Scrolling Headlines:

Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse needs another big game from goalkeeper D.J. Smith against No. 10 Hofstra

Katherine Mayo/Collegian

At the beginning of each season, the goal of every team is to make it to its respective conference tournament. The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team has a shot at securing a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament Saturday, and will have its hands full against one of the best teams in the entire country.

Beating the Pride is no easy task. They enter the game as the No. 10-ranked team, with only one loss to their name. Their victories have come from strong offensive play, as they lead the CAA with 11.55 goals per game.

Facing Hofstra’s high-powered offense, UMass goalkeeper D.J. Smith will surely be kept busy. Yet with the way Smith has been playing in cage, the Minutemen should have a lot of confidence he can get the job done.

After playing in just four games during his sophomore year and splitting time in cage last year, Smith won the full-time job this season and hasn’t looked back. The Billerica native is averaging 10.73 saves per game and boasts a .536 save percentage on the year.

What’s made Smith’s season so special has been his reliability. He has played every minute in cage for UMass with the exception of 36 minutes, 29 seconds in losses against Albany and Towson. While Smith knows he still has to earn his job each week, he finds it easier to get in rhythm by playing the entirety of games.

“I love playing the whole game, obviously,” Smith said. “It’s nice to say we might have a tough quarter or something and know you can stay in and bounce back a little bit.”

Having consistent goalkeeping play has helped turn what once was an inexperienced Minutemen defense turn into one of the team’s strongest units. As a goalie, it is on Smith to communicate with the rest of the defense, making sure they are lined up correctly.

“We’re getting more comfortable with the whole defense,” Smith said. “Having Isaac [Paparo] down low is huge. We’re getting more confidence as the year goes on as a team. We get to know each other more.”

Smith will be facing one of his toughest challenges to date with a relentless Hofstra attack. UMass coach Greg Cannella knows his team will need Smith to step up and make some saves if the Minutemen want to pull off the upset.

“[It’s a] tough chore [to defend them] because Hofsta puts out six guys that can score it and feed it,” Cannella said. “We’ll have to fly around and do our best and D.J.’s going to have to make some saves. They have some range too in their shooters. [Josh] Byrne is one of the best attackman in the country. That’s a formidable group.”

One way Hofstra gives defenses problems is its ability to feed the ball to shooters. The Pride offense is one that gets everyone involved, as they average a CAA-best 6.64 assists per game.

“They have guys who can beat you off the dodge,” Cannella said. “You slide to them and they have the ability to move it. It’s unique that you can put six guys out there who can feed it and score it. They have six guys out there who can do both.”

One of the ways Cannella has seen Smith improve over the years has been his outlook on the game. While many would have been discouraged by not being named a starter until their senior year, Smith has continued to work hard for his opportunity, and once he was given it, has ran with it and had his best season to date.

“Consistent attitude and confidence,” Cannella said when asked how Smith has improved in his four years at UMass. “He’s a guy that has worked very hard for this opportunity and appreciates the opportunity he has. He knows the window is closing in on him with this opportunity, he knows he won’t play lacrosse after this year. He appreciates it and takes advantage of every second he has.”

Thomas Johnston can be reached at and followed on twitter @TJ__Johnston.

Leave A Comment