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 in semifinals of Atlantic 10 Tournament

Top seed Saint Joseph’s ends Minutemen’s season
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

Just like in 2023, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse season has ended in the Atlantic 10 semifinals. After a 6-7 regular season, the Minutemen (6-8, 2-3 A-10) crashed out in their first postseason game, losing to Saint Joseph’s 11-9.

With just over nine minutes left, UMass’ Mike Tobin fooled Hawks (11-3, 5-0 A-10) goaltender Tommy Gross and ripped a shot to the near post, bringing the Gorillas just a goal away from tying the game at nine. There were stretches of momentum for UMass throughout those final nine minutes, but the game was always just a few steps out of its reach.

The Minutemen couldn’t contain the rampant Levi Anderson, who scored four times en route to the A-10 finals. An offense-driven second half followed a low-scoring first half, which ended with a very tame 4-3 Saint Joseph’s lead.

The Hawks opened the scoring through Griffin Mallory who netted twice in the game, both in the first quarter. UMass attacker Conor Foley then recycled his own run and rounded the goal, tossing it over the outstretched stick of Gross leveling the score at one.

After committing two penalties in quick succession, the Minutemen conceded 15 seconds into the second quarter, which expanded the Hawks’ lead to two. The game would advance in similar fashion, with UMass answering and Saint Joseph’s almost instantly re-establishing a multiple-goal lead.

Shane O’Leary continued his hot run of form, scoring twice for the Minutemen, the first of which was a solo effort. O’Leary received a pass from his own defensive zone, accelerated through the two gaps of defenders and let one fly himself to bring the game back to a 3-2 deficit for UMass.

The Hawks seemed more energized once the second half came around, and after scoring directly off the faceoff, they controlled the remainder of the game.

Saint Joseph’s played the Gorillas tough just under a month ago when the two met in regular season play. In both games, the Hawks’ top-ten-ranked defense made it difficult for UMass to get shots off.

“We didn’t think they were [going to] zone us that much,” head coach Greg Cannella said. “[We were a] little surprised. But we wanted to try to be pretty physical … So we felt we needed to diversify the shorts coming from behind rather than up top where they slide.”

It is not that the Gorillas didn’t have opportunities to score. The team had three different man advantage opportunities, and the only one they converted on was the one of which they were two men up. “We didn’t look very comfortable [in those situations],” Cannella said.

A bright spot in the loss for UMass, per usual, was goaltender Matt Knote. Knote made 19 saves, including multiple robberies of near-certain goals. Cannella had nothing but good words for his fifth-year goalkeeper.

“[Knote had an] excellent game,” Cannella said. “You know if he’s not a teamer on the All-American lists, I’ll be shocked and disappointed … Hopefully, I think [he’ll] get picked up at the PLL to play professionally as well.”

An area of concern for the Minutemen was their ability to clear the ball out of their own zone after winning possession. The up-field pressure applied by Saint Joseph’s was responsible for multiple turnovers.

“They do a really good job of containing their attack [where] they chase[d] back and rode us,” Cannella said. “Those are the ones where you feel like you have to end a possession … When it’s 8-7 or 9-8, you have to end the possession. You cannot allow them another opportunity to score and we did.”

The only multiple-point scorers for UMass were Tobin and O’Leary, who finished with four points apiece. Tobin led the Minutemen with three goals, while O’Leary led the team with two assists.

This loss wraps up UMass’ season, and the team finished with an overall record of 6-8.

Dylan Shalom can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @dylan_third.

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