The No. 10 Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team reeled off nine of the final 10 goals on Saturday to pave the way to a 9-3 win over No. 12 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium to continue its roaring start to the 2012 campaign.
Colin Fleming and Kyle Smith each recorded hat tricks, while Tim McCormack collected a season-high 11 saves as the Minutemen (3-0) handed OSU its first loss of the season.
The Buckeyes (3-1) were in control early, as Dominique Alexander and Logan Schuss netted unassisted goals in the first seven minutes, 11 seconds of the game. However, Schuss committed a costly illegal body check penalty just 11 seconds after his goal to give UMass a non-releasable extra-man advantage.
That’s when the Minutemen caught fire. Fleming netted a pair of scores during the penalty to knot the score at two. Both scores came from virtually the same spot, as the junior rifled his shots past OSU goalkeeper Greg Dutton from straightaway.
It became a 3-2 UMass advantage after Will Manny scored in the closing seconds of the first quarter on a feed from Mike Fetterly to give the Minutemen its first lead of the day. UMass would not relinquish that lead.
The score remained 3-2 heading into halftime, as OSU failed to deposit any of its eight shots in the second quarter. McCormack stoned all three shots on goal to preserve the UMass edge.
Kyle Smith got in on the action midway into the third with his first goal of the game and Anthony Biscardi registering his second assist of the contest. With Manny getting much of the spotlight so far this season, Smith has been a consistent offensive force for the Minutemen. The junior has recorded at least three goals in every game this season, serving as the only member of the UMass squad to achieve that feat.
After Schuss made it a 4-3 game, Fleming completed his hat trick, giving the Minutemen a 5-3 cushion heading into the fourth quarter. Fleming shook off some physical defense, creating just enough of a shooting lane to fire home his third goal of the game.
From there, it was all UMass. The Minutemen deposited four unanswered goals to completely dominate the final frame. First it was Biscardi, followed by a pair of Smith scores and finished off by a Manny empty-netter, sealing the team’s second consecutive victory over a ranked opponent.
Manny added a pair of assists to his two-goal performance to give him a team-high eight assists and 20 points. Fetterly and Connor Mooney also contributed with two assists apiece.
The Buckeyes had been rolling heading into the contest, fresh off of its upset victory over then-No. 5 Denver. But UMass proved to be too much, dominating the final three-and-a-half quarters and outshooting its hosts, 32-26, on the afternoon.
The win concludes a brutal opening stretch for the Minutemen that included a 12-9 win at Army and an 11-9 decision over then-No. 12 Bucknell. Next up is a trip to Brown to take on the unbeaten Bears on Saturday before heading back to Garber Field for a pair of home games against Albany and Hartford.
Stephen Sellner can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @MDC_Sellner.