Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

UMass men’s lacrosse drops season opener at No. 16 Army West Point

Noah Rak leads the Minutemen with two goals and freshman Chris Connolly adds two assists in his collegiate debut.
(Collegian file photo)

It was definitely not how Massachusetts men’s lacrosse coach Greg Cannella and co. drew it up.

Neither the UMass offense, nor the defense, appeared ready to handle much of what highly-talented No. 16 Army West Point threw its way Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium. The Minutemen scored just six goals, falling to the Black Knights 18-6 for the fourth consecutive time in the annual season opener which began in 2011.

“[Army] is a very good team. Coming off of last year, they’re returning almost everybody,” Cannella said. “They shot the ball extremely well. They’re very experienced. We didn’t handle things the way we wanted to, unfortunately. I thought we were prepared coming in. That’s a miscalculation on my part.”

Trailing 4-2 at the end of the first quarter, Army (1-0) kicked it into high gear, scoring seven consecutive goals, including a 4-0 margin in the second quarter with three goals coming up a man in the sequence. Ted Glesener and Conor Glancy (three goals apiece) each scored a pair in the run that put UMass (0-1) in an 11-2 hole it could not climb out of.

The Minutemen scored three of the next four goals in the third quarter, their most in any period all afternoon, off tallies from Noah Rak, Jesse Leung and Isaac Paparo to cut the Black Knight lead to seven before Army West Point scored six of the next seven, including five consecutive, to seal UMass’ fate.

“We had some opportunities to score,” Cannella said. “When you’re on the road, when you get chances, those have to go in.”

The inability to convert scoring chances in close was a problem for the Minutemen, who committed 13 turnovers despite winning the faceoff battle 16-9. The Black Knights outshot UMass 43-28, a skill set that carried over from their 12-4 campaign a season ago, which featured a trip to the Patriot League Tournament final and wins against three top-six teams in the nation.

Rak (two goals) was the lone Minuteman with multiple scores, both unassisted tallies, along with a 12-of-19 showing in faceoffs. Rak’s score was the only one UMass could muster in the fourth quarter.

Devin Spencer and Jeff Trainor tallied the Minutemen scores in the first quarter, both assisted by freshman Chris Connolly, the first points of his collegiate career.

Sean Sconone started his first game in goal for the Minutemen since the 2016 season, one which Sconone started five games and was a member of the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team. The junior permitted 15 goals while adding 14 saves.

“He played well,” Cannella said of his goaltender. “He played well in stretches. He did a good job actually of keeping it to just 18 goals. He made some really good saves.”

Freshman Hampton Brannon played the final three minutes in net, stopping one shot. Paparo added four groundballs and caused three turnovers at close defense against the high-powered Black Knights.

It will be a quick turnaround for UMass, which looks to get in the win column in its first home contest of the season Tuesday, Feb. 13 when Sacred Heart heads to Garber Field. The Pioneers bested Stony Brook in their season opener Saturday, 11-9, and will play their second road game in four days.

Game time is set for 3 p.m.

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

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