UMass lacrosse remains hot, defeating Drexel 13-7 at home

Dillon Arrant finishes with four goals, Knote with 20 saves

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Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

By Colin McCarthy, Collegian Staff

Despite its late start to the season, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team continues to build momentum quickly, defeating Drexel 13-7 in its second game of the year on Saturday.

No. 13 UMass (2-0, 2-0 Colonial Athletic Association) did not allow the Dragons (1-2, 1-2 CAA) to get out to a fiery start as they had in each of their two previous meetings. Matt Knote and the Minutemen defense held Drexel to just two first half goals.

“You don’t want to go down in a game like that, 6-2 or 9-2 that we did the last two times they came up here,” head coach Greg Cannella said. “We talked about that this week, fortunately for us we were up 5-2 at halftime.”

Knote stopped 13 shots in the first half alone, and finished with 20 saves, facing a lot less in that back half thanks to stout defense by the UMass defenders, who did not allow the Dragons many quality scoring chances.

On the offensive side, the Minutemen still face some growing pains, with a few too many unforced errors leading to turnovers, both in even strength and extra-man situations.

“We were a little frustrated I thought on the offensive end,” head coach Greg Cannella said. “Mentally we weren’t sharp on the offensive end in the first half at all.”

Some of those frustrations came from UMass’ man-up unit. In extra man situations, the Minutemen capitalized by scoring two goals, but sloppy play also allowed for two shorthanded goals in on the other side.

“Those are the ones that really sting,” Cannella said of the shorthanded goals. “Both of those we threw the ball away or made a poor decision, and we got caught on the offensive end not riding, and they got behind us.

“Sort of inexcusable quite honestly.”

But once UMass’ offense did get going, it showed how high-powered it can be. Dillon Arrant led the second half charge with four goals, and despite tough circumstances for the younger players, the freshman already has six goals through two games, including a laser from the point into the top right corner of the net.

“The reason why he’s playing is because he’s prepared himself the right way,” Cannella said. “And he has a knack, he’s a big kid, so he can take some contact and score the ball, but quite honestly we haven’t had a guy shoot like that from up top in a long time.”

The Minutemen veterans were also on full display on Saturday. Devin Spencer finished with five points and a career-high three assists, Jeff Trainor finished with a pair of goals and assists, and on the defensive end Jackson Suboch tied his career high of three caused turnovers.

Sophomore Zach Hochman had another dominant day in the faceoff circle, winning 11 of his 19 draws, and added another goal to his stat sheet as well. In similar fashion to his first against Fairfield, the faceoff specialist picked up the ground ball and outran everybody on his way to the net for his second of the season.

Cole Hammett also contributed to the faceoff success on Saturday, as he won three of the six draws he attempted.

UMass’ dominant showing will soon be forgotten though, as it immediately looks ahead to Albany in a quick turnaround game on Tuesday. With such little practice time in between, Cannella is more concerned with mental readiness than film study.

“With these quick turnarounds, it’s more about your guys and how they handle it,” Cannella said. We always talk about, it’s not the Xs and Os, it’s the Jimmys and Joes, and in this case, it is because you don’t have a lot of time to prepare.”

UMass is set to clash with the Great Danes at 1 p.m.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.