Men’s lacrosse victorious in home opener at Garber Field

By Jackson Alexander

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

On Saturday, the Will Manny Show made its first stop at Garber Field of the season.

The junior attackman tallied three goals and four assists as the No. 10 Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team defeated then-No. 12 Bucknell, 11-9.

Manny’s seven-point performance followed an even more impressive 10-point game in the team’s previous contest: a 12-9 win at Army. He also eclipsed 100 points for his career during the game.

UMass (2-0) burst out of the gates, taking an early 2-0 lead on a pair of Kyle Smith goals in the first seven minutes.

Smith ended the game with his second straight hat trick of the season, and continued his campaign for a breakout junior season by tallying three goals and one assist.

Senior Mike Fetterly and Manny registered the assists on Smith’s goals.

Fetterly had his best game in a Minuteman uniform. He scored one goal and added three assists, breaking his previous career-high of three points in one game.

“He’s always been on that second line midfield, but he’s definitely one of the leaders over there,” said Manny of Fetterly.

After UMass’ two quick goals, Bucknell gained the momentum as David Dickson responded with an unassisted goal just 43 seconds after Smith’s second goal.

Chase Bailey scored the equalizer just minutes later as the Bison tied the score with 4:41 remaining in the quarter. Neither team registered a goal for the remainder of the quarter thanks to efforts of both defensive units.

Bucknell goalie Kyle Feeney (13 saves) made a spectacular save on Manny with just 15 seconds left in the half. Manny had received a pass just outside the crease and found himself one-on-one with Feeney. Manny tried to beat the goalie low, but Feeney dropped to his knees and blocked the groundball with his left leg.

Both teams began the second quarter by trading man-up goals, as Colin Fleming tallied from Manny, and Bailey scored on a Billy Eisenreich assist.

With the score knotted at three, Manny scored his first goal of the game when he found an empty net after Feeney chased a ball outside of the crease. The ball was deflected into the air in Manny’s direction, who simply deflected the ball into the net.

With under two minutes remaining in the half, UMass freshman Grant Whiteway tallied a vital goal, and gave his team a 5-3 cushion heading to break. The goal was Whiteway’s first of his collegiate career.

Smith converted on his hat trick goal early in the third quarter on a feed from fellow attackman Art Kell.

At this point, the Minutemen had scored five of the last six goals, and it looked as if they’d cruise to victory.

However, the Bison proved to be a resilient bunch as they scored the final two goals of the third quarter to cut the lead to two, heading into the final frame.

UMass seized initial control of the fourth quarter as Manny scored back-to-back goals, to make the score 10-6.

But Bucknell again fought back, scoring three of the next four over the course of five minutes. With 4:21 remaining the Minutemen led 11-9.

This score would hold for the remainder of the game. Tim McCormack (six saves) stopped the Bison on multiple occasions and UMass ran down the clock when they had possession of the ball.

Bucknell had an opportunity late in the game, as Eisenreich nearly tallied his fourth goal of the game. With 3:26 remaining, he maneuvered to the front of the crease, for an open shot attempt. However, the opportunity was thwarted by McCormack, who made a nice stick save on the attempt.

“That was huge,” said UMass coach Greg Cannella. “Anytime he can make a save and get it up and out is great for us.”

From that point on the game was never in doubt as the Minutemen ran out the clock.

While senior midfielder Anthony Biscardi failed to show up on the scorer’s sheet, his physicality was a huge factor in the game.

“We asked our leaders to lead by example this week and they did,” said Cannella of Biscardi. “He made some big hits.”

His bone-crushing check at midfield early in the game resulted in a turnover and an eventual goal by Smith. He delivered a number of other vicious checks throughout the course of the game.

Eisenreich was Bucknell’s shining star as he recorded three-second half goals to go along with three assists.

Peter Burke, Dickson and Bailey added two goals apiece for the Bison.

UMass had three man-advantage opportunities, and scored goals on all three. In contrast, Bucknell had two instances where they failed to register a single shot with a man advantage.

The Minutemen will now hit the road to face off versus an Ohio State team, fresh off of upsetting then No. 5 Denver on Sunday.

The Buckeyes didn’t make the preseason Inside Lacrosse Top 20, however, they now hold the No. 12 spot after their 3-0 start to the season.

Jackson Alexander can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Alexander.