Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s lacrosse opens season with 16-5 win over Holy Cross -

February 13, 2016

Just another night at the Mullins Center for UMass hockey -

February 13, 2016

Three-goal second period sinks UMass hockey in defeat against Northeastern -

February 13, 2016

SLIDESHOW: Tyrone Parham Sworn in as Police Chief -

February 12, 2016

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to Army 9-5 in season opener -

February 12, 2016

UMass Police Chief Tyrone Parham ‘optimistic’ as University prepares for Blarney -

February 12, 2016

UMass revises guest policy in advance of ‘Blarney’ weekend -

February 12, 2016

Jabarie Hinds gives UMass men’s basketball a lift in upset win over VCU -

February 11, 2016

UMass men’s basketball overcomes late VCU surge in 69-63 win -

February 11, 2016

Offensive vandalism found in Integrated Learning Center -

February 11, 2016

Nominations for SGA elections will remain open until Feb. 19 -

February 11, 2016

SGA, MassPIRG work together on open source textbook initiative -

February 11, 2016

Civil rights activist Cornel West to speak at Smith College -

February 11, 2016

Uncertainties surround UMass men’s lacrosse as it kicks off season against Army -

February 11, 2016

New face, same old ‘Havoc’: UMass basketball ready to face familiar style of play against VCU -

February 11, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse begins season with high expectations, seeking eighth straight A-10 championship -

February 11, 2016

UMass hockey players react to news of next year’s trip to Belfast -

February 11, 2016

UMass women’s basketball falls to La Salle, drops 11th straight game -

February 11, 2016

‘Havoc’ returns to Mullins Center as UMass men’s basketball prepares for VCU -

February 11, 2016

Bernie Sanders already making history as Jewish candidate -

February 11, 2016

Special teams to play vital role for UMass against Drexel

Success in lacrosse isn’t always determined by a team’s ability to function in even-man situations.

While the No.9 Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team excels on special teams offense, No. 13 Drexel is one of the toughest teams to beat on the penalty kill in the Colonial Athletic Association.

A win this weekend puts the Minutemen into a good position for good seeding in the conference tournament.

UMass (8-4, 2-2 CAA) boasts a conference-best 45-percent man-up scoring percentage, tallying 17 goals on the man-advantage.

Attackman Kyle Smith and midfielder Bobby Hayes account for nine of those goals.

Saturday against Georgetown, the Minutemen won, 13-12 but needed to score the final three goals of the game to do so.

“I thought we needed to be more athletic on the attack side,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said of the Minutemen’s win against Georgetown last Saturday.

“In starting D’Amario right of the bat, hopefully we’ll instill some confidence in him. We bumped up Christian Hain into the first group with Bobby Hayes and Ryan Hantverk and that’s a formidable group.”

In that game, the Minutemen scored on their only extra-man opportunity of the game and allowed the Hoyas two extra-man opportunities, one of which resulted in a goal.

The two penalties were an improvement, however, for a UMass team that averages four per game. The Dragons (9-4, 2-2) average just under five

Outside of goalkeeper Mark Manos (7.90 goals against average, .607 save percentage), defenseman Dana Wilbur (45 ground balls, 11 caused-turnovers) brings ball-hawking skills that can stifle numerous offensive runs put together by opponents.

As well as handling themselves on the defensive side of special teams, six different Dragons have multiple man-up goals on the season.

Conference Differential

Both UMass and Drexel have trouble defending against conference opponents. Each have 36 goals against them in conference play.

“It’s our first year [in the conference] and the two teams we’ve faced for the first time in conference, we’ve lost to,” Cannella said. “So we put the challenge [to break that trend] out to the guys this week.”

The Minutemen average 17 turnovers per-game against conference opponents but Tim McCormack’s .581 save-percentage in conference game is 20 points higher than his overall.

Another constant during conference play is the tandem of attackmen Will Manny and Anthony Biscardi.

Manny has most of the minutes previously held by sophomore Art Kell, whose season ended due to a leg injury as UMass began conference play. Since then, Manny has nine goals, six assists. He also leads the conference with 3.75 points per-game in conference games.

The only blemish to Manny’s conference numbers is his 16 turnovers.

Biscardi has seven goals, five assists, while starting in all four conference games this season.

Defenseman Diogo Godoi and Casey Rahn have led the UMass defense through conference play, amassing 14 caused-turnovers, 20 ground balls, second only to face off midfielder Greg Rushing, who leads the conference with 21 ground balls during CAA play.

 Mike Gillmeister can be reached at mgillmei@student.umass.edu.

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