UMass men’s lacrosse hoping first win will turn season around

By Nicholas Casale

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

So often in sports, talented teams get off to a slow start and fail to hit the heights that were planned in the offseason. For the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team, a win was exactly what was needed to realize that it could turn its potential into something tangible.

The Minutemen defeated Quinnipiac Tuesday afternoon to break its five-game losing streak in an 18-5 thrashing for their first victory of the season. In contrast to the inconsistency displayed to start the season, Tuesday’s win was a smooth, complete performance from the Minutemen.

UMass was able to put the game to bed early and went into the halftime break, leading 7-2. From that point on, the Minutemen were set on cruise control, scoring at will with the help of its entire roster. Over the course of the game, the Minutemen had 42 shots with 11 different players finding the net, which is something that should be a confidence booster for the entire squad.

However, it wasn’t just the attack that flourished as the team dominated face-offs winning 18 of 27, and won the battle for groundballs 36 to 25. Both aspects of the game were areas coach Greg Cannella felt needed improvement.

Senior attacker Grant Whiteway was another confidence boost for the Minutemen, looking fully healthy and ready to contribute offensively. Whiteway was injured the first three games of the season and has scored four goals in his last two games.

Another player who’s looked equally dangerous is freshmen attacker Peter Lindley.

Lindley played a large part in Tuesday’s rout, scoring three goals and adding two assists. Lindley spoke to the Daily Collegian after the game, and felt the win gives UMass some much-needed confidence going forward.

“We’ve got the win, which was huge after losing the first five and we need to build off of it this coming Saturday,” he said.

Cannella recognized the importance of spreading the wealth around on offense.

“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,” he said.

He also talked about the early lead the team acquired and how it helped them later in the game.
“Going up early 3-0 was great for us,” Cannella said. “Any time you can jump out to a lead in any game… 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 going to get.”

While the Minutemen may not have the record they would have hoped for early in the season, they have yet to enter conference play, which will be the key to winning a playoff birth. Until then, UMass will continue to figure out what works and what doesn’t. If Tuesday is any indicator, it’s safe to say the Minutemen are starting to realize their identity.

Nicholas Casale can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @NicholasLCasale.