UMass comes out on top over Albany 12-9

The Minutemen’s defense proves to be the difference maker in their victory

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Eva Trainer/ Daily Collegian

By Shanti Furtado, Collegian Staff

In another close matchup this season, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team secured a win against Albany on Tuesday 12-9. Coming off a two-game losing streak, UMass’ hunger to improve its record proved enough, bettering to 2-3 on the season.

After Saturday’s heartbreaking overtime defeat versus Yale, the Minutemen had to make a quick turnaround to match the high intensity of the visiting Great Danes. Coach Greg Canella expressed his satisfaction with his team to combat their demanding schedule.

“The Saturday to Tuesday game is hard enough, but when you have an opponent that’s fresh it is even that much harder,” Canella said. “We kind of looked off a little bit in the first few minutes of the game in terms of dodging, and then we started getting our feet under us a bit more.”

The first half of the game resulted in most of the offense that was produced during the 60 minutes of play. UMass scored nine times, but the Great Danes were the ones who let their presence known at the very start of regulation. The score was 2-0 Albany quickly into the game, off the sticks of Corey Yunker and Amos Whitcomb. However, as the quarter dwindled, as did Albany’s momentum.

The Minutemen were able to find the back of the net five times in the final five minutes of the first quarter, with goals from: Grant Breyo, Shane O’Leary, Gabriel Procyk, Matt Weigand and James Caddigan. Breyo, O’Leary and Procyk all went on to have multi-point games, Procyk coming out on top with five points on six shots.

The lone goal from Weigand late in the first quarter, is far from the only factor the senior long stick midfielder added to UMass’ performance. With close defense player, Adam Towey out on injury, today marked his second game in Towey’s position. Weigand’s versatility was felt across the field, facilitating much of the offense and defense for UMass on the afternoon.

“Matty [Weigand] has a willingness to help the team … he scored against Yale on Saturday and had a goal and assist today. His natural position is up in front as a pole, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team. It says a lot about who he is as a person.”

Similar statements were echoed by Weigand’s fellow close defenseman, Sam Eisenstadt, who earned his own three ground balls and turnovers on Tuesday.

“He’s a grinder, so it’s not surprising that he had a really good game,” Eisenstadt said. “He has a great stick and is great off the ball. Things have really fallen into place for him.”

As for the second half of the game, the Minutemen struggled to generate the same offense they produced in the first thirty minutes of play. The Great Danes outscored UMass during this stretch of play, their transition work leading to a lot of time in the attacking zone.

“We haven’t been great in those situations [transitions]. Gabe [Procyk] was able to get underneath in a midline scrum with Weigand, but it has been a little tight in those situations,” Canella said.

Nonetheless of being zoned for the better part of the end of the game, UMass’ defense held strong, resulting in its goaltender Matt Knote having to fend off 15 shots on net in the final two quarters, only four of them resulting in goals. The Minutemen went 18-19 on the afternoon in clears, emblematic of the back-end’s strength.

“I thought the defense played great today,” Canella said. “Albany is a team that pushes the ball in transition every opportunity trying to get up field…Hopefully they [the defense] can continue to be consistent. They were on Saturday, and again today.”

“It’s always good to win a ball game, but you can’t celebrate… it’s another short week for us,” Canella said. “LIU is an excellent team. They probably have one or two of the better attackmen we will face. And maybe the best goalie we will face the entire season,” Canella said.

UMass looks ahead to a Saturday matchup against Long Island University. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at Garber Field.

Shanti Furtado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ShantiFurtado.