Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

Strong efforts from Knote and Trainor not enough as UMass falls in CAA Semifinals

Knote and Trainor were both CAA first-team
Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team came into Thursday’s Colonial Athletic Association semifinal matchup after losing four of its last five games. At the other end of the field, Drexel was entering the matchup scorching hot riding a seven-game win streak.

UMass (4-6, 4-4 CAA) just snuck into the CAA postseason tournament, thanks to a last-minute goal by the Dragons (10-2, 6-2 CAA) in their regular-season finale matchup against Towson.

It was clear heading into Thursday’s game that the Minutemen’s task of taking down a surging Drexel team would be difficult, but not impossible. UMass came away victorious in its first matchup with the Dragons but fell short by the smallest margins in the second matchup losing 12-11.

However, this was a different Drexel team, it was a team that appeared to be surging at the right point in the season as they hadn’t lost since that first matchup with the Minutemen back on March 20.

After going scoreless in the second half last week against Delaware, it was clear that UMass would need to get their offense going early in order to stand a chance against Drexel. Wasting no time was grad student Jeff Trainor, who ran right by his defender and took a high bounce shot that found the back of the net. It was obvious early on that he did not want this to be his last lacrosse game wearing a Minutemen uniform.

“Anytime you have a player of Jeff’s caliber, it’s really difficult to replace him,” head coach Greg Canella said of this being Trainor’s final game. “You shouldn’t try to replace him, you should just try to work on your team and work on your culture.”

Trainor got the offense going early for UMass as they were able to build off of his early goal and eventually stretch the lead out to five. The Minutemen held a four-goal lead into halftime as they looked dominant in the first half. Along with the offense clicking in the first half was sophomore goalie Matt Knote. Knote picked up right where he left off last week as he recorded eight saves through the first 30 minutes of play.

“The goalie’s job is to make saves, he did that,” Canella said of Knote. “He did that tonight, did a great job with it, we’ll continue to need him to do that moving forward.”

UMass had been dominating the possessions in the first half. For a moment it seemed that the Minutemen could pull off the upset, but there was a lot of lacrosse left. There were another 30 minutes and those 30 belonged to the Dragons.

The narrative flipped, instead of UMass controlling possessions, it was Drexel who held the ball for a majority for the second half.

Knote did all he could in net for the Minutemen. He continued to make ridiculous saves and prove why he recently earned his spot on the All-CAA first team.

“Three more years, he’s got a bright future as long as he continues to work very hard,” Canella said of Knote’s future with the Minutemen.

However, it was only a matter of time until the Dragons started finding the back of the net. Knote stood tall in the second half recording ten saves, bringing his total for the game up to 18. For as long as Drexel held the ball in the second half, they were bound to score at some point. The Dragons began to score as they took the lead and never looked back.

Like some of the other games of the season, Knote was the reason the Minutemen weren’t getting blown out of the water. Despite not getting the end result he wanted, he continued to build on his impressive overall performance this season.

“I think he’s just got more confident and more comfortable in the goal and as a leader for us on that side of the field,” Canella said.

Along with teammate Matt Knote, Trainor was also named to the All-CAA first team on Wednesday. It was the third time Trainor has earned the award, doing so in his sophomore and junior season as well. It has been an eventful past two weeks for the senior. On April 26, the Archers Lacrosse Club selected him with the 18th overall pick in the PLL draft.

Along with being a talented player, Trainor displayed the fight and competitiveness that he plays with despite seeing his collegiate career come to an end.

“Hopefully, some of the younger guys will aspire to be like Jeff,” Cannella said. “To be that two-way guy that can create for us in transition, get after it on offense, and also play great defense.”

Trainor and Knote left everything on the field Thursday night, proving why they’ve been named to the All-CAA first team. Two players who really shined for the Minutemen this season but have unfortunately played their final lacrosse game together as teammates in a UMass uniform.

Carson Depp and be reached at Follow him on Twitter @CarsonDepp.

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