Balanced attack leads UMass men’s lacrosse to first win of 2015

By Jason Kates

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

After opening the season with five consecutive losses, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team finally found the win column Tuesday afternoon.

And it did so in style.

A season-high 18 goals from 11 different players boosted the Minutemen (1-5) to an 18-5 victory over Quinnipiac at McGuirk Stadium.

Following a quick turnaround from Saturday’s loss at Albany, UMass coach Greg Cannella said he was pleased with the way his team performed after only two days of rest.

“We started a little slow on offense but defensively we played very well early in the game,” he said. “I gave them (Sunday) off and (Monday) we did some film and some walkthrough stuff so you got to give our guys credit for preparing themselves and being ready to play.”

Freshman Peter Lindley, who recorded a hat trick on all three shots he took in addition to tallying two assists, spoke similarly about the short gap in between games.

“It’s good to get a much-needed win after losing the first five,” he said. “I just tried to get the flow of the offense moving with my teammates. I had the opportunity to put the ball in the net and I did.

“We just got the win and now we have to build off of it for this Saturday.”

The Minutemen established control from the start against the Bobcats, scoring 45 seconds into the game on a goal from Lindley. The lead stood at three just 22 seconds into the second quarter before Quinnipiac (1-4) finally found the back of the net courtesy of Michael Sagl.

For the day, UMass tallied 42 shots and won 18-of-27 faceoffs.

“Any time you can jump out to a lead in any game, it gives your team confidence,” Cannella said. “It gives you the confidence that you can continue to push forward and the more possessions you have on offense, the more rest your defense is gonna get.”

Cannella added that the Bobcats’ zone defense allowed the Minutemen to create several opportunities and generate more shots while sharing the ball.

Along with Lindley, Nick Mariano also tallied five points, scoring two and adding three assists. Andrew Sokol recorded three goals while Dom St. Laurent and Grant Whiteway each chipped in with two goals, including a slick behind-the-back goal from Whiteway that made it 7-2 at the end of the half.

With the number of contributors Tuesday, Cannella said he was not only pleased with the balanced attack but also enjoyed clearing the bench toward the end of the game.

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

“That and getting everybody in is great,” he said. “Those guys work their butts off everyday for us and had the opportunity to play. I know Ty (Klarner) and Kurt (Hunziker) scoring some goals there is really good to see.

“It’s good to see the scoring spread out, I think we’ve had that all year. The more you do that, we’re a little bit harder to defend.”

The defensive unit also stepped up for UMass, allowing only five goals on 26 shots. Goaltender Zach Oliveri made 10 saves in the winning effort.

“In the first quarter I don’t think they had any shots, so when you do that, your defense is relaxed,” Cannella said. “They did an excellent job, both of our coaches (Brian) Jacovina and (Craig) McDonald did a good job of getting prepared and putting a game plan together in half a day.

“Our guys did a great job executing that plan today.”

Now that win number one is in the books, the Minutemen will try to build a win streak Saturday at home against Penn State.

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jason_Kates.