UMass lacrosse looking for first win of season against Ohio State

Minutemen hoping to bounce back after loss to Army

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Parker Peters

By Ethan Nash, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team will be looking for its first win of the season this Saturday when it takes on No. 12 Ohio State.

The Minutemen (0-1) are coming off a tough 17-4 loss in the season opener at the hands of Army West Point in a game where they went down 9-0 before their first tally.

“You don’t sign up for one game, you sign up for 14,” UMass coach Greg Cannella, who is in his 26th season with the program, said. “It’s a long season and you got to convince the guys that one thing that athletics does for you is – especially early in the season – you have another opportunity against a top-flight team in Ohio State.”

A bright spot for the Minutemen in the loss to Army was redshirt senior Billy Philpott. The short-stick defensive midfielder scored two goals on five goals and added an assist. Philpott and the rest of the UMass offense will be looking to increase production against a Buckeyes (2-0) team that is only giving up an average of 6.5 goals in two games this season.

“We just got to get back to ourselves, truthfully,” Philpott said. “It’s nothing complicated for us, you know. It’s a pretty simple game so we just need to trust each other, play really fast and really hard and good things will happen.”

In addition to a strong defense, the Buckeyes have scored 34 goals in their two games this season against Detroit Mercy and Boston University. Sophomore Jack Myers and senior Tre Leclaire have been key contributors with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

“We expect [Ohio State] to try to run us out of Ohio Stadium,” Cannella said. “[Goalie Josh Kirson] is saving at about 73 percent, which is unheard of in the sport of lacrosse. They’ll try to rush it from the defensive end in transition to the offensive end, score it early. But then they have guys like Leclaire and [Jackson] Reid and Myers that can handle the ball in the attack with their midis.

“We expect them to try to beat the crap out of us from the first minute to the last minute.”

The Minutemen had a similar schedule to begin the 2019 season as they played Army and Ohio State in the first two games of the season, dropping both at home. They’ll look to avoid a similar result while simultaneously putting last week’s game against Army behind them.

“It’s just about the opportunity that the guys have,” Cannella said. “I think they have to embrace that opportunity. And for our seniors, it was an embarrassing moment as it was for me as a coach this past weekend [against Army] so we have a lot to prove to each other. Forget about Ohio State, we have to prove it to each other first before we can step back out there.”

Face-off is slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Ethan Nash can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @ethan_nash15.