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

Defense dominant in UMass men’s lacrosse victory over Merrimack

Matt Knote and defense suppress Merrimack’s offense in the 17-6 win
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team ended a strong week with its third straight win, this one thanks to the phenomenal defensive display. While UMass (3-1) has won its games on the back of outstanding offensive performances early this season, this win over the Merrimack Warriors was marked by the great showings from Matt Knote and his defensive counterparts, which led to a 17-6 victory.

This season the defense has held strong so far, keeping UMass Lowell and Marist at bay, only 18 goals between the two games. Knote was a big piece to this defensive puzzle with a save percentage of .570. This was heavily bolstered in this game with a save percentage of .800.

The Minutemen defense has the added security blanket of Knote, but their own performances shouldn’t be brushed aside. The starting defensive group of Owen Quinn, Kyle Swanson and Jake Dulac made it very hard for Merrimack (2-2) to find quality opportunities. Merrimack only took two shots on goal in the first quarter of play which was thanks to not only the dominant offense and quick transition, but also how strong the defense stood.

“They did a really good job setting the edge and just playing with a lot of intensity and then sticking to our game plan that was a big emphasis this week not getting away from that,” Knote said on the defense. “So just being able to do that early really helped us.”

Merrimack did get a lot of shots off Saturday, racking up 41, however only 18 were on target. This is a testament to how well the Gorillas pressured the midfielders and made the Warriors take difficult shots.

“Our short sticks and our poles are all pretty solid on the ball. And that makes a big difference,” head coach Greg Canella said. “You saw a couple other games where we weren’t great on the ball. You get beat one on one and hands-free shot. It’s a hard thing to save for a goalie and especially within 10 yards, right? [Saturday they] didn’t get any of those opportunities like that. So really good effort by that group and as a whole really good effort.”

The fifth-year goalie Knote has been excellent all season and this game was no different. Knote stood tall making 12 saves and only allowing three goals before being taken off with eight minutes remaining, giving backup goalie Tyler Bluse some time on the field.

“[Knote’s] obviously been solid all year. He’s a terrific goalie, terrific leader. You know, and at this point, you know, it’s what you’re [going to] see from week to week here,” Cannella said. “He expects this of himself. And, obviously, if you have your own expectations, and you worked very hard at it, typically you’ll succeed. So he’s done a good job with that.”

The defense was aggressive in punishing Merrimack’s attackers by being aggressive with their sticks. In times where the defense faltered, Knote came up big making saves for the Minutemen.

UMass faces the Albany Great Danes at home on Saturday, March 2. Face off is set for 1 p.m. at Garber field for the fourth game of the home stand.

Dylan Shalom can be reached at [email protected].

Myles Donato can be reached at [email protected].

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