Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

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 secures first win of the year with fourth-quarter push

UMass outscored Harvard 5-2 in the final quarter
(Eva Trainer / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team picked up its first win of the year after it defeated Harvard on Saturday afternoon, 12-9. The Minutemen made a push in the fourth quarter, receiving goals from Chris Connolly, Isaac Paparo, Scott Del Zotto, and Billy Philpott to pull away from the Crimson.

“I’m really just happy for the guys that work hard,” said head coach Greg Cannella. “I think anytime that you get that kind of support from the bench, it uplifts your team and you’re able to go on a run…you know they’re good teammates when they cheer like that.”

UMass came out with a sluggish start, forcing shots and struggling to settle in on either end. They had two man-up opportunities in the first quarter—one of which saw the Minutemen have a 6-on-4 advantage—but they failed to capitalize on either occasion. UMass went 0-5 on extra man opportunities for the afternoon.

“I would just say we definitely need to have a bit more urgency during the week, come in a little more prepared,” said Connolly, who led UMass in scoring with five goals, discussing the missed man-up opportunities.

The Minutemen played much more intensely in the second quarter, but at the half, the score was 6-5 in favor of Harvard. Unlike in its previous contest with Ohio State,  UMass carried that momentum over into the third quarter, clamping down on defense to limit the Crimson to only one goal in the quarter.

Jeff Trainor was aggressive all afternoon in looking for his shot. The junior midfielder took eight shots, two of which found the back of the net. In typical Trainor style, his first goal came from him rolling to his left and firing on the run.

“It’s definitely something I like to do,” said Trainor. “I like to get my hands free, come down the left alley. I’m a natural righty, but I like going to my left. To keep [them] honest, I might go left, I might go right.”

Tom Meyers seemed to win every face-off in the second half. In a man-down situation late in the third, Meyers came up with a face-off win without any help . His effort and emotion helped fuel the Minutemen’s sideline energy, which roared with animation during UMass’ fourth quarter run.

“Tommy was excellent,” said Cannella. “His ability to get the ground balls, he had eight ground balls on his own, would get the ball to his teammates. That’s the difference in the game big-time…when you win that many, it gives you those extra possessions.”

Sophomore Jack Siebert and freshman Matt Hill found themselves on the field during critical points in the game, although both played rather sparingly in the first two games. With Ben Spencer sidelined versus Harvard with what Cannella described as a “lower leg” injury, UMass had to rely on some of its younger guys to step up.

“They played unbelievable,” said Trainor. “Matt Hill stepped up for us, taking a lot of wings on face-offs and just getting [ground balls] for us, and Siebert had [a scoring chance.] But they’re going to keep getting their chances and they’re seizing the opportunity.”

The Minutemen are back in action next Saturday when they travel to New Haven to take on a top-flight program in Yale.

Ben Painchaud can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Ben_Painchaud.

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