Coach Greg Cannella feels men’s lacrosse needs to be ‘more locked in,’ but unconcerned with playoff seeding

Players to juggle upcoming playoffs with academic finals


By Ben Painchaud, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team needs to be “more locked in,” but it’s not concerned with Colonial Athletic Association conference playoff seeding, head coach Greg Cannella said after practice Tuesday.

UMass (9-4, 3-1 CAA) has one more conference matchup with Delaware at Garber Field, before shifting its sights to the postseason, but for now the Minutemen are focused solely on Friday’s game.

Cannella asserted that the seeding implications of the game have not affected his team’s outlook.

“Delaware’s a really good team,” Cannella said. “They’re coming off of a loss and I’m sure their coaches are preparing them the right way. I’m sure they’re preparing the right way to come up here and beat us. That’s what you have to focus on.”

Yet, Cannella was not pleased with the team’s Tuesday practice and said, “We certainly need to be more locked in…If you’re not, you’re gonna get your butt kicked.”

UMass is currently in a three-way tie for first in the CAA alongside Towson and Delaware, with Delaware owning the best overall record at the moment. UMass owns the second-best, and Towson the third-best. Drexel is in fourth at 2-2, Hofstra sits in fifth at 1-3 and Fairfield in last at 0-4. Neither Hofstra nor Fairfield qualified for the tournament with their records. Here are the possible scenarios for how the seeding could shake out:

If UMass and Towson finish tied for first at 4-1 (UMass defeats Delaware, Towson defeats Drexel), UMass is the No. 1 seed and Towson the No. 2 seed (Delaware No. 3, Drexel No. 4). UMass won the head-to-head meeting between the teams.

If Delaware, Drexel and Towson finish tied for second at 3-2 (UMass defeats Delaware, Drexel defeats Towson), UMass is the No. 1 seed, but further seeding would not be determined until after the final conference game, as the three teams would be seeded based upon goal differential. Delaware, Drexel and Towson would all be 1-1 against each other, 0-1 against UMass, 1-0 against Hofstra and 1-0 against Fairfield.

If Towson and Delaware finish tied for first at 4-1 (Delaware defeats UMass, Towson defeats Drexel), Towson is the No. 1 seed and Delaware the No. 2 seed (UMass No. 3, Drexel No. 4). Towson won the head-to-head meeting between the teams.

If Drexel, Towson and UMass finish tied for second at 3-2 (Delaware defeats UMass, Drexel defeats Towson), Delaware is the No. 1 seed. UMass is the No. 2 seed based on its 2-0 record against Drexel and Towson; Drexel is the No. 3 seed based on its 1-1 record against UMass and Towson; Towson is the No. 4 seed based on its 0-2 record against Drexel and UMass.

In addition to conference playoffs, the players have final exams and papers coming up as well, which could perhaps double pressure levels for the student-athletes. Ben Spencer said that senior Tony Reale has stepped up to provide guidance for his teammates as they navigate the two forces.

“If you’re proactive, then you don’t really feel that pressure,” said Spencer, “and that message has been reached out to the guys from our senior captain Tony Reale. He’s done a good job of just making sure that everyone’s on top of their assignments, making sure they’re reaching out to professors if there is a conflict.”

“We ask our guys to make sure that their Sundays are really productive,” said Cannella. “That’s a big day off in terms of rest for our guys, but it’s also a big day in terms of school for the guys, to make sure that they’re all organized for the week.”

Last season the Minutemen narrowly squeaked by the Blue Hens, 9-8, in Delaware. Jeff Trainor notched the game-winner late in the contest to cap off a ferocious UMass comeback.

The Minutemen hold a 13-7 advantage in the series record between the two programs but are 2-3 in their last five meetings.

Game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at Garber Field this Friday.

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