Nick Mariano scores in OT to lift UMass men’s lacrosse over OSU

By Peter Cappiello

Cade Belisle/Collegian File Photo
Cade Belisle/Collegian File Photo

Nick Mariano rolled left from behind the cage around teammate Grant Consoletti, who set a pick to open up space in the dying seconds of overtime. Mariano, a freshman on the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team, powered ahead, his stick in his left hand, before turning for a high release of the ball on goal from inside 10 yards and into the back of the net.

It was a walk-off winner with seven seconds on the clock.

The attack spread both his arms in a flying motion after the goal, his fourth of the game, as his teammates mobbed him for a dog pile in celebration of UMass’ dramatic 12-11 win over the Buckeyes on Sunday in the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Minutemen (2-0) improved 3-0 all time against Ohio State.

“They were zoning us at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “It was a little bit of freelance. Grant Consoletti just wound up back there and set a pick.”

Mariano struggled for words to describe the feeling of netting his first collegiate hat trick as well as his first overtime goal in just his second career game, but said it’s only increased his confidence. He leads the team with six points and six goals through two games this season.

“It’s a big win for us,” Mariano said. “It puts us in forward motion and it’s great that we come out with the W against a great team like Ohio State.”

Senior Matt Whippen, who scored his first three goals of the season on Sunday, said the win is rewarding because his team was considered an “underdog.”

Senior midfielder Joe Calvello keyed UMass in face-offs, going 19-for-27 (70 percent) on the draw against the Buckeyes, who used six different players to total eight face-off wins.

Calvello was 6-for-13 (46 percent) against Army last week. He said the biggest difference this time around was facing a long pole instead of a short stick.

“Facing a long pole, they’re going to get after your hands,” Calvello said. “They’re not going to let you get up the field, they’re more physical. I took a beating (Sunday), I was getting slashed every play. For short stick, it’s more technical.”

Cannella said Calvello did a great job preparing for this week’s matchup.

“I don’t think you can overlook a guy who wins 70 percent of the face-offs in a game,” Cannella said. “He’s a heck of a competitor.”

The defense also did its part, holding Jesse King, the Buckeyes’ (0-2) leading scorer, to one assist.

Mariano’s third goal put the Minutemen ahead, 10-7, with 12:24 to go in regulation, but OSU senior attack Adam Trombley’s three-goal outburst helped lead a comeback that forced overtime.

Whippen and Mariano scored the game’s first two goals, while Buckeyes junior attack Reegan Comeault got his team on the board with 34 seconds left in the first quarter to make it a 2-1 game.

Both sides struggled to establish a flow from there as the game was tied twice in the second frame, which ended with a 5-4 advantage for the Minutemen. Second half goals by Andrew Sokol and Connor Mooney were quickly answered, leaving UMass with an 8-7 lead after three quarters.

The Minutemen return to Amherst for their home opener against Harvard at Garber Field on Saturday.

Peter Cappiello can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @petecapps.