Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Jeff Trainor tallied five points, scored twice in Thursday’s semifinal victory

Minutemen defeat Hofstra 10-6

Jeff+Trainor+runs+with+the+ball+during+Friday%27s+win+over+Hofstra.+
Jeff Trainor runs with the ball during Friday's win over Hofstra.

Jeff Trainor runs with the ball during Friday's win over Hofstra.

Jon Asgeirsson

Jon Asgeirsson

Jeff Trainor runs with the ball during Friday's win over Hofstra.

By Liam Flaherty, Collegian Staff

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For the second year in a row, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team has earned a spot to compete for the Colonial Athletic Association title, on the heels of its 10-6 semifinal victory over Hofstra on Thursday in a sweltering rematch between familiar foes at Garber Field.

Spurred by five points and two goals from sophomore midfielder Jeff Trainor, as well as eleven stops in the cage from Sean Sconone, UMass (11-4, 6-0 CAA) was able to defeat the Pride (6-8, 2-4 CAA) for the second time in six days.

“We expected a game like this,” Minutemen coach Greg Cannella said. “Coming in [Hofstra] was really strong and focused. We had to grind and fight for everything that we got today.”

Hofstra goaltender Jack Concannon (22 saves) came to play with the impressive style that he has come to be known for over the course of the season in the cage, but the stellar play of the CAA’s Goalie of the Year was not enough to keep UMass, and Trainor in particular, off the scoreboard.

Just 38 seconds into the opening frame, Trainor got his first touch of the night when he received a pass at midfield from the stick of senior tri-captain Jake Lisauskas.

With the ball in his mesh, Trainor backed down Pride defenseman Brendan Lynch all the way to the top of Concannon’s crease, before he released a shot from the high-slot that snuck past the swinging stick of Hofstra’s senior goalie, who was unable to stop the first shot of the night.

Under a minute into the most important matchup of their season, the Minutemen, riding a nine game win-streak, jumped out to an early advantage and planted a seed of doubt into the mind of the Pride, who were eager to show UMass that they would not go down without a fight.

Concannon displayed their mentality almost immediately, when he rebounded from Trainor’s unassisted tally by making a handful of stops on consecutive shots from Minutemen attackers.

“He’s a great goalie and he’s a great player,” Trainor said. “We were taking the same shots early and he was reading them well, but once we started mixing it up it was tough for him to read it and that’s where we found success.”

Coming out of halftime, with UMass holding a three goal lead, Trainor struck again with his second unassisted tally of the night, this time firing a missle after calmly stepping into the Pride’s defensive zone that made its way past a lunging Concannon.

Trainor’s second goal came as the first of the second half and quickly pushed the Minuteman cushion to four, just as Hofstra seemed ready to start gaining some momentum for a comeback.

“Both of [Trainor’s] shots were good shots,” Cannella said. “To start the game off and to start the half off—any time you can score early in a quarter or coming out of the half, it’s big.”

Trainor also compiled three assists in the victory, as he provided helpers on goals from Buddy Carr (four points), Lisauskas (two goals), and Kevin Tobin.

“It’s definitely tough to beat the same team twice in six days,” Trainor said of the rematch. “They changed a little bit of their game plan and we changed a little bit of ours, but I thought we put together a great team win.”

As for his personal accolades on the field, the sophomore played the role of deflector, expressing his pleasure to simply have been a part of the team win.

“It feels great,” Trainor said. “But it’s a lot of trust in my teammates and them trusting me so it’s good to see us succeed. But as our coaches always say it’s ‘who’s next, what’s next, and how do we get better.’ We don’t really look at the scoreboard when we play. We just want to play UMass lacrosse.”

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

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