Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s lacrosse tops Brown for fourth straight win heading into CAA play

Trainor nets four goals

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UMass men’s lacrosse tops Brown for fourth straight win heading into CAA play

By Liam Flaherty, Collegian Staff

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In the final out-of-conference matchup of the season before kicking of Colonial Athletic Association play next week, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team defeated Brown 14-12 on Saturday in an afternoon matchup on the road.

The Minutemen (5-4) got the hot start they were looking for against the high-powered Bears (3-4) offense and never looked back, even when things got tight towards the end, in a game that pushed their current win streak to four.

Sophomore midfielder Jeff Trainor scored a career-high four goals on the day, while freshman Chris Connolly buried two on four shots. Senior attackman Buddy Carr collected two goals of his own to bump his team-leading total to 23.

Hampton Brannon made 15 saves on 27 shots in the win, the freshman’s fourth of the season.

“The efforts were great throughout the game,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said. “We were able to make some stops when we needed them, got saves when we needed them, and made turnovers when we needed them. The effort was there for the 60 minutes.”

Brown got on the board just 12 seconds into the opening quarter, before the Minutemen responded with three straight goals off the sticks of Trainor, Billy Philpott and Ben Spencer to jump out to an early two-goal advantage.

The Bears got a goal back to make it 3-2 with under five minutes remaining in the first, but UMass did not back down and proceeded to go on another unanswered tear, this time scoring seven in a row.

Over that stretch of 11 minutes and 23 seconds, the Minutemen received goals from Kevin Tobin, tri-captain senior Jake Lisauskas, Jake Marino, Carr, Jesse Leung and two more from Trainor to jump out to a comfortable 10-2 lead.

“If we could start that way in every game, we would love to,” Cannella said. “We had opportunities today and we finished them.”

Brown would not go down without a fight however, and after letting up seven unanswered from the Minutemen, the Bears went on to score four straight of their own to cut the deficit in half.

Carr scored his second of the game with 6:43 left in the third, followed by two from Connolly to restore the UMass cushion, but three additional goals from the relentless Brown attackers to end the quarter made it 13-9 heading into the final frame.

The Bears jumped on the Minutemen early in the fourth to slim the lead even more, scoring their tenth of the game off the stick of Stephen Hudak to make it a three-goal with just 2:22 to go in the fourth.

But, as it did all game, UMass quickly responded to Brown’s run by looking to the stellar play of Trainor, who notched his fourth goal of the game for a career-high, locking things up with 2:58 left to play.

“I think [Trainor] had some good opportunities early in the game and he finished them so we’re very happy with that,” Cannella said. “He had three goals in the first half and he finished off with that one in the second. He’s been consistent, so we need him to continue to be consistent moving forward.”

The Bears scored twice more in the final two minutes to make it 14-12, but their efforts were too little, too late to stop the Minutemen from having their way on the road in route to their fourth straight win before the start of the CAA schedule.

“The first half, and in the second half as well, we scored a lot of our goals in transition,” Cannella said. “So you have to give credit to the defense and [Brannon] for making the saves, Isaac Paparo, Shane Rinkus — guys like that — and our shortsticks, Philpot and Marino, for getting the ball up the field. Attackman do the easy work, these other guys do the hard work.”

CAA play opens on March 31, as the Minutemen head to Philadelphia to face Drexel at 1 p.m.

Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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