Inability to score plagues UMass men’s lacrosse for third straight week

By Philip Sanzo

(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

Toward the end of the third quarter a comeback looked to be in the making for the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team, but it was too little too late.

The Minutemen (4-7, 0-3 Colonial Athletic Association) cut Fairfield’s five-goal lead down to two but never made it closer than that, as the Stags (7-6, 3-0 CAA) held on to win their third CAA game, 8-6.

Buddy Carr scored his second goal of the game to end the Stag’s 6-0 run with 6 minutes and 56 seconds remaining in the third quarter. This was the Minutemen’s first goal in nearly 38 minutes – the previous score came 30 seconds into the game, also from Carr.

Tyler Bogart and Ben Spencer each scored for UMass scored to cut the deficit to 7-4 at the end of the third quarter.

Despite the small surge, the Minutemen never felt like they had the momentum and Fairfield’s defense had a lot to do with that. Junior goalkeeper Tyler Behring had 19 saves against UMass, which totaled 40 shots.

“They have a really good defense, their goalie played well,” Minutemen coach Greg Cannella said. “We threw it at him a couple of times where he made saves. But he made some really good point blank saves on really good opportunities and you can’t do that in this game. We blew it, we blew those opportunities.”

However, the offense was not completely shut down. UMass had nine more shots than the Stags (40-31), but a combination of missed opportunities and early turnovers cost them the game.

“We were kind of inconsistent, we had a lot of unforced turnovers that we can’t have,” Carr said. “But I think that we could have beat them because we have a good team too, but our offense just wasn’t clicking today.”

The Minutemen quickly corrected their turnover issue following the first quarter where they finished with three, as they only turned the ball three more times the rest of the game.

There is no denying that UMass has hit a rut in terms of its scoring. The Minutemen have not scored double-digit goals since their last win, an 11-point performance against at the time No. 20 Penn State nearly a month ago on March 19th.

Cannella is a firm believer that UMass needs to score in double digits if they want to win collegiate lacrosse game and that has been nothing but true this season. Any time the Minutemen failed to score in double digits this season, they have lost.

“We definitely have to go back to the basics, I think that’s where we are struggling right now,” Carr said. “We have to go back to the little things that we were better at, at the beginning of the season that got us wins, we have to go back to that.”

The other side of the field experienced more success. Sean Sconone started his third straight game in the cage and made 10 saves. The defense also didn’t allow a goal while playing down a man (0-3).

The defense kept the Minutemen in the game and that can be said for all conference games this season. The most a conference opponent has scored against the Minutemen this season was 11 from Towson last week.

The loss leaves UMass still searching for a conference win with only two games remaining. The Minutemen will host Hofstra next Saturday at 1 p.m., in what will be their last home game of 2016.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.