Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

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

UMass men’s lacrosse fails to solve BU’s aggressive defensive gameplan

BU holds Minutemen to six goals on Saturday afternoon
Kayla Wong/ Daily Collegian (2023)

The combination of constant snow coming down on Garber Field and a hyperaggressive Boston University defense created a perfect storm that resulted in a loss for the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon.

 The Terriers playstyle fit the elements very well and the Minutemen’s offense, which has already struggled with turnovers as it is, had a hard time putting together quality offensive possessions as a result, particularly in the first half.

“We got outcoached, I felt, throughout the day,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said.

BU had two specific points of emphasis that it used to disrupt UMass: the 10-man ride and quick double teams.

The Minutemen have been good at clearing the ball to start the season because every player has a good understanding of finding the opening. The 10-man ride leaves no man open, though. In that system, the goaltender comes out of his crease and guards an attackman during transition, which leaves less obvious options for moving the ball over the midfield line.

There’s risk and reward to this aggressive style because if the attacking team can get up the field quickly, there’s an opportunity for a free goal. UMass did that once in the third quarter, sprinting up the sideline and firing a pass down low for an easy empty-net tally. But, despite that one success story, the Terriers deployed the ride nearly perfectly and forced the Minutemen into five failed clears. Three of those came in the first half.

“That’s something that’s really difficult to play against,” Cannella said. “We did a pretty good job, we scored a goal off one of them … but not enough.”

When UMass did beat the 10-man ride, BU’s settled defense was equally chaotic. The Minutemen’s offense typically starts with a dodge from the top of the box, but the Terriers prevented that from being effective with fast double teams. UMass didn’t always see the second man coming to them and spun right into sticks frequently, leading to 19 turnovers.

“We turned the ball over way too much on the offensive end,” Cannella said. “You ask the guys to move the ball on the perimeter and move it quickly, and we probably didn’t do it quick enough. They were faster than us in their recovery.”

By the time Cannella got his team into the locker room to adjust, the Minutemen were already down big and couldn’t overcome the lack of first-half offense. UMass broke down the 10-man ride by using less passes and instead putting more speed on the field to outrun the defense.

Offensively, the Minutemen tried to find more skip passes and move without the ball rather than trying to dodge on the double teams. Both these things produced better results, but not consistently enough to claw back into the game on Saturday.

The silver lining to the 12-6 loss for UMass is that it will help with preparation for Yale, the Minutemen’s next opponent. Cannella is hoping his team will be ready to attack the Bulldogs on March 4 at Garber Field. Face-off is set for noon.

“Yale is a good team, they’re going to be very similar to [BU] as a team,” Cannella said.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *