had my shot, took it and it went in.”

Hain sprinted 15 yards into the offensive zone, beating his defender on the left wing and bouncing a shot in the bottom right corner past Hoyas goalkeeper C.T. Fisher (nine saves) to give UMass the victory.

“He’ll remember that the rest of his life, [on] a big stage, big game [and] in crunch time, and I’m happy for him that he was able to finish the ball,” Cannella said.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Tim McCormack made nine saves in the win for UMass.

The victory snaps the Minutemen’s (8-4, 2-2 Colonial Athletic Association) two-game losing streak, while this is the second straight loss for the Hoyas (7-5, 3-1 Big East)

Both teams were former members of the Eastern College Athletic Conference, but are now in different conferences for the first time this season.

“We’ve had a great rivalry, and if you look back over the last 10 years, six or seven of those were decided by one goal, and it actually felt like a league game,” Cannella said.

Along with D’Amario and Hain, attackman Will Manny had his fifth hat trick of the season, while dishing out two assists, tying his career-high with five points. Senior midfielder Bobby Hayes (two goals, one assist) and sophomore Anthony Biscardi also had multi-goal games.

“We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys, and that’s really the key,” Cannella said.

Ryan Liebel (one goal, one assist), Greg Rushing and K.R. Jurgelevich each found the back of the net for the Minutemen.

UMass’ offense has relied mostly on its midfield as of late, with mixed results. But against the No. 10 Hoyas, the attacking unit contributed seven of its 13 goals, with Biscardi getting moved from midfield to attack.

Rushing started things off, winning his first of 12 faceoffs on the day and put the Minutemen up 1-0 six seconds into the game.

The Hoyas took a 5-2 lead in the second quarter, but UMass scored five of the last six goals in the first half, and led 7-6 at halftime.

In the first half, the Minutemen went a combined 9-of-15 in faceoff wins, but could not generate offense in the third quarter, with the Hoyas scoring just one goal.

The fourth quarter saw 11 combined goals from both teams, with UMass scoring the final three goals of the game, and scoring six in the period.

On the offensive front, the Hoyas were led by Andrew Brancaccio, who led all scorers with five goals

Biscardi scored his second goal of the contest, putting the Minutemen up 9-8 before the Hoyas scored three-straight goals to go up 11-9 with a little over nine minutes to go in the game.

But the Minutemen came back, with Manny, Biscardi and Hain scoring to give UMass momentum going into their regular season finale against Drexel on next Saturday.

The Minutemen also cut down on turnovers, something that had plagued them in their losses to Delaware and Towson. They committed just one in the fourth quarter, and 13 in the game.

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

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