UMass men’s lacrosse defeats Drexel in regular season finale

Minutemen clinch spot in CAA tournament

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Marco Lopez, Collegian Staff

In its final regular season game on Friday night at Garber Field, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team defeated Drexel by a score of 13-7. The win secured the Minutemen’s spot in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament that starts next week in Philadelphia.

UMass (8-5, 3-2 CAA) led for the last three remaining quarters to cruise to a comfortable win over the Dragons (6-7, 2-3 CAA). Logan Liljeberg, Kevin Tobin and Gabriel Procyk all recorded hat tricks in the victory.

The Minutemen needed the win in order to guarantee their spot in the CAA tournament, as a loss would have meant potentially having to wait for other results around the conference to help their status.

“You always want to take it into your hands,” UMass coach Greg Cannella. “We’d be kicking ourselves if we had to wait for results of other people, it’s not any fun.”

Drexel started off the game with a 3-2 lead that included three straight goals in the first quarter. Procyck got things going for the Minutemen offensively and scored the first three goals of the game. He recorded his third goal to cap off the hat trick after an inside pass from Mike Tobin for the left-handed score to tie the game at three apiece. After the Minutemen took a 4-3 lead from a Liljeberg goal, Drexel never regained the lead.

It was also senior night for UMass and the three highest scorers in the game may have played their final game at Garber Field in their collegiate careers. Liljeberg, Tobin, and Procyk, along with the other seniors were honored after the game.

“Good victory, really good team win,” Canella said. “[It was] Senior night so seniors get to go off with a [win] and a good memory for them as they move forward.”

“Competitive game, our guys had a lot of energy early in the game and really throughout the game, I thought they were able to sustain [Drexel’s] energy. We settled in after they scored three straight [goals] in the first quarter…jumped back in the lead there and kind of just held onto it.”

The offense delivered in the win but UMass’ defense was also crucial in earning the victory. The defense allowed seven goals with two goals total in the second half. Goalie Matt Knote had six saves in the game.

“Our defense did a nice job in the second half. Caleb Hammett and our wing play was outstanding today, 17/24 [on] faceoffs,” Cannella said. “We were able to sustain the energy that we needed for 60 minutes and Drexel is really good, they’re averaging 14 goals per game in conference. Again, letting up two goals in the second half was the difference in the game.”

With the defense playing well, the offense felt comfortable on the field going up against a tough opponent like Drexel.

“[Having good defense] definitely settles us down a bit,” Kevin Tobin said. “We don’t feel like we need to make a risky play to get a goal. Good to know they have our backs.”

An interesting story for UMass has been the emergence of redshirt freshman Aidan Kaminska. After scoring a career-high three goals against Hofstra last week, Kaminska added two on Friday. After not playing for most of the season, Kaminska has emerged as a great contributor for the Minutemen.

“Aidan [Kaminska] is a guy that’s playing with a lot of confidence, that’s why he’s playing. He played well in practice,” Cannella said. “We have confidence in Aidan as a staff, and now everyone has trust in him because he’s gone out there and performed at a high level. He’s just a worker.”

It was clear that the contributions of everyone on the field, both offensively and defensively, were key factors in UMass’ win over the Dragons.

“Just a lot of people stepped up,” Tobin said. “It was a big team effort, a lot of people produced, a lot of people came in the game and made a difference, so it was contributions from a lot of people that helped.”

Back to back wins for the Minutemen have the team feeling confident heading into the conference tournament next week.

“[The mentality is] pretty much the same it’s been the same couple of weeks, the last couple of weeks have been do or die for us. Nothing really changes,” Tobin said.

“Just win so we can keep the group together for longer,” Gabriel Procyk added.

UMass will play in the first round of the CAA tournament on Thursday. Its opponent is to be determined.

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected]