Minutemen complete perfect regular season

By Jackson Alexander

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The No. 2 Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team etched itself into the record books on Friday night in the team’s 17-6 win at Delaware.

UMass (13-0, 6-0 Colonial Athletic Association) concluded the regular season with its first perfect record since 1969, when former coach Richard F. Garber led his squad to a 10-0 record. In addition, the 13 wins UMass amassed this season ties a school record for most wins in a season.

“There was no talk about it,” said UMass coach Greg Cannella of his team’s reaction to the achievements. “I think when the season ends, maybe you can talk about that stuff, but we’re focused on Towson.”

Junior attacker Will Manny led the way for the Minutemen with one of his best games of the season, as he tallied a game-high six goals and added a pair of assists.

However, the Blue Hens (6-9, 1-5 CAA) shut down UMass’ leading scorer early, as Manny went the first 27 minutes of the game without a point.

“Anytime he came to the goal line they guarded him pretty closely,” said Cannella.

He was bottled up by the Delaware defense, most prominently by long stick defender James Connelly. 

“The game was very choppy, as well; there were a lot of penalties in the first half … maybe that played into [Manny’s drought] a little bit as well,” said Cannella.

At the 3:13 mark of the second quarter, Manny finally registered his first point of the game with a goal. Once he was on the board, though, he took off.

Manny went on a rampage between the 3:13 mark of the second quarter and the 7:26 mark of the fourth, as he scored all of his points during that stretch and had a hand in eight of UMass’ 11 goals.

During that time, the Minutemen turned a 5-1 lead into a 16-5 stranglehold.

“That was what he expects, and what we expect… solid all around,” said Cannella, who deemed Manny’s performance “excellent” and “consistent.”

“I thought he did a great job of letting the game come to him, because he did most of his damage there in the second half, so the flow of the game started to come to him a little more,” said Cannella.

UMass held complete control of the game from beginning to end, and for the eighth time in its 13 games, the Minutemen did not trail once.

Both teams started off slow, but UMass held a 3-1 lead over Delaware after a quarter.

The Minutemen opened up the game in the second quarter, as they outscored the Blue Hens 4-1, and took a 7-2 lead into halftime.

Delaware started the scoring in the second half and cut the deficit to four on a goal by Carter Bloor. However, the Blue Hens were unable to get any closer from there.

Anthony Biscardi, Mike Fetterly and Manny scored consecutive goals to push the lead back to seven. Then, after the teams traded goals, Manny ended any hope of a comeback for the Blue Hens with back-to-back-to-back goals between the third and fourth quarter, making the score 14-4 in UMass’ favor.

Biscardi aided Manny on offense with one of his best games of the season. The senior midfielder came off the bench to score four goals and added an assist. Kyle Smith (two goals, two assists) and Art Kell (two goals, one assist) were the other Minutemen contributing multiple goals.

Senior Tim McCormack was his usual self in net, as he stopped 11 shots in just over 54 minutes of play. Reid Goodhue played the final five minutes and 15 seconds and made two saves.

Cannella applauded his squad’s defensive effort, calling it “a good game plan from Doc Schneider and good execution from our players.”

“We always talk about those short stick [defensive midfielders], and our poles played great yesterday as well,” said Cannella.

Grant Kaleikau, Delaware’s top scorer, was held to just one goal and one assist.

“Jake Smith did a nice job on Kaleikau, and Tom Celentani and Greg Anderson continue to play very well and Tim was solid in the goal,” said Cannella.

Bloor provided much of the offense for the Blue Hens, as he recorded a hat trick. Three other Delaware players scored a goal apiece, while Brett Anton took the loss in net, making 10 stops.

Thanks to losses from both Duke and Loyola over the weekend, UMass is expected to vault to No. 1 when Monday’s polls are released. Loyola was ranked No. 1 in both polls last week while Duke closely trailed the Minutemen at No. 3.

UMass has a chance to break the school record for most wins in a season when it hosts Towson on Wednesday at 7 p.m., in the CAA semifinals. The Minutemen enter the tournament as the top seed. The Tigers clinched the fourth and final playoff spot when Hofstra fell to Penn State, which eliminated the Pride from playoff contention.

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