Daily Collegian Previews Lacrosse Vs. Ohio State - UMass Athletics

Daily Collegian Previews Lacrosse Vs. Ohio State

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

#11 UMass men's lacrosse is ready to take on #13 Ohio State on Saturday at Garber Field. Here are two previews from the Daily Collegian.

• Kell returns to form for Gorilla Lax

UMass prepares for Ohio State

Maxwell Sparr

The No. 12 Massachusetts men's lacrosse team continues to face tough competition to start the 2011 season on Saturday, welcoming No. 15 Ohio State to Garber Field at noon in a battle between two NCAA tournament contenders.     

The Minutemen (2-0) will look for their second win over a ranked opponent this year, but UMass coach Greg Cannella knows this will not be an easy task. 

"Top to bottom this is a good team, a very strong team and obviously they're coming off a great win so they're [going to] be fired up," Cannella said.

The Buckeyes (3-0) upset No. 3 North Carolina last Saturday, 13-8, in a back-and-forth affair. 

OSU features a high-energy, well-coached and emotional style of play as it prepares for its first road game of the season. The Buckeyes defeated Detroit, 4-3, and throttled Mercer, 20-2 in their first two tests of the season. 

The OSU offense features a potent attack, highlighted by sophomores Logan Schuss and Jeff Tundo. Schuss torched the Tar Heels last weekend with three goals and two assists, while Tundo added a goal and assist. Cannella believes the tandem make up "two of the better attackmen we'll see [this year]." 

Both possess great skills and have a tremendous knack for getting to the net. Schuss led the Buckeyes with 31 goals and 25 assists a year ago, thanks in large part to his size and toughness. Tundo, meanwhile, was second on the team with 20 goals and 15 assists. The Orchard Park, N.Y. native's quickness and strong left hand make him a tough matchup; Cannella referred to him as a "bull."  The sophomore has ties to the UMass lacrosse program, as his brothers, Gene and Matt, played for the Minutemen in the early 2000s. 

However, the firepower does not end there. Freshmen Tyler Frederick and Michael Italiano, along with senior Mike Pires, help complete an offensive cast that has posted an average of 12.33 goals per contest this season.   

UMass will be coming off its triumphant second half at Hartford last Saturday, where the Maroon and White dug themselves out of a 7-5 hole to emerge victorious, 14-10.

Cannella stressed the importance of getting off to a fast start in this matchup, as well as every game this season, in order to prevent having to mount another comeback as they did last Saturday. 

"You hope that you can put [together] 60 minutes out there," Cannella said, hoping his team can match the Buckeyes' intensity for the entirety of the game.

Junior Art Kell was instrumental in the Minutemen's win on Saturday, as his eight-point effort earned him the CAA Lacrosse Co-Player of the Week and New England Lacrosse Player of the Week honors. The only returning attack from the 2010 season had six assists in the final 30 minutes to help propel the Maroon and White over the Hawks.

Will Manny kicked it up a notch in the decisive second half as well, tallying four goals in the frame. The sophomore, along with the rest of the UMass attack, will have their hands full against an experienced Buckeye defense.

Junior Keenan Ochwat and red shirt junior Matt Kawamoto anchor the defensive unit for the visiting squad, limiting the opposition to 21.3 shots and 4.33 goals per game thus far.

Freshman Greg Dutton will stand in between the pipes for Ohio State. The Timonium, Md. native was an All-American coming out of high school and was named the Defensive MVP of the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game. Cannella spoke very highly of the goalkeeper, calling Dutton "one of the top goalies coming out of high school."

Saturday's matchup will mark the first time the two teams will play in the histories of both lacrosse programs.  Last year's contest was called off after UMass could not make the trip to Columbus, Ohio due to poor weather conditions. Weather should not be a problem this time around, as forecasts are calling for clear skies on Saturday.


Kell returns to form for Gorilla Lax

Maxwell Sparr/Collegian

Junior attacker Art Kell has wasted little time this season getting back into form.

Kell, who suffered a broken foot last season against Hofstra, returned for the No. 11 Massachusetts men's lacrosse team this season and has already begun making an impact on the team.

For his eight-point performance last Saturday against Hartford, Kell earned both Colonial Athletic Association Lacrosse Co-Player of the Week and New England Lacrosse Player of the Week honors. His eight points were the highest in a single game by a Minuteman since Sean Morris achieved the same total on Feb. 26, 2006 against Hofstra.

Kell accomplished the eight points with two goals as well as six assists, which helped widen UMass' (2-0) gap against the Hawks (0-1). His six helpers were a part of a second half scoring tangent by the Minutemen, as they outscored Hartford, 9-3, in the second half.

Additionally, Kell's impressive six-assist performance is the most by a Minuteman since Kevin Leveille tallied just as many against Albany on March 18, 2002.

"We sort of expect that from Art, I think his teammates expect that from Art," UMass coach Greg Cannella said. "I think Art expects that of him. They were thrilled to see Arty play at that level. It's a great thing. It's a great thing for his confidence and a great thing for the team's confidence."

Though many looked for Will Manny to be at the head of offensive production this season, Kell seems to be giving the sophomore a run for his money as he heads the Minutemen in total points (nine) and assists (six).

Cannella expects Kell to display a similar performance against No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday, just as he expects any player to perform well.

"We count on all our players to carry a load and Arty's no different," Cannella said.

While Cannella expects the team to perform well, this includes Kell not shifting his role and continuing to be a dominant attacking force.

"We hope that the people around Art can be very good as well," Cannella said. "His role doesn't change.  His role is to be part of the offense and to be part of this team."

Being a part of the team might have been a tough transition for Kell to make after the injury that sent him to the sidelines last season. Cannella explained that as difficult as it was for Kell to watch the team from the bench, it gave him inspiration to do better this season.

"It was very hard for him to be hurt and watch our team play and not play very well in a bunch of games," Cannella said. "[It was] frustrating for him and I think he had it in his mindset that he was going to just come back and play hard, which he has."

From collegiate athletes to professionals, injuries set players back. With Kell, the injury did less to his personal performance than it did to setting back the UMass program.

"I think it set us back as a program because we didn't have him last year," Cannella said. "[It] probably set him back mentally for those couple months and through the summer, but when he came back and, again, came to practice, I think he kind of picked up where he left off last year as a solid player."

Although he is on a recent streak of success, Kell will be looking to improve and hone his skill as the season progresses.

"I think Arty would be the first one to tell you [that] he's got ... a lot of things to work on," Cannella said. "Certainly he can become a better all-around player and as an attackman, you're not counted on only to score but to feed, but also to ride and to lead. He's a junior now; we hope he's playing his best lacrosse as a senior."

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-tb.cgi/16088

Leave a comment




CATEGORIES