Minutemen lose their home finale against Towson 9-6

UMass falls to fifth in CAA

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Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

By Carson Depp, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team lost its third straight game Saturday against Towson 9-6.

UMass (3-4, 3-3 Colonial Athletic Association) was looking to secure a win in its home finale and senior day against the Tigers (6-6, 3-3 CAA).

Towson came into the matchup hopeful to maintain and build momentum off its two-game winning streak. The Tigers were able to do just that as they started off red hot and never looked back Saturday at Garber Field

UMass did not do themselves any favors as they turned the ball over multiple times in the offensive end early on as they were struggling to pass the ball around efficiently.

“We seemed tentative with our skills, we seemed tentative in transition, we were not ready to defend early on in this game,” head coach Greg Canella said. “A lot of things weren’t good and that’s why the outcome was the way it was.”

The Minutemen found themselves in a big hole early on as Towson had built themselves a four-goal lead midway through the first quarter. It appeared early on as if UMass was simply outmatched everywhere on the field by the Tigers.

“Towson is very good defensively, very strong, some big kids pushing us around,” Canella said. “When we had our opportunities…  the goalie made some good saves or we missed the cage.”

Similar to the Minutemen’s prior matchup against Hofstra, it was the Tobin brothers who were finally able to get UMass on the board. This time it was senior Kevin Tobin who collected a rebound off Towson redshirt junior goalie Shane Brennan and buried the ball in the back of the net.

Tobin sparked a quick run for the Minutemen as sophomore faceoff specialist Zach Hochman won the ensuing faceoff and took it to the cage for the goal. UMass was suddenly only down a pair after back-to-back goals within a couple of seconds.

It felt as if the momentum may have shifted in the Minutemen’s direction after a quick run from the UMass. However, any momentum that may have been stolen from the Tigers was taken right back as junior midfielder Ryan Swain continued to find the back of the net. Swain finished the first half with a hattrick as the Tigers looked to be in control once again with a 9-4 lead at the break.

“They weren’t ready to play, and not being ready to play is on me as a coach,” Canella said of his team.

After a first half that was mostly controlled by Towson, it was the Minutemen who looked to be the stronger team for a majority of the second half. Sophomore goalie Matt Knote started to find himself as he recorded eight saves in the second half as opposed to just two in the first half. The stronger performance from Knote and UMass in the second half wasn’t enough as they dug themselves in too deep of a hole for them to climb out of.

“It’s simple, it’s not hard, I mean everyone wants to try and it make this really hard, it’s not hard at all,” Canella said. “You don’t play with intensity, someone will kick your ass.”

Despite not allowing a single goal in the second half, the Minutemen only scored two themselves, once again not nearly enough to overcome the five-goal lead Towson held at halftime.

“We shut them out in the second half, two quarters in a row is pretty good,” Canella said. “That just comes with intensity and that proves to us that we weren’t ready to play.”

Freshman attack Dillon Arrant was once again vitally important to UMass’ offense. Arrant recorded three goals, adding to his impressive freshman campaign as he now leads the Minutemen with 17 goals in seven games.

“There wasn’t a lot of guys who played great today, and he was able to,” Canella said. He will only get better, and he has continued to get better throughout the season.”

Arrant wasn’t the only Minuteman who shined despite the loss. Hochman was sensational for UMass today in the faceoff circle. The sophomore took 19 faceoffs and won 17 of them.

“You win that many faceoffs you think you’d get the extra possessions, but they were negated through turnovers,” Canella said. “You’re going to turn the ball over and we know that, but today they were unforced, lot of them were drops, lot of them were bad passes.”

Being the home finale for UMass, today was also senior day. It was senior day unlike any other as not only was the class of 2021 recognized, but also the class of 2020. This year, the Minutemen have the biggest roster in program history, and today they may have seen the last from a couple of longtime Gorillas on Garber Field.

“With the grad students, guys like Jeff Trainor, Billy Philpott, Jackson Suboch, those guys are the heart and soul of our team,” Canella said. “Those guys came back, we can’t thank them enough for coming back and being really good leaders.”

While the season is still far from over as UMass a lot left to play for, there is no doubt that this team will look much different and considerably younger next season.

The Minutemen will look to put an end to their losing streak next Saturday against Fairfield.

“One of our major issues is we haven’t had the ability for all of our guys to play well in a game, not once,” Canella said. “This guy plays okay, this guy plays great, and this guy doesn’t play well, that’s a bad formula for success.”

Faceoff between the Minutemen and the Stags (2-7, 0-6 CAA) is set for noon on Saturday, April 24.

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