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

UMass offense awakens, still fall to Drexel

Usually it’s been the offense that has let the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team down.

On Saturday, it was the other way around.

The Minutemen (5-7, 0-4 Colonial Athletic Association) put together one of their top offensive performances of the season with 14 goals, but its defense could not stop No. 17 Drexel’s offense, leading to UMass’ 15-14 loss in front of 1,065 at Garber Field.

“We were not able to put it together out there on the field, offense and defense,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “We weren’t scoring, defense was playing great. Today, we scored and defense didn’t play great.”

The game itself was a tight, back-and-forth affair throughout, with no team ever leading by more than two goals.

The Dragons (9-3, 4-1 CAA) put together one of those two-goal leads with four minutes, 28 seconds remaining on a goal by Chris Frederick, but the Minutemen responded right back with a goal by Will Manny, assisted from Kyle Smith.

Then after UMass defenseman Jake Smith forced a Drexel turnover, the Minutemen had 3:24 to come up with the equalizer.

UMass tried to make the most of the opportunity with seven shots, but was unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Eventually, Dragons goalie Cal Winkelman made a save on a shot by Grant Whiteway.

The save appeared to mark the end of the game as Drexel was able to gain possession off of the save. Instead, the Dragons had one more turnover and the Minutemen had one more shot, but Smith’s whip didn’t go as time ran out.

“It kind of came by surprise because I was subbing from the box,” Smith said. “Then when they blew the whistle with five seconds, got up to Willy (Manny) and Willy threw it to me, I was just thinking do it as fast as I could. It ended up going off stick side and it ended up being a good shot on net. So the goalie actually made a good save on it.”

When the two teams battled to a 7-7 tie after a first half filled with runs, Cannella went with junior backup goalie Reed Goodhue, who has not played all season, instead of Zachary Oliveri.

Cannella said that Oliveri lacked the energy they needed from him in the first half, which prompted the change.

After shaking off the rust, Goodhue performed well for UMass. He came up with 11 saves in the second half and provided a spark, which Cannella said his team needed.

“We know Reed is always ready and that’s why I put him in there,” Cannella said. “It’s good to see him go in there and lead courageously and make some saves for us.”

On the offensive side of the ball, it was Whiteway who led the way with five goals. Smith chipped in with three goals and four assists while Manny had two goals and four assists. Connor Mooney also had three goals in what was a complete offensive effort throughout the squad.

“The offense played awesome today,” Whiteway said. “We were moving the ball awesome, finding each other and just everyone trusted each other today, and I think that was the biggest thing. They just made more plays than us in the end.”

Whiteway came out on fire in the fourth quarter with a pair of goals, which gave the Minutemen back the advantage at 13-12. But Drexel then responded with three straight goals to take the lead for good.

Mooney started off the scoring in the third quarter, giving UMass an 8-7 lead. Then, Whiteway followed that up with his third goal of the afternoon.

Drexel responded with a two-goal spurt to tie the game at nine. After UMass had taken an 11-10 lead, the Dragons closed out the third with a pair of goals to take a 12-11 advantage into the final quarter.

Leading the way for the Dragons was Ben McIntosh (five goals), Nick Trizano and Frank Fusco (three goals each), and Robert Church and Frederick (two goals apiece).

Winkelman made 11 saves in net.

Despite the end result, Smith was happy with the offense’s performance.

“When we play in rhythm and all together and trust each other, it’s pretty easy. Today, the offense came easy today,” he said.

He later added, “I guess it builds more trust. You wish you had this earlier in the season, but I’m proud of how we played today.”

Cameron McDonough can be reached at cam[email protected] and followed on Twitter @Cam_McDonough.

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