Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Monster 2nd half propels UMass

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

When Towson’s Andrew Hodgson notched his team’s second goal of the afternoon with 3.9 seconds remaining in the first half, it appeared that the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team would be in for a tight affair on Senior Day.

But a lot would occur between that moment and the final whistle, when the Minutemen walked off the field Saturday with a 14-3 win.

At the time of Hodgson’s goal, UMass held a 3-2 lead. With such little time remaining, it appeared that the score would hold entering halftime.

However, Anthony Toresco won the faceoff, then raced up the field and rifled a pass over to Kyle Smith, who was right on Tigers’ goalie Andrew Wascavage’s doorstep.

“I was just in front of the net and I tried to post up my defender, like in basketball,” said Smith.

Smith received the pass, and easily put the ball past Wascavage as time expired and the Minutemen rejoiced, as they took a 4-2 lead into the break.

“Momentum’s always huge in lacrosse,” said senior midfielder Greg Rushing. “Getting a goal like that … it helps the whole team.”

Towson and its coach Shawn Nadelen were baffled at how UMass could travel half the length of the field, and then pass and shoot in the span of 3.9 seconds.

An argument ensued, but the official opted to allow the goal, based on the fact that they had no evidence to prove that the clock was not started at the correct time or to convince officials that Smith had not gotten his shot off in time.

“It went a little slower for me, so it kind of felt like a minute,” said Smith. “I’ve got to check it on replay.”

The first half was marred by sloppy play by the Minutemen, particularly on the offensive side where they committed more turnovers than usual and shot the ball poorly.

“In the first half, we were turning the ball over in transition a lot, [and] attack wasn’t making smart decisions,” said Smith, who scored four goals and added two assists.

“We were happy with the way we played defense,” said UMass coach Greg Cannella. “We weren’t happy with the way we played offense.”

Despite the poor play, UMass used the goal scored in the final seconds to build momentum going into the second half.

When they ran out of the locker room for the final two quarters of play, they turned into a completely different team, and dominated in all facets of the game.

First of all, UMass held a sizable advantage over Towson in the most important statistic: the score. The Minutemen turned a two-goal halftime lead into an 11-goal win as they outscored the Tigers 10-1 in the second half.

“In the second half, we kind of buckled down, and got more offensive possessions. Then the goals just started coming,” said Smith.

Not only was UMass more efficient with the shots it took, it created more opportunities in the second half as well. They attempted 13 more shots in the second half.

“We were getting good opportunities in the first half, the goalie made a couple great saves and we missed the net a couple of times,” said senior defender Tom Celentani.

The Minutemen collected a large majority of the ground balls, as they picked up 16 to Towson’s seven in the second half. By comparison, UMass held a smaller 12-8 advantage on ground balls in the first half.

Their dominance on ground balls and effectiveness on faceoffs led to the Minutemen controlling the ball in the Tigers’ defensive zone for a majority of the second half. They claimed nine of the 12 faceoffs in the final two quarters of play.

“We were winning faceoffs, our offense was making good decisions.” said Rushing. “We made a lot of poor decisions in the transition game in the first half and I think we kind of settled down, and played a little more 6-on-6.”

One of the most revealing statistics of the game was clear attempts. Towson kept itself in the game in the first half by being able to clear and set up in UMass defensive zone as it went 10-for-10 on clear attempts. However, the defense of the Minutemen from the attackers and midfielders ramped up in the second half as the Tigers went 4-for-8 in the second half on clear attempts. Many of those clear attempts resulted in UMass goals.

“In the second half, we finished all our opportunities and we got stops when we needed to,” said Celentani.

When all was said and done, UMass took home the 14-3 win, despite showing some vulnerability for the first time in a few games.

Offensively, the Minutemen were led in the second half by Smith, who scored three goals and two assists, Kell, who had a pair of goals and a pair of assists, and Colin Fleming, who chipped in two goals as well.

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


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