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 Athletics’ biggest ‘what-if’ moments from 2019-20

Addressing some of the what-ifs from last year’s athletics
Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

What if men’s lacrosse had the opportunity to extend their winning streak?

Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team finished its brief season ranked No. 12 after it was brought to an abrupt halt by the coronavirus pandemic. The Minutemen were the only team nationally ranked in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

The Minutemen went 5-2 in their seven-game season, taking down the No. 1 ranked team in their path. UMass pulled off the upset win at home in February against the Yale Bulldogs who were then the top team in the nation. The Minutemen beat the Bulldogs by a score of 13-10 at Garber Field. It was the first time in program history they had beaten the top-ranked team in the nation.

The Minutemen were on a four-game winning streak when their season was cut short. They had beaten UMass Lowell, Yale, Albany and Long Island University. UMass was set to face Utah next, but its season ended just days before. The sky was the limit for them after pulling off the huge upset win against Yale. Who knows just how far they could have gone if their season was never ended by the pandemic. The Minutemen will look to put together a strong 2021 campaign as they have multiple seniors returning for a fifth season with the team under head coach Greg Cannella.

What if Hockey East had to see John Leonard and the Minutemen in the playoffs?

UMass hockey was Hockey East’s No. 2 ranked team heading into the postseason tournament. The Minutemen were looking to prove themselves as a top hockey team again by making another deep playoff run. However, on the night before the playoff tournament, their 2020 season was ended.

UMass was set to host No. 19 Northeastern for its opening quarterfinal series of the playoffs. The Minutemen were heading into the playoffs with an overall record of 21-11-2. Ranked ninth in the national polls, UMass had given themselves another opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. It was going to be its second straight appearance in the tournament which would be the first time that had happened in program history.

The Minutemen were being led by players like Mitchell Chaffee and Hobey Baker candidate John Leonard. Leonard was leading the NCAA with 27 goals scored. Just behind him was Chaffee who was second on the team with 29 points scored in 30 games. The Minutemen were heating up and eager to prove themselves in the playoffs. Who knows how much damage they could have done in the playoffs if given the opportunity.

What if men’s basketball was given its shot in the A-10 Tournament?

The men’s basketball team had traveled to Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament. UMass was given the No. 8 seed heading into the tournament. They were set to face No. 9 Virginia Commonwealth in the first round. The Minutemen had beaten the Rams of VCU at home earlier in the season by a score of 60-52. Their defense had stepped up in the second half of that game allowing just 19 points after they allowed the Rams to score 33 in the first half. Their season was ended just a day before the A-10 tournament was set to begin.

UMass finished its season with a record of 14-17. They went 8-10 in A-10 conference games to finish in eighth place. The Minutemen were led by the fantastic play from freshman Tre Mitchell.

Mitchell was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, the first UMass player to earn this honor since 2004. His 548 points scored were fourth among freshman in the NCAA. Mitchell was the first UMass freshman to be named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference team. His five straight A-10 Rookie of the Week awards were also the most for a UMass player. Mitchell and the Minutemen were looking forward to trying to make a run in the A-10 tournament before it was canceled just the day before.

What if women’s lacrosse high powered offense kept playing?

The Minutewomen opened up their season beating No. 5 Boston College 15-11 at Garber Field. They lost their next game to No. 22 Dartmouth before rolling off three straight wins. UMass finished its season with a record of 4-1 before it was abruptly ended.

After losing to Dartmouth, the Minutewomen rebounded with a strong performance against UMass Lowell beating them by a score of 21-8. In their five games played, they averaged just over 17 goals a game. They scored 15 or more goals in four of their five games, scoring 21 goals twice.

Their offense was powered by seniors Kaitlyn Cerasi and Stephanie Croke, as well as upperclassmen Haley Connaughton and Emma Dotsikas. Cerasi and Croke both scored 14 goals to lead the offense. Connaughton and Cerasi scored a total of 24 points to boost the Minutewomen to their 4-1 record. If their season hadn’t been cut short, they may have earned more victories from their strong offensive performances.

Carson Depp can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @CarsonDepp.

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