April 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass faces do-or-die situation Friday on Senior Night

Bryn Rothschild-Shea/Collegian

Brett Tobin gets goosebumps every time he steps onto Garber Field.

Being a senior on the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team, he’s done it countless times, but the feeling is always just as special.

On Friday at 7 p.m., Tobin and his seven classmates will walk out to Garber one last time to be honored on Senior Night before the Minutemen (6-7, 1-4 Colonial Athletic Association) face Delaware to close out the regular season with a shot at making the CAA Tournament on the line.

Tobin couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s gonna be pretty awesome,” he said. “Knowing it’s the last time I’m stepping out there, being a night game, it’s gonna be something pretty special as it is every time.”

UMass is currently fifth in the conference standings following its 9-8 win over Hofstra last weekend and will need some help in order to move into the fourth and final CAA Tournament spot. The Minutemen not only need a win over the Blue Hens (5-9, 1-4 CAA) on Friday, but they also need losses from both the Pride and Saint Joseph’s on Saturday night against Penn State and Towson, respectively – all very realistic scenarios.

With that in mind, UMass’ sense of urgency is high. And it’s planning to take care of what it ultimately can control in order to extend its season and the careers of the seniors.

“I’m not ready for it to end, I don’t think any of the seniors are,” Jake Smith said. “We want to do everything in our power to give ourselves a chance to keep playing and at this point the only thing in our control is the game on Friday night, so we’re doing everything we can.”

While the stakes may be higher, the Minutemen’s approach and preparation won’t change a bit.

“You can’t say this game is more important than last week or the week before,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “If you’re gonna prepare for teams the way that we want to then you’re preparing yourself to get ready to play. And yes, our seniors and our upperclassmen have to play well.”

But in order to make it happen, the Minutemen will need to overcome a formidable Delaware squad that features the third-best offense in the CAA, led by senior midfielder Nick Diachenko, who has 33 goals and 37 points for the season.

Diachenko is fifth in the CAA with 2.36 goals per game, and Cannella considers him “one of the best midfielders in the country.”

Despite the losing record, the Blue Hens have given some of the top teams in the nation a run for their money, including then-No. 1 Loyola, which they lost to by a mere goal. They’ve also suffered one-goal losses to other quality opponents such as Bucknell, Towson and Drexel.

“Their season is hinged on four or five one-goal games, they’re a very athletic team, they’re well-skilled, they have some of the top players in the country in my opinion on their team,” Cannella said. “So we expect them to come in here and play well.”

UMass comes into Friday’s game full of anticipation. This is especially the case for the seniors, whose careers rest on one final game at Garber just to have a shot at another postseason run heading into Saturday night’s games.

Because of this, the seniors are making it their responsibility to handle what they can control.

“Yeah, the urgency is there, we need to do well, we need to win, so it’s definitely gonna be heightened I think to pull out the win,” Tobin said. “It’s gonna be us seniors that have to make the plays.”

Smith, in particular, has mixed emotions heading into Friday. Yes, he’s excited to play for a chance at the postseason. But it also means he’s about to play his last game at Garber Field.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s coming to an end this quickly,” Smith said. “It kind of just sprung up on us but I’m gonna be ready to play. I’m already excited, I can’t wait.”

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

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