Daily Collegian Previews Of Lax At Albany - UMass Athletics

Daily Collegian Previews Of Lax At Albany

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Here are a pair of stories previewing No. 5 UMass' Tuesday lacrosse game at Albany:


No. 5 Minutemen streak to Albany

Jake Hachey/Collegian

The No. 5 Massachusetts men's lacrosse team puts its four-game winning streak on the line on Tuesday afternoon with a tough road test at Albany.

Albany (1-1) grabbed its first win of the season on Saturday in its home opener, 11-9 victory against Delaware, but lost its season opener, 14-7, at Drexel the week before.

"You [have to] love the way they play," said UMass coach Greg Cannella. "They play hard, it's a tough group, good athletes, some really crafty players...good intensity, hustle, all those things that I love in a team."

Albany features a young attack with freshmen cousins, Miles (three goals) and Ty Thompson (four goals), and junior Joe Resetarits. The Hamburg, N.Y. native leads the team with five goals this season and cashed in on three scores against the Minutemen last season.
Brian Caufield anchors the midfield unit for the Great Danes. The senior can beat a team with both his scoring and passing, tallying 10 goals and 22 assists a year ago. The rest of the group possesses great depth and the athleticism to play effectively in both the offensive and defensive zones.

"That makes those guys really dangerous in transition as well and Albany can get the ball up ... and go to the goal and be ... true threats," said Cannella.

Albany has shown two goalkeepers this season, with freshman Edmund Cathers and junior John Caroll each starting a game. Cathers earned the win on Saturday against Delaware, making him the likely starter on Tuesday. The Syracuse, N.Y.-native has made 12 saves and allowed 12 goals in 75 minutes of action.

Offensive balance has been an instrumental aspect to the Minutemen's hot start to the season. Last weekend's win over Brown ended with freshman Connor Mooney and junior Anthony Biscardi earning hat tricks, while junior Steve D'Amario added a pair of goals for the Minutemen. Biscardi leads the team with eight scores, followed closely by sophomore Will Manny with six goals and four others with five.

"[Balance is] important every game ... Not only that balance, but just to be willing to remain unselfish," said Cannella.

Cannella added that he hopes to continue to get more players involved in the scoring as the season progresses.

Both teams will be working on two days rest, as opposed to having the typical week of rest and preparation.

"You really have to be mentally sharp for games like [these]," said Cannella.

Cannella added that he might need to utilize his depth more in order to keep his team fresh for the third and fourth quarters.

John Fallon Field has not been kind to the Minutemen over the years. UMass has dropped its last three contests at the venue, but Cannella knows that number is more a result of a quality opponent than the location of the game.

The Maroon and White emerged victorious in last year's matchup, 11-6, on March 9 at Garber Field. UMass trailed 4-1 in the second period before outscoring the Great Danes 10-2 over the final three frames. Kell had two goals and three assists on the day, while Hantverk netted two goals as well.

The Minutemen are off to a fast start early in the season, jumping four spots to No. 5 in the nation. It marks the first time UMass has been in the top five since the 2003 season. Cannella has been particularly impressed with his team's consistent effort early in the season, but knows it is hard to repeat that intensity game after game.

"That's the hardest part of this [season], to be consistent over the marathon. It's not a sprint...I tell [the players], 'Listen, it's not how you start, it's how you finish.'"


Minutemen stronger in second half

Jake Hachey/Collegian

While halftime is often taken for granted, the Massachusetts men's lacrosse team uses it as valuable time to adjust and prepare for the second half. Thus far in a young season, UMass has benefited from the intermission, creating separation from opponents in the third quarter.

"We've made some adjustments, but I think it's more the guys going, 'OK, we have 30 minutes, let's go win the next quarter,'" said UMass coach Greg Cannella. "I think they're focus and their ability to buckle down has been great so far."

In its latest win, a 9-6 result over Brown on Saturday at Garber field, the No. 5 Minutemen (4-0) were deadlocked with the Bears at four apiece entering the half. In the third period, however, UMass scored three-straight goals to take a lead that would not be challenged for the remainder of the contest.

Senior Ryan Hantverk set the tone of the charge, recording the first score of the half less than a minute into the third period (14 minutes, 18 second mark).

Similarly, in their 14-10 victory over Hartford on Feb. 19, the Minutemen trailed 7-5 at halftime before exploding in the third period to change the complexion of the game.

UMass outscored the Hawks, 6-1, in the third frame, including four consecutive goals (three by sophomore Will Manny) to take an 11-8 lead into the fourth and final period.

"I think we just settle down on both sides of the ball," said Cannella. "When we've played in those third quarters, we've been able to score first in those third quarters and create those one or two-goal cushions. That also helps our defense to relax and gives them confidence to relax, too."

While the scoring coming out of the intermission has been timely, the defense has had just as much to do with dominating the second half. Along with the one-goal effort by the UMass defense in the third period against Hartford, the Minutemen also held Army scoreless in the third frame in the season opener.

For the season, UMass has allowed four scores to opponents in the third period, compared to eight, nine and nine goals in the first, second and fourth quarters, respectively. Of the 103 shots taken by opponents against the Minutemen, only 19 (18 percent), have come in the third period, while UMass' scoring (13) and shots (44) are the highest of any period.

Though Cannella and the coaching staff offer adjustments to the players at halftime, Cannella admitted that his players are the ones who take the responsibility and bring it onto the field for the second half.

"I think the things that you hear at halftime, the people that have spoken, not only the captains but the leaders of the team, they have the ability to go out there and make a difference on the field and make the right decisions out there," said Cannella. "I think they've done that."

The Minutemen will look to continue their success against Albany on Tuesday on the road.

In their two games this year, the Great Danes have been inconsistent coming out of halftime. In its season opener, Albany failed to score a goal in the third period, while allowing three goals to Drexel in a 14-7 loss.

On March 5, however, the Great Danes scored five goals in the third frame, the most in any period for the game, en route to an 11-9 victory over Delaware. The stretch included four-straight scores by Albany in the first eight minutes of the second half.

With the season in full-swing and three games left at home for the year, Cannella recognizes that his veterans have upped their focus for the second half of contests, not wanting to have this season finish like the last.

"I think especially the senior class, there's obviously a sense of urgency with those guys," said Cannella. "For those guys, they have nine [games] left. That's essential to any team's success, any team that I've coached, for sure."


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