Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey falls flat in 5-0 loss to Northeastern -

January 20, 2018

UMass women’s track and field takes first, men fourth at Joe Donahue Games -

January 20, 2018

Sanzo: UMass’ game vs. St. Louis is a sign of what it is without its grit -

January 20, 2018

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by Saint Louis, 66-47 -

January 20, 2018

UMass hockey shuts down No. 8 Northeastern with 3-0 win -

January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

UMass men’s lacrosse opens season Saturday vs. Army

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

After an underachieving 2016 season in which it missed the playoffs, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team hopes to turn things around this year. The Minutemen’s season starts Saturday as they take on Army at 1 p.m. at Garber Field.

“I think the beginning of every year people are excited to play,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “For us, we’re different. We’re a spring sport so we train from September. You’re always training, but you’re training with them from September until February. So there’s a lot of excitement with everybody within the program. The guys are anxious to get back out there.”

He added, “We play some scrimmages in the fall and some scrimmages in the spring but they’re anxious to get back out there and do the real thing. This is the fun part.”

This will mark the seventh-straight season UMass has opened up against Army, making it a familiar non-conference opponent. The Minutemen are 4-2 in their past six matchups with the Black Knights.

“I think if you play a team that many years you develop rivalries and some familiarity with the style of the team you play but teams change,” Cannella said. “They’re different from last year just as we’re different from last year.”

Though UMass has the series advantage against Army, it has been the Black Knights who have had the Minutemen’s number recently. Army has won the last two matchups; last year’s game being tied 5-5 in the fourth period before the Black Knights tallied off four straight goals to give them a 9-5 victory.

“Every team is different every year,” senior defensemen Tyler Weeks said. “Every game is kind of a new one. Just got to prepare each year like it’s its own.”

Cannella knows his team will be motivated to avenge last season’s loss, but hopes they prepare diligently for every opponent they face this year.

“[Last year’s game] seems like a century ago to these guys, but hopefully they’re motivated for every game,” Cannella said. “It doesn’t matter who your opponent is because with the schools that we play. Everyone can beat us and we can beat everybody, so if you think someone’s not good, they’ll beat you. If you think someone is really, really good, maybe you prepare differently and you can beat them. So let’s prepare the same way for every game.”

The series with Army has given Cannella a good understanding of the way the Black Knights play. He feels they are a team that, when they come to town, you know what you’re getting.

“They’re tough, they’re well coached, they’re organized and the last two years they’ve put it on us,” Cannella said. “They’ve been very physical with us, two years ago at home they thumped us, last year was a closer game 5-5 in the fourth and then they score four straight. So you know what you’re getting with them. [They’re] high energy group.”

UMass will be led this year by Colonial Athletic Association preseason all-conference players Isaac Paparo and Weeks. Paparo, a sophomore long-stick midfielder, collected 27 ground balls last season, forced six turnovers and had five points. He was named to the all-CAA second team last season.

Weeks was a key member of the defense through the first eight games of the year last year, collecting 12 ground balls and earning two points before his season was cut short due to injury. He feels the team is ready to go at the start of the season.

“A lot of preparation went into this,” Weeks said. “I think we’re at a good spot. Everyone’s working hard day in, day out. It should be a good one.”

Thomas Johnston can be reached at tjohnston@umass.edu or followed on Twitter @TJ__Johnston.

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