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 lacrosse’s late rally falls short against Albany

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Trailing by two goals with three minutes remaining in Saturday’s road game against No. 16 Albany, it appeared the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team was well on its way to its fifth straight loss to open the season.

With a goal and an ensuing faceoff win later however, UMass quickly found itself in position for one last shot at a comeback attempt with eight seconds remaining.

But the Minutemen (0-5) ran out of time Saturday after an attempted pass to Dan Muller was deflected in the waning seconds, clinching a 10-9 Great Danes’ victory.

“We didn’t have a timeout so there was no game plan, we just tried to push the ball toward the cage,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said of the final play. “Ryan Izzo actually made a really good look and tried to cross the field to Dan Muller as the sender but (they) just knocked the ball down.”

Down 9-5 heading into the final quarter, the Minutemen outscored Albany (2-1) 4-1 over the final 15 minutes of regulation.

After UMass attacker Peter Lindley and Muller scored goals around another Great Danes tally, Nick Mariano initiated the Minutemen’s late-game comeback attempt with his 10th goal of the season with three minutes, one second left.

Brendan Hegarty then tallied UMass’ third unanswered goal to cut the deficit to one with eight seconds left.

“Our guys have fought back in all the games that we’ve played so far, so I’ve been encouraged by that all year,” Cannella said. “They’ve never given up, they’ve never quit on us.”

Despite the Minutemen’s success in the final frame, it also marked a quarter of missed opportunities and tough breaks on the offensive end. UMass had four shots ricochet off the post during the span.

“Guys get good looks so yeah, it’s frustrating for them,” Cannella said. “But you still have to put the ball in the back of the net.”

These failed chances carried over from the second and third quarters where UMass was outscored 6-2 despite winning the faceoff battle for the first time this season and seeing optimistic looks on the attack.

Blaze Riorden made 21 saves for Albany, including eight in the third quarter. Coming out of the first intermission in a 3-3 tie, Cannella said that Riorden’s play in the middle two frames were key in the Great Danes’ success.

“He made some really good saves,” Cannella said about Riorden. “I don’t think we shot particularly well but you give him credit for making those saves.”

In a low-scoring affair on both sides, Lyle Thompson catalyzed Albany’s attack with one goal and six assists. Seth Oakes and Connor Fields added three goals apiece for the Great Danes.

The Minutemen’s offense on Saturday was led by multipoint performances from Hegarty and Muller. While Hegarty finished with his second career hat trick, Muller recorded two goals and an assist in the loss.

A redshirt sophomore, Muller was forced to sit out all of last year due to a preseason injury. In his return to action in 2015, Muller has tallied five goals and four assists through five games.

According to Cannella, although he would like to see more consistency from Muller as the season wears on, the attacker has had a significant impact on UMass’ offense this year.

“He’s really been a force on the field,” Cannella said about Muller. “Dan is as steady as they come. He’s gained a ton of experience and he’s made a bunch of plays for us over the last few games.”

UMass’ next attempt at earning its first win will be at home against Quinnipiac on Tuesday, March 10 at 3 p.m.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

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