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May 10, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to Brown University in OT thriller

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team answered the bell each time it trailed during Saturday’s contest with Brown University at Garber Field.

Despite erasing a pair of two-goal deficits, including fighting back to tie the game at nine and force overtime, UMass (3-5) walked off its home turf in defeat after freshman Jack Kniffin beat Minutemen goaltender D.J. Smith to give the Bears (4-3) a 10-9 victory.

“Brown’s a good team. They deserved the victory today,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “They made one more play than we did us. That’s kind of how it goes in overtime. We thought if we won the face off, maybe we win [the game] right there, but it wasn’t meant to be. Our guys played hard and played well.”

Trailing 9-7 with 7:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Minutemen came storming back with a pair of goals from sophomore Tyler Bogart and junior Buddy Carr to force overtime. Bogart’s second goal of the game came just 22 seconds after the Bears capped off a 4-0 run with goals from Kniffin, midfielder Stephen Hudak and a pair from sophomore Michael Panepinto.

The Minutemen won the opening faceoff in the extra session but turned the ball over and gave Brown possession and the chance to walk off victorious.

“It’s always tough losing a one-goal game in overtime like that,” defenseman Isaac Paparo said. “We’re down a couple, we fought back. We were up and then they fought back. It’s just a game of runs. That’s the way lacrosse is. It’s fun to be apart of, but it always sucks to lose like that.”

The Minutemen took a 7-5 lead after Jeff Trainor (two goals) scored on a bounce shot that beat Brown goalie Phil Goss (18 saves).

UMass held Brown to just 10 goals despite the Bears averaging 16 goals per game heading into Saturday’s match-up. Paparo and the Minutemen defense had the difficult task of defending Dylan Molloy, regarded as one of the nation’s top attackman.

“I’d say it was a success to only hold them to 10 goals, but it wasn’t enough,” Paparo said.

Molloy for the most part was held in check, but scored his lone goal of the contest with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Smith made a career-high 16 saves, eight in each half. Paparo corralled four groundballs and forced three turnovers.

UMass fired off a season-high 49 shots, forcing Goss to make 18 saves, but it was the first time in four games the Minutemen failed to score double-digit goals.

“The ball movement we have in our offense, whenever people are sliding to us and we’re moving the ball fast, I feel like we’re unstoppable,” Trainor said.

The Minutemen trailed 2-0 out of the gate, but battled back to tie after first quarter goals from sophomore Ben Spencer with a man-up and Trainor. Grant Consoletti (goal, two assists) scored after the Bears went back up 3-2.

UMass scored the lone two goals in the second quarter with tallies from Bogart and midfielder Dan Muller to give it a 5-4 halftime advantage. Muller totaled a career-high five points, with three assists complementing his two goals.

“In the last two games, we came back in both games and were able to push forward. We weren’t able to finish it today,” Cannella said. “To tie it up at nine, we wish we were able to do that. There’s a lot of confidence there coming off the last two games, but we battled all day. Both teams were battling. Ultimately when you look at it, both teams turned the ball over a bunch, but we turned it over at bad times.”

“There’s no moral victories in lacrosse,” Trainor said. “Any loss is a tough one. I’m very proud of my teammates and we trust our coaches. It was a great game but we just fell on the wrong side of it. A tough one, that’s just the way it goes.”

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at kdaluz@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.

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