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

Oliveri hopes for chance to bounce back for UMass after being pulled last weekend

Taylor Snow/Collegian

Zachary Oliveri’s first season as starting goalkeeper for the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team has been full of new experiences.

He had to battle in the preseason just to earn his starting job, and like any player transitioning to the collegiate level, he’s adjusting to more talented opponents and enduring the grind of a long college lacrosse season.

Oliveri experienced another first on Saturday when he was pulled at halftime in favor of backup Reed Goodhue after allowing seven first-half goals in a 15-14 loss to Drexel.

It was the first time in the freshman’s lacrosse playing career that he’s been pulled from a contest, and it’s one he’d rather not experience again.

“That was the first time and it was an eye-opener,” Oliveri said.

After the game, UMass coach Greg Cannella said he thought Oliveri lacked energy on the field, which prompted him to make the switch.

Oliveri agreed with his coach’s statement.

“I was lacking a little intensity the past couple times I’ve been out there,” Oliveri said. “The intensity wasn’t there and that’s what focus comes from is intensity, it’s a result of that. That’s what Reed’s there for, we’re gonna push each other, work together and get better – both of us.”

Cannella declined to say who would be starting in goal against Hofstra on Saturday, but said on Tuesday that it would have to be earned in practice throughout the week.

If Oliveri does get the nod on Saturday, Cannella expects him to respond well and play with a chip on his shoulder.

“He should be, he better,” Cannella said. “I wouldn’t take it well if I got pulled. He’s got a lot of pride, he works hard, he expects a lot out of himself so I’m sure that he is.”

It’s the first time since the preseason that there is some uncertainty over who will get the start in goal. But Oliveri is open to the competition and sees it as an opportunity to improve.

“That’s what’s gonna help me push myself and get better,” he said. “I don’t mind that. Me and Reed are gonna work together, both of us can do the job and that’s what we’re gonna do to get better.”

Oliveri has started all 12 games for the Minutemen (5-7, 0-4 Colonial Athletic Association) and has made a strong first impression. He’s currently fourth in the CAA with an 8.56 goals against average, and also holds a .557 save percentage. He was on pace to have arguably his worst performance of the season against the CAA’s top offense last week until he was taken out at halftime.

Cannella hoped to spark his team when he made the switch for the junior and was happy with his overall performance. There were still struggles at some points, however. While Goodhue cleared the ball well and made some solid leg saves, he also gave up some soft goals in the loss.

“We’ve done it in the past over the years when we felt that we did need a spark,” Cannella said of switching goalies. “You can’t read into it that much, you wanna make sure that your goalie works hard and is confident.”

Cannella said confidence is the biggest key for either goalie and will help whoever gets the start on Saturday play well in a crucial game.

Oliveri, while supportive of Goodhue as a friend, hopes to learn from this experience in order to push himself harder than ever retain his starting job and take the field on Saturday as an improved player.

“You learn from everything,” Oliveri said. “You’re gonna learn from every mistake and that’s what the coaches are here for and the players are here for is to have my back and help me work through it.”

Nick Canelas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *