The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team opened its preseason schedule against St. John’s Saturday, toppling the Red Storm, 11-8, in the first four scored quarters. The exhibition was not scored in the fifth quarter.
SJU coach Jason Miller’s visiting squad took an early 3-1 lead at Garber Field, but the Minutemen were in control of possession for a majority of the game. After Steve D’Amario and Colin Fleming scored to tie the game, UMass never looked back.
The Minutemen were much better in the second quarter, in control of possession, and strong on defense. Junior attacker Will Manny scored two goals to put UMass on top. Terence Leach pulled one back for the Red Storm, but Art Kell quickly got the Minutemen’s sixth soon after.
However, frustration mounted in the remaining two scored quarters for UMass. The Minutemen continued to put pressure on the SJU defense, but couldn’t quite find the perfect combination to find goals.
Anthony Biscardi got on the score sheet, and Manny completed a hat trick before the game was over.
However, in a game where the Minutemen dominated the shots, groundballs, and face-offs, coach Greg Cannella came away less than pleased.
“When you face a competitive group like St. John’s, your guys need to be ready,” said Cannella. “Not sure we were quite ready early on in terms of expecting what they were going to bring to the table, so I’m a little disappointed in that.”
Even though UMass amassed 52 shots to SJU’s 17, many of them were off target, and those allowed the Red Storm to hang around. The Minutemen only put 35 attempts on goal, with the Red Storm net-minders making 24 saves.
“We have to work hard for every one of our contests,” said Cannella. “We can’t afford to throw one of those opportunities away. My expectations are the same always. To work hard, to move on, to try to get better through the entire season.”
The Minutemen now have one more exhibition game to prepare for their season, which begins against Siena on Feb. 4. Cannella will be looking for his seniors to step up more as his leaders move on to the regular season.
“Honestly, our seniors need to be great leaders every year,” said Cannella.
Jeffery Okerman can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @MDC_Okerman.