Six UMass members honored by ECAC

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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Doc Schneider found out on Tuesday that he was not one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy, the ‘Heisman Trophy’ of Division I lacrosse. But the standout Massachusetts men’s lacrosse goalkeeper didn’t go home empty-handed that day.

Schneider was among six UMass members honored by the Eastern College Athletic Conference on Tuesday as the league announced its awards for the 2009 season.

The senior stopper, who ranks second in the nation in save percentage, was named ECAC Goalie of the Year. Jim Connolly (Offensive Player of the Year) and Greg Cannella (Coach of the Year) were also honored, as were attack Tim Balise and defender Diogo Godoi, who were named to the ECAC First Team. Midfielder Bobby Hayes was named to the Second Team.

Schneider, who helped lead UMass to the 2006 national championship game, became the first player in school history to win the award. He paced the ECAC in both save percentage (65.8) and goals-against average (7.30) to become one of the original 21 finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy. He won the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week Award six times and was named to the ECAC First Team after two straight years on the second team.

Connolly became the third Minuteman to win the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year award (Chris Fiore in 2003, Sean Morris in 2005 and 2006), helping lead UMass to the conference title with an ECAC-leading 35 goals. He came through when his team needed him the most, netting three game-winning goals.

Cannella, in his 15th season as head coach of the Minutemen, takes home his league-record fourth coaching award. He also won the award 2004, 2002 and 2001. He didn’t win the award in 2006, but was named the USILA National Coach of the Year after a runner-up finish in the NCAAs.

Balise scored 30 goals, tying for second place in the conference. The senior led the ECAC with 33 goals last season, which also ended with a first-team selection.

Along with Schneider, Godoi helped UMass boast one of the stingiest defenses in the country this season. The 7.77 goals allowed per game by the Minutemen ranked No. 9 in the nation. He generally had the responsibility in defending the top goal-scorer for each opponent this season and provided a number of big hits on defense.

Hayes led the Minutemen in assists with 14, finished third on the team with 25 points and was one of just six players with double-digit goals (11).

Eli Rosenswaike can be reached at [email protected]