UMass men’s lacrosse comes back in fourth quarter to beat UMass Lowell
The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team outscored UMass Lowell 4-0 in the fourth quarter on the way to a 10-8 comeback win for the Minutemen’s first home victory of the season.
Attacker Tyler Bogart scored four goals for the second game in a row and midfielder Dan Muller earned a hat trick for UMass with the game-winning goal, coming with less than two minutes left to play.
“It’s good to see,” Minutemen coach Greg Cannella said of the comeback. “Every game we play is going to be a battle, so it’s good to see them come back from a couple goals down, face some adversity, stick together, and eventually come out on top, making some big plays.”
Cannella said UMass’ strong play on the defensive end helped set up the comeback, as it limited scoring opportunities for the River Hawks and goalkeeper D.J. Smith saved the only shot on target in the final quarter.
“I think our defense played really well in the fourth quarter,” Cannella said. “D.J. Smith was excellent throughout the game, Noah Rak won three out of four faceoffs in the fourth quarter as well. A combination of that and we finished a couple good opportunities. We had opportunities the whole game and finally finished a few.”
Bogart and Muller made up most of the UMass offense, scoring seven of the 10 Minutemen goals, while they both also grabbed an assist on one of each other’s goals.
“Consistent play from both of those guys,” Cannella said. “Those guys have been our leading scorers all season, so they’ve been consistent game-in and game-out and we hope that continues.”
After Bogart scored the first goal of the game, UML scored the next three goals before junior Buddy Carr found the back of the cage in the final minute of the opening frame to make it 3-2 River Hawks after one.
UMass fell into a three-goal hole in the second before it got another goal in the final minute, this time from Bogart, to make it 6-4 at the half.
Cannella said the Minutemen struggled with possession in the second quarter, leading to their 14 turnovers, tying the season-high that came against Army in the season opener.
“In the second quarter we were very sloppy with the ball, very unsure of ourselves with the ball,” Cannella said. “Lowell did a good job, you got to give those guys a lot of credit for it. They were able to disrupt some of the flow on offense and we didn’t handle it very well. Fortunately we handled it a bit better in the second half.”
UML struck first to open the second half but UMass responded six seconds later when Rak took the faceoff down the field and scored after his pass deflected off a River Hawk stick.
UML and the Minutemen then exchanged goals in the quarter before the frame ended with a slashing penalty by William Russo that helped spark the UMass comeback.
For the second straight game the Minutemen’s special teams played well, killing the only man down opportunity and scoring on the only man up chance.
“Special teams are a huge part,” Cannella said. “We only had one penalty and they only had one penalty, so it’s a pretty clean game. But when those opportunities come, they came in the fourth quarter for us, that was an important goal to kind of propel us to the comeback.”
Midfielder Isaac Paparo shined defensively for UMass, scooping up two ground balls and forcing three turnovers, including a big open-field hit on Billy Lafferty that helped kill off the man down situation.
“Isaac is another guy, he’s very consistent in his approach every day, no surprise that he’s consistent on the field game-in game-out,” Cannella said.
The Minutemen will look to make it a three-game win streak when they travel to play Hartford on Saturday. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Jamie Cushman can be reached at email@example.com, and followed on Twitter @Jamie__Cushman.