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 cruises to 17-6 win over Merrimack

An early six-goal lead and strong defensive play guide Minutemen to victory
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team coasted to a 17-6 win over Merrimack with the support of a stifling defensive performance.

The Minutemen (3-1) kept the Warriors (2-2) off the scoreboard for the first 25 minutes of the contest. Defensive starters Owen Quinn, Kyle Swanson and Jake Dulac led the way, along with star goalie Matt Knote.

The aggressive style of defense set the tone for UMass in the early goings. Holding Merrimack’s attack to just two shots on goal in the first quarter allowed it to accumulate a six-goal lead.

UMass closed out the Warriors’ shooters at every juncture, preventing quality chances from forming in front of Knote’s net. Merrimack failed to throw more than six shots on target in any given period.

“[Assistant coach Noah Fossner] has done a great job with our guys in terms of getting out there, playing guys, being the aggressor,” head coach Greg Cannella said. “I thought we slayed at times when we needed to, and we held the times we didn’t, [Saturday] we did a good job. Again, [Knote is] back there catching the ball. So, it’s a good formula.”

The defense transitioned smoothly into offense on Saturday afternoon. Mason Bregman continued to display his scoring prowess, registering a hat trick in the first frame of play. He ducked inside his defender and finished between the wickets of the goalie to open his account on the day.

Bregman does his best work when he begins his move behind the goal. He utilized a perfectly executed roll dodge to complete the hat trick near the close of the period.

“[Bregman’s] an everyday guy, he works very hard at it,” Cannella said. “It’s not a surprise, and you just hope that he can continually get better, as everybody else should be looking at and improving themselves too. [Bregman] has been consistent. And fortunately for us, you got some of your top players that are your hardest workers.”

Faceoff specialist Caleb Hammett gathered the Gorillas valuable possessions in the win. He won 77.8 percent of his draws but added another element to his game against Merrimack. Directly after Bregman’s fourth tally of the game, Hammett scooped the ensuing faceoff and took it all the way. He took some ferocious hits on his sprint towards goal, but his pump fakes created space and opened up a clear lane for his second career goal.

“[Hammett] won draws early, so that’s where you get momentum,” Cannella said. “We scored early in the first quarter, which put us up five or six, and then you’re able to play a little bit more relaxed. [Hammett’s] performance that he had was excellent. Anytime he can do that and get us extra possessions on offense, it’s great.”

Caelin Lewis added two more goals to his season total on Saturday. Mike Tobin shoveled a crafty pass in his direction, which he snuck into the net for his eighth goal of the year. Lewis and Bregman are now tied atop the team’s scoring list.

Grant Breyo and Carter Castillo both scored doubles as well. Castillo scored both of his goals in a similar fashion, through the usage of shot fakes. On the first of his pair, he faked shots both high and low before tucking it under the crossbar.

The large lead provided opportunities for some fresh faces to appear off the bench. John Crehan and Brian Jackman each scored their first career goal late in the fourth quarter. Merrimack posted four goals in the final frame, when many of the Minutemen starters had departed the game.

UMass looks to extend its three-game winning streak on Saturday, March 2 against Albany. Faceoff at Garber Field will take place at 1 p.m.

Cameron Pellegrino can be reached at [email protected].

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