Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to earn first conference win against No. 6 Towson

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Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

Last season, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team was one minute, 50 seconds away from going into overtime against Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game.

But a behind-the-back shot from Tigers senior Justin Mabus gave Towson the 9-8 victory, ending all hopes of a Minutemen win and automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.

With a matchup against the No. 6 Tigers (9-1, 1-0 CAA) at Garber Field set for this Saturday, UMass (4-5, 0-1 CAA) will look to earn its first conference win of the season after falling to Delaware 9-7 last week.

The Minutemen defense is tasked with going up against a high-octane Towson offense, which currently has eight players in double-digits points, led by junior Ryan Drenner. Drenner leads the Tigers with 33 points (18 goals and 15 assists), followed by junior Joe Seider (23 points) and senior Spencer Parks (21 points). Combined, the three attackers have recorded 70 percent of the Tigers’ goals this season.

A key component to Saturday’s upcoming contest will be how both teams play right off the opening faceoff. In the first quarter this season, the Tigers have outscored opponents 30-12. On the flip side, UMass has struggled in the first 15 minutes of games, being outscored 22-12.

Offensively, the Minutemen will have to play at the top of their game if they wish to generate chances against a stingy Towson defense. Up to this point in the season, the Tigers have allowed double-digit goals in just one game (a 14-8 loss to Johns Hopkins on March 12), and are allowing just 28 shots per game. UMass will have to look toward scorers like sophomores Buddy Carr and Peter Lindley to carry the load, who as a pair have scored 24 goals and recorded seven assists in 2016.

Last time out, Minutemen coach Greg Cannella opted to go with freshman Sean Sconone in cage, who made 13 saves in a losing effort in his first career start for UMass. Sconone made the start in the cage after sophomore Dan Dolan received the previous two starting nods against Penn State and North Carolina.

This weekend, UMass will honor the 1976 Minutemen during halftime. Led by Richard F. Garber, who was recently inducted into the IMLCA Hall of Fame, the Minutemen recorded a 10-3 record and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. All members of the squad are welcomed back to Garber Field to participate in the celebrations.

Cannella could not be reached for comment ahead of Saturday’s game, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

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

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