UMass men’s lacrosse can’t keep pace with Hofstra in road loss

By Jamie Cushman

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Men’s lacrosse defeated Delaware 9-6 at Garber Field on Saturday, April 1, 2017. (Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team found itself once again unable to come back from a first-half deficit in a loss on the road at Hofstra on Saturday.

The Minutemen (5-7, 2-2 Colonial Athletic Association) struggled to finish on offense early and allowed 10 first-half goals—Umass’ second-highest total all season—in a 15-8 loss to the Pride (11-1, 3-1 CAA).

“We weren’t ready to play mentally,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “We turned the ball over, fouled, played poorly on offense and played poorly on defense. Just not a good start and there’s no excuse for it.”

Freshman Jeff Trainor scored midway through the first quarter to cut a 2-0 deficit in half before seven-unanswered Hofstra goals stretched the Pride lead to an insurmountable eight goals.

CAA-leading scorer Josh Byrne had a hand in all but one of those goals, scoring four times and adding a pair of assists during the 12-and-a-half-minute stretch.

“He played well today, and shot the ball extremely well. He’s a good solid player,” Cannella said.

Byrne finished with five goals and three assists, playing a role in over half of Hofstra’s 15 goals.

Junior Jake Lisauskas scored to break the Hofstra run before the Pride responded with a goal just seven seconds later. The Minutemen did grab some semblance of momentum when freshman Jesse Leung scored his fourth goal of the season with seven seconds left in the half.

UMass carried that momentum through halftime as sophomore Ben Spencer opened the third quarter with a pair of unassisted goals. Spencer later added a man-up goal in the final frame to complete the hat trick.

“[He] scored one on man-up and the other two he scored dodging to the score, which we’ve been urging him to do all year,” Cannella said. “He’s a big body, big kid. He has the ability to use that body to an advantage and he did that on his other two goals.”

The second half was a back-and-forth battle, with both teams scoring five times over the final 30 minutes, though the result of the game was never in doubt.

“We played a little bit harder and had a little bit more of a sense of urgency,” Cannella said.

Hofstra junior Dylan Alderman added three of his four goals in the second half, while junior Brendan Kavanagh also added a hat trick for the Pride.

Grant Consoletti and Leung’s goals marked the only times a UMass attacker scored against the Pride, with the rest of the scoring coming from the Minutemen midfield.

“When your attack has a combined two goals in the game, you’re not going to win, that’s just the way it is. Your attack has to score,” Cannella said.

“When you look at what Hofstra’s attack did in the game in terms of goals and assists, and you put those points together and you put our points together, you can’t compare it and that’s the difference in the ballgame.”

All six of the Pride’s starters on attack and in the midfield scored, accounting for all 15 Hofstra goals. Consoletti’s goal in the third quarter marked the only time all day a UMass starter scored.

Despite the loss the Minutemen earned a spot in the CAA tournament, along with Hofstra, Towson, and Drexel, with seeds still to be determined over the final weekend of the season.

UMass will wrap up the season on Friday, hosting Drexel for Senior Night at 5 p.m. on Garber Field.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Jamie__Cushman.