Scrolling Headlines:

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

UMass football fall camp day four: Veteran offensive line boasts chemistry, looks to improve run blocking -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A colorful UMass homecoming -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Potential nighttime and weekend parking fee at UMass tabled -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day three: Ex-quarterbacks A.J. Doyle, Andrew Verboys continue transitions to new positions -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day two: Defensive secondary hopes experience, added depth brings greater consistency -

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UMass football kicks off day one of fall camp Monday -

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cyr: The time to start talking football is back again -

Monday, August 17, 2015

UMass football adds series with USF, Maine to future schedules -

Thursday, August 13, 2015

UMass men’s lacrosse with steady approach against No. 4 UNC

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team fell victim to its relatively weak schedule last season.

Taylor Snow/Collegian

The Minutemen (1-0) took full advantage of underachieving non-conference opponents and a down year in the Colonial Athletic Association on their way to an undefeated regular season and a conference title, but it inevitably cost them when they were handed the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament and fell to Colgate in the first round at Garber Field.

UMass responded to the criticism by adding big non-conference tests to its 2013 slate, arguably none bigger than the one this Saturday when the Minutemen take on No. 4 North Carolina in a neutral site game at Kennesaw State in Atlanta.

The Tar Heels (1-0) suffered a similar fate as UMass last year when their season ended on their home field in a disappointing loss to Denver in the first round of the tournament.

But UNC comes into this season with the top-rated recruiting class and high expectations. Senior attackman Marcus Holman has equally high expectations coming off a 74-point (39 goals, 35 assists) showing last season that accounted for 20 percent of the Tar Heels offensive output.

The captain has already made his presence felt early on this season as his two goals and six assists led UNC past Air Force, 16-8, in its season opener last weekend. The Tar Heels also got five goals from sophomore attacker Jimmy Bitter, and a hat trick from sophomore Joey Sankey and junior Ryan Creighton in the win.

“They have fantastic athletes,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said of UNC, “great team speed, great skill set. They play at 100 percent every play, so we’re obviously very impressed with their capability, but also the energy they play at and the enthusiasm they play at. It’s a fantastic team.”

The Tar Heels could potentially be the highest-ranked and most talented team the No. 12 Minutemen face all year. But Cannella has his players treating this game like any other regular season game.

“You have to. You gotta go play,” Cannella said. “We tell them the same thing about us, it doesn’t mean squat. Rankings don’t mean anything until the end of the year. So you gotta continue to try to improve.

“When you go into games like this you just gotta go play,” he said. “This is an outstanding opponent, it’s an opportunity for us, so now you gotta be able to go handle it and go play. If you look at all that other stuff then kids get overwhelmed.”

Senior attacker Kyle Smith echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying, “It’s just a regular game, and just another opponent.”

Saturday’s game against UNC, regardless of the result, is one that could potentially serve beneficial to the Minutemen in the long run.

“We definitely see it as an opportunity to prove ourselves against a very good team, but you can’t control who you put on your schedule so you just go out there and play against whoever,” Smith said. “The way we look at it is any team we play can beat us, so we have to go out and bring it every game.”

Like the Tar Heels, the Minutemen are also coming off a convincing 16-9 win over Army in their season opener on Sunday. However, what was missing was the contribution of their best players.

Smith and Will Manny were held to just a goal apiece, although Smith contributed with three assists. UMass got a majority of its production from its midfielders, which accounted for 14 UMass goals.

One of those midfielders, senior Colin Fleming, didn’t play on Sunday and didn’t fully participate in Tuesday’s practice. It is uncertain whether or not Fleming will play on Saturday.

No matter who is on the field this Saturday, Cannella is looking at this game the same way he would any other week against any other opponent.

“It’s like every other game,” he said. “It’s supposed to just prepare you and give you more experience for the future. You hope that is there for us, but you can’t treat it like it’s the biggest game of the year because it’s one of 14 games.”

Face-off is set for 1 p.m.

Nick Canelas can be reached at ncanelas@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.

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