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

Even in loss to Towson, UMass men’s lacrosse has promising moments from young players

Minutemen get four of their six goals from underclassmen in 9-6 loss to Tigers
Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team went into its senior day against CAA rival Towson looking to snap a two-game losing streak and pick up a crucial conference win. The Minutemen (3-4, 3-3 Colonial Athletic Association) fell well short of the victory, but several younger contributors reminded those watching that the future is still bright in Amherst.

The Tigers (6-6, 3-3 CAA) came to Garber Field with momentum, having won two in a row and three of their last four, including two wins over ranked teams Loyola and Hofstra. Early on, it was clear the Tigers were the more focused team as they picked up an early 4-0 lead that they would hold on to the rest of the way.

Facing such a team with so much momentum was clearly a challenge for the Minutemen. They had their lowest offensive output of the season with only six goals on the day and faced their largest deficit of the season when they were down 9-4 heading into halftime.

Still, despite all these challenges, the positive takeaway for the Gorillas was the performances they got from the younger members of their roster, who will lead this UMass team for years to come.

Perhaps the most obvious bright spot for the Minutemen on Saturday was the play of Dillon Arrant. The freshman added three goals to his season total, and he now leads the team with 17 goals on the season. Arrant has been a standout all season, and his scoring has been crucial to the UMass offense.

Especially on a day in which veteran stars like Jeff Trainor and Devin Spencer struggled to get going offensively, Arrant was the bright spot on an otherwise unproductive and turnover prone UMass attack.

“He’s a great kid, he’s a very hard worker, and he’s coachable” UMass head coach Greg Cannella said of Arrant. “He will only get better, and he has continued to get better throughout the season.”

Arrant and Junior Gabriel Procyk have led the Minutemen in goals all season, and they will be critical to providing stability and production on the offensive side of things once Graduate leaders Trainor, Spencer, and captain Billy Philpott leave the program.

“Right now, on attack those are the guys who have performed the best in practice and certainly in game” Cannella said of the young offensive duo before last week’s game against Hofstra, stating what made them so important to the team was “their work ethic, and so far, their output”

Another young standout against Towson was sophomore Zach Hochman. The faceoff specialist won 17 of 19 faceoff opportunities on the day. His explosiveness has led to several quick goals after faceoffs this year, and he added another on Saturday, scoring only six seconds after Kevin Tobin put one away, quickly cutting a four-goal deficit to two.

“[Hochman] had a good day” Cannella said of the sophomore’s performance “He faced off against some really good guys, two times with the Hofstra guy [Brian Herber] who’s winning almost 70 percent of his faceoffs right now, but we know Hoch is a tough kid and he bounced back”

In the second half, a familiar face made his impact for the Minutemen. Sophomore goalie Matt Knote, who has been remarkably composed for UMass on the defensive side, struggled early but was crucial to helping shut out Towson in the second half.

Knote’s performance in goal this season has been impressive, and with defensive leaders like captain Jackson Suboch leaving the team after this season, Knote will need to help lead UMass on the defensive side for years to come.

Through a season in which this UMass team has endured stoppages due to the pandemic, missed their leading point scorer Chris Connolly for most of the season, and navigated through a difficult schedule, they have needed every player possible to step up, and many newer members of the team have answered the call.

Though it has not always been enough to win, the production and effort these younger players have shown has been vital to UMass staying competitive, and how well they have performed this year bodes well for the Minutemen in their two remaining games this season, next season and beyond.

The Gorillas will hope these young standouts can help them snap this three-game losing streak and possibly make their way into the CAA conference tournament. Their next chance to gain some momentum and another conference win will come against the Fairfield Stags on the road on Saturday, April 24 at noon.

Ben Astill can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter @benastill5

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