Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Tough road continues for UMass

By Melissa Turtinen

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Ideally, a coach has a week to prepare between games, but Massachusetts men’s lacrosse coach Greg Cannella had one day of practice to get his team ready to play Albany Tuesday afternoon.

The UMass-Albany game has been played on a Tuesday for seven of the eight games the teams have faced each other. The series is tied, 4-4, with the Great Danes leading 2-1 the series in games played in Albany.

The No. 14 Minutemen (3-1) are coming off a 7-3 victory against then-No. 12 Harvard on Saturday. Senior goalkeeper Doc Schneider, named the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week, had a career-low three goals against and made 14 saves in the game.

‘It’s a tough mental and emotional battle to get yourself ready to play again for both teams and hopefully we can travel well, get there and go out there and play a good game,’ Cannella said.

Since 2004 every game between the teams has been decided by one goal, the first four were in favor of Albany, but UMass took a 9-8 win on March 11 of last year.

‘Anytime you’re in a game with them it’s going to be a dogfight,’ Cannella said. ‘In the last five years they’ve all been one-goal games. I wouldn’t expect anything different. I hope it’s different on our side, but I wouldn’t expect anything different.’

Albany, a team that sits just outside the top 20 (receiving two votes last week), also has momentum from the weekend, coming off a 15-12 win over Delaware last Friday.

Albany is a team that is very similar to UMass: both state universities, both have guys that work very hard and never give up,’ Cannella said. ‘They’ve built a great tradition over the last six or seven years. [Albany coach] Scott Marr has done a great job. They are a very talented team.’

In the Great Danes’ win on Friday, senior attacker Corey Small tallied a career-high eight goals, to bring his total to 12 on the season.

‘[Small] is a great finisher, a great all-around player. A lefty [that] has a cannon of a shot,’ Cannella said. ‘He’s not a big guy either, just an overall really strong player skill wise, very strong lacrosse sense wise. [The Great Danes] are looking for him to get going.’

Besides Small on attack, Albany (2-1) has freshman Joe Resetarits and sophomore Brian Caufield who combine to create a very strong attacking unit that has scored 32 goals off of 96 shots (33.3 percent) this season.

Defensively, Albany is backed by four-year starter Garrett Pedley and sophomore Mike Banks, who is a highly regarded defenseman for the Great Danes. In goal is freshman John Carroll, who has allowed 29 goals (9.43 goals-against average) this season.

‘They’ve lost a big-time goalie and big energy guy in Brett Queener and now they have a freshman in goal, makes them a little bit different,’ said Cannella.

The quick turnaround isn’t preferred by Cannella but in order to play the crucial matchup, Tuesdays are the only days that work for both teams’ schedules. With Saturday’s game at Harvard, the Minutemen got Sunday off and had practice Monday before traveling to Albany on Tuesday. Cannella stressed to his players to get enough rest, to hydrate themselves and to stay off their feet as much as they can get their leg strength and stability.

‘Hopefully you can recover in time to play, and if you can’t, these guys are young [so] they can bounce back,’ said Cannella. ‘[At practice on Monday] we walked through some things that Albany does to try and prepare for them and we can’t do too much because it’s too much on the guys.’

Melissa Turtinen can be reached at [email protected]

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