UMass gets off to another slow start, falls to No. 11 Yale

Minutemen trailed 9-2 at the half

%28Katherine+Mayo%2FDaily+Collegian%29

(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

By Thomas Johnston, Sports Assistant Editor

Slow starts have hindered the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team throughout the early portion of the season, and Tuesday’s game against No. 11 Yale was no different.

The Minutemen (1-3) were outscored 9-2 in the first half and were never able to dig themselves out of the deficit, falling 13-10.

The UMass offense wasn’t able to get going until late in the fourth quarter with the game already in hand. The Minutemen were trailing 13-4 with just over six minutes left when the offense finally showed life, scoring six straight goals, three off the stick of sophomore Devin Spencer, but it was too late to make a difference.

“We talk about learning from each game and taking steps forward late in the season,” senior Jake Lisauskas said. “We get out to a slow start against Harvard and come back similar to like we did today, hoping today that we could take that next step to start early especially against a great team like Yale.

“When you get those opportunities early on you have to capitalize on them,” Lisauskas continued. “To not hit those and have them start falling later on is very frustrating.”

Senior Ben Reeves displayed the skills that made him a Tewaaraton Award finalist the past two seasons. The Minutemen had no answer for the Bulldog attacker, who had four goals and three assists, with six points in the first half alone.

“He’s big, he’s fast and he has the ability to do everything,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said of Reeves. “He can dodge to score and dodge to feed. Tremendous shooter, great hands. Whoever we put on him, and this is going to be any team that plays Yale, he’s going to win that matchup. That puts him above a lot of guys.”

It didn’t take long for the Yale (2-1) offense to get going, as junior Joseph Sessa put them on the scoreboard just under six minutes into the game. Freshman Will Cabrera added another two minutes later to extend the lead to two.

UMass would answer with 4:58 left in the first quarter when sophomore Jeff Trainor found attacker Jesse Leung who found the back of the net. The Bulldogs would quickly answer, scoring twice more before the quarter came to a close.

Much like the games against Army and Harvard, the Minutemen would allow its opponent to go on a large run at a rapid pace. After Trainor scored the opening goal of the second quarter, Reeves began to assert himself. The senior scored back-to-back goals, just one minute apart, then assisted on three straight goals to close out the half.

After the seventh goal allowed, Cannella pulled Sean Sconone from the net and replaced him with freshman Hampton Brannon.

UMass was able to gain momentum in the second half, scoring the first two goals, but Yale was able to counter with a pair of goals of their own to keep its lead intact.

While the Minutemen were struggling to score goals, they were getting solid opportunities. UMass outshot the Bulldogs 48-32 in the game, but Yale goalie Jack Starr was able to make 15 saves.

“Yale had a lot more talent than us today,” Cannella said. “Our guys are trying, we did a much better job defensively to hold us in the game and we had opportunities. You saw some opportunities early, they made a lot of saves in the first half. We threw it at him a couple times but we’re just not a great shooting team right now.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Minutemen, as No. 1 ranked Albany comes to Garber Field next Tuesday. UMass will need 60 minutes of the performance they showed in the fourth quarter today to have a chance.

“We’re in it no matter who we’re playing against,” Lisauskas said, “as long as we’re doing everything we work on in practice and we’re capitalizing on those opportunities.”

 

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