Jeff Trainor’s fourth quarter performance sinks LIU

Trainor’s three goals in the final frame prove crucial for a UMass win

Eva+Trainer

Eva Trainer

By Anthony Syrek, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team was in trouble late as Long Island possessed a 10-8 lead after Jake Gillis scored with 12:40 left in the fourth.

The Sharks (1-6) had control of the game at that point, having grabbed momentum ever since taking a timeout in the first quarter to adjust their defense. No. 17 UMass (5-2) was struggling to find consistency on offense after LIU’s adjustment.

“We were successful against the zone, and they went to man-to-man,” coach Greg Canella said. “I thought we maybe got a little selfish and tried to make the home run feeds and home run looks.”

But the team found the spark it needed in senior midfielder Jeff Trainor.

Just 30 seconds after the Sharks goal to extend their lead to 10-8, Trainor found the back of net to give UMass life. Shortly thereafter, Trainor tied the game. The Minutemen scored four more–one of those being from Trainor, for the 14-10 win.

“I think he feels like he needs to make plays at that time and we’re fortunate he’s got enough moxie to do that and be successful,” Canella said of Trainor’s play.

Trainor’s goals didn’t come easy – LIU goalie Will Marks entered Tuesday ranked No. 2 in the nation in saves per game. Even though the Minutemen won and put up 14 goals, Marks still proved to be a tough test for the UMass offense.

“I didn’t even know he was a freshman,” Trainor said. “From the film we saw [he was] really good stick side.”

Trainor said once they went away from his stick, they had success. The offensive struggles also came from the Minutemen going away from what they usually do against man defense.

“I just think as a team we kind of put the pieces together and we started hitting singles… and got back to our offense,” Trainor said. “It just happened to be me in the situations where I’m putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Even with the struggles early on, Trainor did score one goal in the first half and showed off his versatility as a two-way midfielder. Trainor made a play on defense, took the ball downfield and scored with 3:35 left in the second quarter to take a 5-4 lead.

“Being a two-way is something I definitely take pride in,” Trainor said.

The Minutemen will try to make it their fifth win a row when they play a neutral site game against Utah on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Anthony Syrek can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ASyrek