Men’s lacrosse travels to face Brown

By Jackson Alexander

Another game, another test on the road for the No. 7 Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

On Saturday, the Minutemen will play their third road game of the season, when they travel to face Brown in Providence, R.I. Brown recently garnered consideration for this week’s USILA Coaches Top 20 poll, being one of the 10 teams outside the Top 20 to receive votes.

The Bears enter the game coming off of a season-opening 12-7 win over Quinnipiac.

“It looks like they’re playing well together, they’re very aggressive in the transition game they’ve been aggressive on defense always,” said UMass coach Greg Cannella.

Brown received contributions from a number of different sources  and were led by Dan O’Brien’s five-point (two goals, three assists) performance. Nick Piroli (three goals), Parker Brown (one goal, two assists) and Sam Hurster (two goals) also chipped in with multi-point games.

“They’re a little different than they were last year,” said Cannella. “They relied on one or two players last year. This year they have three, four, five or six guys that can really contribute.”

Parker led the Bears – who finished 6-8 overall and 2-4 in conference play – in scoring last season with 22 goals and 18 assists. They also retained Rob Schlesinger (12 goals, six assists) from last year’s team.

However, the Bears graduated Andrew Feinberg and David Hawley, last season’s second and third leading scorers, respectively. Both players were lethal goal scorers as Feinberg tallied 25 goals and 10 assists, while Hawley chipped in 18 goals and two assists.

Meanwhile, UMass is coming off of its most dominating performance of the season against then-No. 12 Ohio State. The team shut down a potent Buckeye offense en route to a 9-3 victory – its second in a row versus a ranked opponent.

Senior goalkeeper Tim McCormack had his best game of the season, as he stopped 11 of 14 shots on goal. In addition, the defensive unit of Jake Smith, Greg Anderson and Tom Celentani played suffocating defense on the OSU offensive group.

“We defended the ball really well, Tim played well keeping the ball out of the goal,” said Cannella.

Junior Will Manny again starred for the Minutemen, leading the team with four points with a pair of goals and assists in the win. Fellow juniors Kyle Smith and Colin Fleming each added hat tricks. Smith’s three-goal performance was his third straight with at least three goals. Midfielder Anthony Biscardi chipped in a goal and two assists as well.

Cannella pointed out that the offense struggled at times, and didn’t function as well as it did in UMass’ first two games.

“We didn’t play very well on offense the entire game, we were opportunistic, but we weren’t very good,” said Cannella.

The Minutemen found themselves in a first quarter 2-0 hole, but took advantage of a huge penalty by Ohio State.

“Down 2-0 we fought back,” said Cannella. “We took a big hit, then scored two man-up goals on non-releasable penalties, so we got ourselves right back in the game.”

The penalty was an illegal body check by Logan Schuss with seven minutes and 38 seconds remaining. UMass took advantage of the penalty with two straight goals by Fleming.

“He’s in that spot on man-up to score for us, he’s got a tremendous ability to finish the ball,” said Cannella of Fleming.

Manny added the Minutemen’s third goal right before time expired in the first quarter giving them a 3-2 lead. Neither team got anything going offensively in the quarter as the scored remained at 3-2 going into halftime.

However, UMass dominated the second half as it cruised to victory by outscoring the Buckeyes 6-1 over the final two quarters.

“We were ready to play,” said Cannella. “We knew Ohio State, what they were going to bring in terms of intensity.”

It’s an intensity that Cannella and the Minutemen look to bring on Saturday.

The game, which starts a 1 p.m. will be the home opener for Brown.

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