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

Win-and-in situation looms for UMass men’s lacrosse against Delaware

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian
Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

Senior Connor Mooney chuckled at the mention of the phrase “win-and-in,” when used in reference to the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team’s next matchup.

“It’s a pretty literal term,” Mooney said with an understanding that it could be the last time he suits up wearing maroon and white. “Win, we get to keep playing, lose, we go home early. There’s a little extra motivation, obviously.”

UMass enters Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Delaware in the No. 5 spot in the Colonial Athletic Association standings. With Penn State’s ineligibility for conference playoffs (due to its move to the Big Ten for the 2015 season), the fourth and final CAA seed is up for grabs.

Win-and-in also applies for the Blue Hens (6-8, 0-4 CAA), who could qualify for the postseason by owning the tiebreaker with the Minutemen (7-5, 1-3 CAA).

“From what we’ve watched on film this past week, Delaware’s a great team,” Mooney said. “They’ve lost a lot of close games in the CAA, which – as we found out – is not hard to do.”

UMass hasn’t won a game since a 12-6 decision over Hartford on March 22.

Minutemen coach Greg Cannella, in his 20th season, said an inability to score consistently has been the biggest difference between the first and second half of the season. UMass began the year with a 6-1 start.

He also said that his club hasn’t been able to play both good offense and defense at the same time. Cannella took responsibility for the team’s shortcomings and said the Minutemen will be tested in their regular-season finale.

“You have to focus on the now,” Cannella said. “If you think and you visualize what’s going to happen after the game before the game starts, you’ve already lost.”

The Blue Hens dropped their most recent game, 10-6, against Penn State on April 19 for their third straight loss. Although Delaware is winless in conference play, it put up fights against strong opponents Hofstra and Towson, losing by two and three goals respectively.

Senior attack Dan Keane, the Blue Hens’ leading scorer with 29 points (23 goals), and junior midfielder Brian Kormondy, 26 points (16 goals), front an athletic group that excels in the transition game.

Keane and Kormondy also bring speed and leadership to a team that Cannella believes shouldn’t be underestimated.

Freshman midfielder Jeff George echoed his coach and added that center Tyler Barbarich, a local rival for George from his high school days in Warren, N.J., is another player to contain.

“I don’t really know about other teams, but we go into every game playing like it’s the No. 1 team in the country,” George said. “In Division I, anyone can beat anyone on any given day.”

Cannella said that positives of this year’s team, especially surrounding younger players, would be determined in the season’s finale. It’s a way to set the tone for next year.

He considers his freshman to be sophomores, based on game experience, and that trend applies to the sophomores and juniors too. But labels alone don’t equal results.

“If anyone’s gonna sit here and tell me, ‘hey, you guys are gonna be better next year because we’re so young,’ I would say to you, if we’re not any good this year, how are we going to be good next year?”

The question will be answered on the field.

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

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 *