Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Another lopsided win for men’s lacrosse

UMass routs Utah 16-2

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Another lopsided win for men’s lacrosse

(Simon Nathans/ Daily Collegian)

(Simon Nathans/ Daily Collegian)

(Simon Nathans/ Daily Collegian)

(Simon Nathans/ Daily Collegian)

By Ben Painchaud, Collegian Staff

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Kevin Tobin scored five goals, Isaac Paparo caused four turnovers and the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team demolished Utah 16-2 on Sunday for its fourth win in a row.

Saturday was the third-straight game that UMass (5-3) has defeated its opponent by a margin of 10 goals or more. Before drubbing Utah (4-6), UMass defeated UMass Lowell 14-4 on Tuesday and squashed NJIT 19-7 last Saturday.

UMass began to pull away in the second quarter with three goals from Chris Connolly, one from Jeff Trainor and another from Tobin. Tobin scored earlier in the first quarter and proceeded to tack on three more in the second half. The sophomore middle was aggressive looking for his shot, with two of his five goals coming unassisted.

Tobin, who stands just 5’6,” takes advantage of his small stature, which allows him to squeeze through cracks in the defense and create shots.

“I think I use it to my advantage,” Tobin said. “I think a lot of people underestimate me. I just play fast all over the field and see what happens.”

“[Tobin] uses his heart,” coach Greg Cannella said. “He’s tough as nails. He’s fearless.”

UMass was all over the Utes defensively, with 13 of Utah’s 21 turnovers caused by UMass. Paparo led both teams with four caused turnovers. The Minutemen were able to create some fast breaks and cash in on Utah’s sloppiness.

“I think Tommy [Meyers] had a huge game, had a great day at the X,” goalie Sean Sconone said. “Those guys do a great job in transition. We practice it all week, so to execute like that is good. Their goalie made some great saves though, give a ton of credit, kid played really well today.”

Up 7-1 going into the half, UMass tacked on three more unanswered goals in the third. In the fourth, UMass piled on with six goals, with contributions from Kevin Cutinella, Tobin, Devin Spencer and Michael Biddle.

Utah finally got a second goal on the board in the fourth after being held scoreless during the entire middle frame. The two goals scored by Utah were the fewest scored by a UMass opponent this year, besting the previous low of four allowed to UMass Lowell.

After four straight wins, UMass is looking to ride its momentum, but also wary of getting complacent.“You come back on Tuesday and you tell them we’re going to work really, really hard,” said Cannella, “and we’re going to work on our next opponent. What happened on Sunday doesn’t matter anymore.”

Cannella praises DI newcomers Utah

Cannella and Sconone had high praise after the game for Utah, which is in the midst of its first year as a Division 1 program.

“I think they did it the right way,” Cannella said. “They hired those coaches and they’ve coached those kids for two years, and now this is the third year and that’s when they elevated [the program to Division 1]… Hopefully some Pac 12 schools can possibly hop on board and maybe they can form a league out there.”

Cannella views Utah, an independent, as an experiment for the Pac 12 and other schools in the area to see how western schools can implement DI lacrosse. Utah has four wins on the season over Mercer, Air Force, Bellarmine and Furman, three of which came at home.

“Can they schedule people?” Cannella asked. “Can they compete with people? And obviously they can, they have.”

Leading the transition to DI for Utah is coach Brian Holman, in his third year with the program. Among his assistants is Will Manny, a UMass alum.

“They got a great coaching staff,” Sconone said. “Will Manny played here and all those guys are top Major League Lacrosse players… they play fast for a first-year program. Hopefully we get to go there next year, go out west for a trip.”

Manny played for the Minutemen from 2010-2013, finishing fifth all-time in points at UMass with 201. He won the CAA Offensive Player of the Year award in 2012 and has gone on to play six seasons in Major League Lacrosse.

“Will is such a positive person, a positive influence for those young guys on Utah and the older guys on Utah,” Cannella said. “Tremendous representative of UMass lacrosse and wherever he goes, so it’s great to see him.”

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

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