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 falls 13-12 to No. 8 Army in season opener

A late surge of four unanswered goals not enough to propel Minutemen to victory
Shilpa Sweth
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team surged back with four unanswered goals in the second half of the season opener against No. 8 Army, but ultimately fell 13-12.

The Minutemen (0-1) trailed the Black Knights (1-0) 7-6 as the third quarter neared its close. With just eight ticks left on the clock, UMass attacker Carter Castillo picked out Grant Breyo from his position behind the net. Breyo went airborne, corralling the pass and fired a shot past Army goalie Matt Chess, all in one continuous motion.

Breyo’s goal in his home state of Georgia proved to be a massive spark for the Minutemen. UMass carried its momentum into the final frame. With one minute gone, Syracuse transfer Caelin Lewis scored his first goal in maroon and black. Lewis bounced his shot off the field, sending turf pellets flying, and the ball into the back of the net recovering the lead.

Exactly three minutes later, Conor Foley scampered around the Army goal, fighting through contact and launching his shot goalwards to double the advantage. UMass FOGO Caleb Hammett won the ensuing faceoff to spring another attack for UMass. Lewis kept his balance and tossed the ball to John Krisch, who stepped into a missile of a shot that nestled in for a 10-7 scoreline.

The Black Knights awoke as the game clock rolled under 10 minutes to play. The four-goal run from the Minutemen was matched directly by four unanswered tallies from Army. Jackson Eicher bookended the rush with goals on both sides of the swing.

Despite the Army eruption, UMass continued to battle. Shane O’Leary deployed a hesitation move to gain inside leverage on his defender, then equalized the score whilst taking a hefty shove to the back. A flag prevented the goal from counting originally, but it was allowed following a video review.

A dramatic conclusion saw the Black Knights add two goals, clinching the game with under a minute remaining. Breyo’s late sprint completed his hat trick and served as a consolation goal, as the Minutemen lost by one in the end.

“[Breyo] is a very consistent practice player, very consistent game player,” head coach Greg Cannella said. “He’s a strong, physical kid with a tremendous attitude and a tremendous work ethic. He’s earned everything he’s gotten and hopefully that will continue.”

Army’s late comeback was heartbreaking for UMass, but it remains optimistic heading into the next slate of games.

“We have high expectations for ourselves,” Cannella said. “We hung in there, pretty much throughout the game. Obviously we’re disappointed in the outcome, but not discouraged with the team’s effort and energy throughout.”

Anthony Sericolo muscled his way towards the net and sniped home the Minutemen’s first goal of the season, just over a minute into the game. Army got back on track and controlled the tempo in the early goings as the teams settled into the fresh campaign. The Black Knights’ experience showed as the game progressed.

The 2023 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year Matt Knote posted 16 saves in a valiant effort. Knote kept his team afloat in the first half when the Gorillas struggled to break through the stout defense of the Black Knights.

“[Knote] was excellent,” Cannella said. “He was very good in the clear game, very composed and was a tremendous leader.”

UMass found the most trouble inside of the faceoff circle. Hammett won eight of his 28 attempts, a 28.6 percent win rate. On the other side of the field, Army’s Will Coletti won a whopping 72.4 percent of his draws. The Black Knights’ success on faceoffs got them valuable possessions en route to victory.

The Minutemen return to Amherst to kick off a five-game home stand at Garber Field, beginning with UMass Lowell on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Cameron Pellegrino can be reached at [email protected].

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