Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Four-goal second quarter, stifling defense propels Army West Point to victory over UMass men’s lacrosse

Billy Philpott fights through the Army West Point defense. (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Four goals in the second quarter and suffocating defense throughout from Army West Point proved to be the difference Saturday afternoon at Garber Field, as the Black Knights (1-0) bested the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team (0-1), 9-2.

Army West Point took control in the second quarter after holding an early 2-0 lead. David Symmes scored the first of four goals his team would score with 13:29 left in the quarter. Matthew Donovan and Cole Johnson added tallies before Symmes scored again to cap a four goal quarter for Army West Point. The Black Knights won four of the six faceoffs in the quarter.

“They’re a tough, relentless group,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said of Army West Point. “When you lose faceoffs and have to play that much defense, because we had a bunch of short possessions there in the second quarter, when you do that you’re going to put yourself in jeopardy, and it did. It burned us.”

The Minutemen would add their lone tally of the first half at 11:46 of the second quarter. Freshman midfielder Jeff Trainor found a streaking Gianni Bianchin on the near sideline who walked in alone and fired a shot past Army West Point goalkeeper AJ Barretto (seven saves). Dan Muller added a score late in the fourth quarter to cut the Black Knight lead to 8-2—the Minutemen’s only goal in the second half.

“I felt we had chances,” Cannella said. “I felt we were tentative and there were a couple of opportunities where we didn’t shoot as well. Somehow, we have to get our guys to relax and play and be in confident in their play. It was a little uncharacteristic of a couple guys too. That’s not a good sign. Hopefully that changes.”

Holding onto a 6-1 lead at halftime, the Black Knights added two more goals in the third quarter off the sticks of Gunnar Miller (goal, assist) and a man-up tally from Ted Glesener. Sophomore Nate Jones scored the ninth Army West Point goal of the afternoon in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

Despite being dominated in shots on goal (35-19) and ground balls won (33-16), the UMass defense held tough as well. The Minutemen made it difficult for the Black Knights to score with scrappy play, including a pair of turnovers from Trainor, Isaac Paparo and Luc Valenza. Valenza led the team with four groundballs, a personal best in his first career start on close defense.

“Our execution was there on defense for the most part,” defenseman Tyler Weeks said. “D.J. [Smith] was making saves. We had a couple young guys out there play really well. They’re just a good team and they had a good scheme going.”

Both teams struggled to find offense in the first quarter as the Black Knights fired nine shots, three stopped by Smith (12 saves). Johnson put Army West Point ahead early with the first goal of the season just 54 seconds into the contest. Donovan book-ended the first quarter when he beat Smith to put the Black Knights up 2-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Army West Point won 10 of 15 faceoffs in the game and converted one of its three extra-man opportunities. The Minutemen were 0-for-3 on man-up situations.

UMass plays its second game of the season at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio Feb. 18 at 12 p.m.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.

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