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UMass men’s lacrosse wins first conference game in two years against Delaware

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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 registered its first Colonial Athletic Association conference win in almost two years on Saturday, defeating Delaware 9-6 at Garber Field.

Once again for the Minutemen, it was stellar defensive play that was able to lead them to victory. They held a stout Blue Hen attack to just six goals, and kept the ball away from goalie D.J. Smith, who made nine saves on 31 shots.

UMass was also able to dominate possession throughout the game. They secured a staggering 39 ground balls compared to the 16 for Delaware while also wining 15 out of 18 faceoffs. Minutemen coach Greg Cannella said that all the games in the conference are going to be close and competitive, and that the smallest details could be the difference between winning and losing.

“We haven’t won a league game in over a year,” Cannella said. “It feels good and you just remind the guys that every game you play within the CAA will be similar. It will be a grind-it-out kind of game. I felt we ground it out today. That’s how we came out on top. It’s nip and tuck the whole game.”

Through three quarters of the game, the score was tied up at five and it looked like the game may have been heading toward a second consecutive overtime.  The Blue Hens were able to get the first goal in the fourth, but then it was all UMass from there, as it rattled off four straight goals to close out the game.

Jake Marino got things rolling for the Minutemen, tying the game up at six with 10:26 remaining. Freshmen Jeff Trainor broke the tie just two minutes later off of a feed from Grant Consoletti. The UMass attack kept their foot on the gas pedal, and Consoletti scored just 58 seconds later to extend its lead to two.

Trainor then put it in an empty net goal to seal the Minutemen victory. For Trainor, conference play was new to him, but his teammates gave him a good idea as to what to expect. It paid off, as he finished with two goals as well as tallying a pair of assists.

“Going into the game I had no idea what conference play was like, so I asked the guys in the locker room,” Trainor said. “They told me nobody ever really blows anybody out; it’s a lot of defense. Today I think the better team on defense prevails. We started out a little sloppy on offense but the defense held it down for us and that’s why we got the win.”

One area UMass struggled in was extra-man opportunities. In a physical game, the Minutemen were able to draw seven fouls, but were only able to convert on one man-up opportunity.

This marks the final regular season game where Cannella and Delaware coach Bob Shillinglaw will square off. Shillinglaw is retiring at the end of this season after 39 seasons at the programs helm.

“They’ve been in the conference a lot longer than us. He’s been a force in the conference, he’s won a lot of games. When I got into coaching, you look up to people like that. He’s a true professional.”

UMass will look to continue its strong conference play next Saturday as it travels to Maryland to take on Towson.

Thomas Johnston can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @TJ__Johnston.

About the Writer
Thomas Johnston, Assistant Sports Editor

Thomas has been writing for The Collegian since his freshman year and is currently an assistant sports editor. He primarily covers men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse.

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