March 7, 2015

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UMass men’s lacrosse embraces extended time off

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegian

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegian

Rest is something that’s often hard to come by in the middle of a lacrosse season.

But the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team, which is in the midst of a 14-day layover, has made the most of the time to improve and reflect on the season thus far.

“We got to focus on the nicks that we really haven’t done too well this year and worked on what we struggled with,” short stick defensemen Ryan Izzo said. “It was a good chance for us to look back on previous games and understand what we need to do better for the upcoming part of the season.”

The No. 12 Minutemen (7-2, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) currently are in second place in the CAA, after an 8-6 victory over Penn State earlier in the season. UMass, which has four games remaining on its schedule, is entering the roulette of conference play with the race for first wide open.

Hofstra currently sits atop the conference with a 6-3 overall record and a 3-0 record in CAA play.

However, head coach Greg Cannella isn’t worried too much about the timing of the break for the Minutemen and is more interested with the way his team will perform throughout the rest of the year.

“The way you approach every game is the same, had this break happened a week or two weeks earlier we would have gone about it the same way,” he said.

Earlier this season, UMass endured a stretch of playing five games in just a 12-day period. The Minutemen saw it all during that stretch, including a 25-10 loss against Albany, a grind it out win against a top-five team in the country and everything in between.

“It’s good for us coaches because there are a lot of things we can go through from the 12 day, five game stretch that you can’t really work on because you are focused on the (preparation) and trying to rest guys,” Canella said.

Izzo compared this stretch of the season to how the Minutemen approach their fall ball routine of only practicing with the team and not having to focus on one specific opponent.

“We’ve been itching to get back onto the field since last game,” Izzo said. “This was a good week for us in term of the team aspect, it really built out commodore back up and gave us both the mental and physical break we needed.”

The Minutemen return back to a normal scheduled week as they prepare for the Towson game this Saturday at Garber Field. When asked about how the rest will affect his team Cannella simply responded with “we’ll see Saturday.”

Andrew Cyr can be reached at arcyr@umass.edu, and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

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