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November 15, 2017

Heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Hofstra ends UMass men’s lacrosse playoff hopes

(Daily Collegian/Katherine Mayo)

(Daily Collegian/Katherine Mayo)

The word ‘heartbreak’ would be an accurate description of the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team’s 10-9 overtime loss to Hofstra on Saturday afternoon.

With the fate of their season hanging in the balance, the Minutemen (4-8, 0-4 Colonial Athletic Association) found themselves down by one with less than one minute remaining in regulation.

The situation was easy: Win and keep the playoff hopes alive or lose and cap off an underachieving season.

UMass ran the clock down and with 23 seconds left on the clock, sophomore Buddy Carr, with two defenders draped all over him, launched a low shot past Pride (9-4, 3-1 CAA) goalkeeper Jack Concannon to tie the game at nine.

“It’s a big goal, I don’t think he scored till that time,” Minutemen coach Greg Cannella said. “So he scores with 23 seconds on the clock it’s a big play for a sophomore to make in that situation to make the play in zone defense. I thought ‘alright we’ll win the face off get a possession drive it out and get a goal.’”

Overtime went back and forth with neither team managing to take command of the game. But with 14 seconds remaining in OT, Hofstra attacker Brendan Kavanagh got past a Minuteman defender behind the cage and snuck a low, underhand goal past the legs of Sean Sconone.

“We kind of had the momentum going into overtime, we had that late goal and I though we had it,” Carr said. “We made the stop on defense early in overtime and we got the ball back, I thought we were going to put one home and end it right there, but we were unfortunately unable to.”

Sconone laid face down on the turf of Garber as the Pride bench rushed the field and mobbed Kavanagh.

The freshman goalkeeper made several impressive plays for UMass throughout the course of the game, finishing with 13 saves, three of which came in the fourth quarter.

He wasn’t the only freshman to make plays for the Minutemen on Saturday, with fellow classmates Tyler Bogart and Ben Spencer each scoring a goal. Spencer also had two assists off the bench.

However, no one on UMass felt the loss worse than its four seniors, Bob Fahey, Kevin Porzelt, Kurt Hunziker and Kyle Karaska, who played their final game at Garber.

“The last one on our field, it puts a little bit more pressure on, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better from our younger guys today,” Karaska said. “They really stepped up and made plays all over the field it was really awesome to see.”

Those that aren’t graduating still feel part of the sorrow of the senior class playing its last home game.

“I can’t say enough about the seniors and what they’ve done for this group and how they pushed us through this year and it just sucks to see them go especially on a loss like that on Garber,” Carr said.

In a game that featured six lead changes, UMass took 33 shots and was 2-for-3 when in man-up situations.

The Minutemen could not have asked for a better start, scoring two goals in the first 14 seconds of the game. Immediately off of the opening faceoff, Noah Rak had an unassisted goal and Brendan Hegarty put another one in the cage shorty after for his first of three goals on the day.

While the playoff hopes are no longer alive, UMass still has one more game remaining on its schedule. The Minutemen will head to Philadelphia this Friday to take on Drexel at 6 p.m.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at psanzo@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

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