UMass men’s lacrosse offense almost nonexistent in 16-4 loss to Albany Tuesday afternoon

By Jamie Cushman

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

Facing off against No. 15 Albany, a team that had scored 32 goals in its previous two games, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team needed its offense to be in top form if it had any hope of coming out of Tuesday afternoon’s game with a win.

That did not happen.

Instead, UMass (2-4) was shut out for the entire first half before ultimately tallying a season-low four goals in a 16-4 loss to the Great Danes (3-1).

“From an offensive standpoint we’re pretty disappointed, coming out at home you hate to lay an egg like that,” said Brendan Hegarty, the Minutemen’s leader on offense for the day with  a goal and an assist.

Tuesday was the second straight game UMass failed to score at least 10 goals.

“You got to score in lacrosse games. You got to score in double digits if you’re going to be in the game,” Cannella said.

Cannella attributed the Minutemen’s offensive deficiency against Albany to an inability to finish on scoring opportunities, despite putting up 40 shots.

“We won faceoffs, both teams cleared the ball well, we got more ground balls than them, shot as many times, we just couldn’t score,” Cannella said. “You can’t rely on your defense all the time to stop people, (you) got to put it home.”

UMass’ 40 shots equaled the amount put up by Albany Tuesday. But the scoring drought for the Minutemen was spurred by the strong play of Albany goalkeeper senior Blaze Riorden.

The two-time America East All-Conference first team and All-Tournament team goalie showed why he has a packed trophy case, tallying 14 saves Tuesday while allowing just two goals over 55 minutes of action.

“He was excellent. I think that was the difference in the game obviously, their goalie and our inability to score,” Cannella said.

The scoreless first half was the first time all season UMass had been shut out for an entire half, coming off of a one-goal effort in the first half of the previous game against Brown. The Minutemen headed to the locker room trailing 8-0 after two quarters Tuesday.

Hegarty believed the Minutemen had chances to score in the first half, bu UMass just couldn’t convert those opportunities into goals.

“I thought we were doing some good things early on in the game, goalie was just making some saves,” Hagerty said. “We were just trying to stick to what we’re doing, it didn’t really work out for us today.”

The Minutemen came out of the break strong, scoring just 10 seconds into the third quarter off the stick of Hegarty and then again two minutes later thanks to Peter Lindley to make it an 8-2 game. But the momentum didn’t last, as their next goal came with three minutes, 47 seconds left in the game after Riorden had been replaced by Trevor Cross with the Great Danes’ lead ballooning up to 16-2.

Albany was strong defensively, but when the Great Danes did make mistakes, the Minutemen failed to capitalize on their chances.

UMass was 0-for-3 in the first three quarters in extra man opportunities, with the lone man-up goal coming late in the fourth quarter when both teams had their starters out of the game and the outcome was no longer in question.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected].