Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s lacrosse upsets No. 10 North Carolina 14-9 Saturday afternoon

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(Erica Lowenkron/Daily Collegian)

The last time the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team faced No. 10 North Carolina was over a year ago, a game in which the Tar Heels handed the Minutemen their worst loss of the season in a 20-8 routing in Chapel Hill.

Saturday afternoon at Garber Field, the roles were reversed.

After UNC (3-3) had cut a 7-3 UMass (3-4) lead to 7-6 in the third quarter, the Minutemen responded with five consecutive goals en route to a 14-9 upset victory.

UMass coach Greg Cannella said it was great to see his team responded the way they did.

“We’ve done that before, but we haven’t been consistent with it, and to have the ability to strike back, we weren’t winning faceoffs as well today, so it makes it that much harder,” Cannella said.

“Any time you can bunch goals like that its obviously very helpful,” Cannella added. “North Carolina can score in bunches as well, so you get it to 7-6 and you have a chance to fold or you have a chance to stand up and fortunately today we stood up.”

Led by freshmen Tyler Bogart (three goals) and Ben Spencer (two goals), the Minutemen’s 14 goals were the second most they’ve scored this season.

This was a welcomed sight for UMass, which tallied just 11 goals combined in its last two losses against No. 7 Brown and No. 15 Albany.

“Shots went, they weren’t going against Brown and Albany,” Cannella said. “We faced a goalie that saved at 73 percent and then at 87 percent, but our shots went early today and gave our guys confidence, plus we scored some transition goals.”

Despite getting outshot 44-35 and winning only 8-of-25 faceoffs, the Minutemen stood tall defensively, led by a career-high 18 saves from sophomore goalkeeper Dan Dolan in his first career start.

It was the most saves made by a UMass goalie since 2013, when former Minuteman Zach Oliveri also recorded 18 in a win against the Tar Heels.

Dolan received the start in the cage and played the entire game, something an UMass goaltender hadn’t done this year.

Cannella praised the performance not just of Dolan, but the entire defense as well.

“We hope he’s consistent like that,” Cannella said. “He was very consistent throughout the day, made some good saves, (he) cleared the ball effectively. It felt like he was very confident in the goal and made some really great stops.”

Cannella added: “They let up a lot of goals the last two games, so they buckled down. The combination of those seniors, Kyle (Karaska), Kevin (Porzelt) and Kurt (Hunziker) and the rest of the short-stick defensive midfielders did an outstanding job.”

In the early stages of the season, Cannella acknowledged the confidence that comes with a win over ranked opponents.

“The one thing when you win early in the season, right now we’re 3-4, you’re kind of teetering on where the season’s going to go, it just gives everyone confidence,” he said. “We know we can beat anybody if we show up and showing up is key. You have to show up and play with a lot of heart and energy and even if you do that, you may not come out on top.

“College lacrosse is so competitive and there’s a lot of parity, so you have to be consistent with your effort each day in practice and obviously when you get out there on Saturday’s.”

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed @JKates1216.      

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