Knote slows down high-powered attack in loss to No. 14 Delaware

Knote held Delaware to just nine goals

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Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

By Ben Astill

When Matt Knote took over as the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse goaltender in 2020 as a true freshman, he had massive shoes to fill. His predecessor, Sean Sconone, left Amherst as a first team All-American.

In the two seasons that have since followed, Knote’s level of focus and composure between the pipes has proven why UMass head coach Greg Cannella trusted him to be the man to take over such an important role for the Minutemen (4-5, 4-4 Colonial Athletic Association).

In a crucial CAA game against Delaware that could possibly mean the end of the UMass season, the Minutemen struggled. They did not score for the final 39 and a half minutes of the game and committed eight penalties.

In a game in which not much went well for UMass, the bright spot was the play of Knote, who kept the Minutemen within striking distance. He kept one of the top offenses in the country to under 10 goals with a stellar performance in goal.

“[Knote] played well. He stood in there, stood tall, and made some great saves” Cannella said. “Not only Matt, but the whole defense, you hold a team like that averaging [over 14 goals per game] to nine, under double digits, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

There was a clear challenge facing the Blue Hens’ (10-2, 7-1 CAA) offense. Powered by three of the top offensive players in the country, Mike Robinson, Charlie Kitchen and Tye Kurtz, Delaware’s attack has led them to the top of the CAA. Knote, despite being an underclassman, was not phased by the star power on the other side and performed well throughout Friday’s game.

In the five minutes that ended the third quarter, Delaware had the momentum of four unanswered goals and was able to possess the ball for the entire last third of the quarter, keeping the pressure on the Minutemen to make stops. Knote responded with three crucial saves and shut the Blue Hens out during this stretch to keep the Minutemen in it.

Although a combination of offensive struggles and penalties would cause UMass to be shut out in the fourth quarter and fall short of the win, the performance of Knote and the defense, especially against such a tough opponent, was a positive takeaway for the Gorillas.

Knote finished Friday’s game with 14 saves. It was not his first impressive performance for the Minutemen, and with three more years of eligibility left for Knote after this 2021 season, the UMass coaching staff has reason to believe it will not be his last.

“We hope he continues to grow his leadership, continues to grow his work ethic, and his confidence,” Cannella said of Knote’s future.

The future for the 2021 Minutemen is looking uncertain, but what is looking more certain is that if Matt Knote continues to perform like he did against Delaware on Friday, goaltending will continue to be a strength for the Gorillas for years to come.

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