Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s lacrosse explodes offensively, defeats Hofstra 14-6 in season finale

Minutemen finish perfect in CAA

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(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

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The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team defeated Hofstra 14-6 on Friday night to cement its undefeated Colonial Athletic Association record, the first team to do so since 2013, and bumped its current win streak up to nine in a row.

UMass (10-4-0, 5-0 CAA) found itself down to the Pride (6-7-0, 2-3 CAA) early in the contest, but thanks to a handful of stops from goalie Sean Sconone, which jump-started the transition game, it went on a tear and scored 10 straight goals to cruise to a lopsided victory.

Buddy Carr and Billy Philpott each recorded hat-tricks in the win, while Chris Connolly and Jesse Leung each netted two goals of their own.

Entering the season’s culminating matchup with a .500 league record, Hofstra was on the hunt for a win to lock up the No. 2 seed in the impending playoff tournament. But, with the loss, the Pride now look to the scoreboards of the remaining league games to determine their seeding fate.

The Minutemen, who clinched the No. 1 seed last weekend, didn’t necessarily need a win in the season finale but under the direction of coach Greg Cannella it appeared as though they could have been fighting for a playoff spot of their own by the way they competed.

“Our focus is (always) the next game,” Cannella said. “We could have easily overlooked this game at home, but our seniors and captains have done a great job of that all year.”

Buddy Carr, who has seen a tremendous breakout on the attack in his senior year with 32 goals in the 14-game regular season, echoed the sentiments of his coach.

“We just tried to focus on Hofstra,” Carr said. “That was our next game and we weren’t worried about hosting (the tournament) or anything like that. We were just worried about tonight.”

Friday’s game also doubled as Senior Night for the UMass. But even with three scores in front of friends and family on a special night at Garber Field, Carr was more concerned on the shots that didn’t find their way into the back of the cage.

“It feels good,” he said. “I missed a couple though. (Concannon) made a couple good saves on me. Those are kind of in my mind right now, but it’s always good to have a couple in a game.”

Connolly, who was tabbed CAA Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season, picked up right where he left off last weekend when he put the Minutemen on the board with two goals on two shots just under eight minutes into the opening frame.

Hofstra responded quickly with two goals of its own in the early-going of the first, which both came off the stick of junior attackman Jimmy Yanes.

Dylan Mcintosh gave the Pride their first and only lead of the game just over a minute later, but it would be all UMass in the offensive column from that point on.

Starting with Philpott’s sixth of the year that came just nine seconds after Mcintosh broke the 2-2 tie, the Minutemen scored 10 consecutive goals which amassed a sudden 12-3 advantage.

Hofstra, after being held scoreless for nearly 30 whole minutes, responded to UMass’ dominant stretch with a run of its own, scoring three consecutive goals past Sconone (14 saves) to cut the deficit to six at the end of the third.

The Minutemen would not let it get any closer than that, however, and Leung’s second goal of the night at the start of the fourth shut the door on any possible comeback by the Pride.

Just thirty-two seconds later, senior close-defenseman Luc Valenza shot one past Jack Concannon (10 saves) in transition, which came as his first goal in a four-year UMass career.

Valenza was one of four defensive-minded players to score on the night, a unique trend for the Minutemen attack which is typically led by its speedy attackman.

“You’re talking about six goals there from (the defense),” Cannella said. “That’s a lot.”

Sconone, who has started in the cage the last three games after sitting behind freshman goalie Hampton Brannon for a majority of the season, made the saves when the Minutemen needed him most early on, which allowed them to continually break out into their fast-paced transition game.

“Any time your goalie can save the ball, catch the ball and you want to get up and out in transition, that helps,” he said. “Sean was able to do that again today which was great.”

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

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