Republican With Pair Of Lacrosse Stories - UMass Athletics

Republican With Pair Of Lacrosse Stories

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Check out Dick Baker's coverage in the Springfield Republican from what he calls the greatest day in college lacrosse in Western Massachusetts history. 


It's May Madness for local college lacrosse teams with conference titles and potential NCAA playoff berths at stake on home turf.


Both the men's and women's teams at the University of Massachusetts and Western New England College along with the men's team at Springfield College highlight a Saturday slate that is composed of arguably the largest number of championship-type lacrosse matches ever to be played by Western Massachusetts college teams at home on the same day.

In addition to the Saturday night Colonial Athletic Association men's title showdown between UMass and Delaware at Garber Field at 7, the UMass women, already Atlantic 10 champions, have a 1 p.m. NCAA play-in contest with Canisius at McGurk Stadium. In both contests, a UMass victory results in a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Want to see great college lacrosse? Five home games are being played on the same day with championships and NCAA tournament bids at stake

Published: Friday, May 06, 2011, 8:37 PM     Updated: Friday, May 06, 2011, 9:02 PM
UMass Women's Lacrosse vs RichmondUMass women's lacrosse standout Jackie Lyons and the Minutewomen have an NCAA play-in game Saturday at 1 p.m. against Canisius at McGurk Stadium photo by J. Anthony Roberts
It's May Madness for local college lacrosse teams with conference titles and potential NCAA playoff berths at stake on home turf.


Both the men's and women's teams at the University of Massachusetts and Western New England College along with the men's team at Springfield College highlight a Saturday slate that is composed of arguably the largest number of championship-type lacrosse matches ever to be played by Western Massachusetts college teams at home on the same day.

In addition to the Saturday night Colonial Athletic Association men's title showdown between UMass and Delaware at Garber Field at 7, the UMass women, already Atlantic 10 champions, have a 1 p.m. NCAA play-in contest with Canisius at McGurk Stadium. In both contests, a UMass victory results in a berth in the NCAA tournament.

It's a family affair at Western New England where the lacrosse squads, coached by the husband-wife team of Aimee and John Klepacki, will each host their respective championship games in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, both against Endicott.

Aimee's women's team (15-4) will play at 1 p.m. and John's men's squad (14-4) will follow at 4. Both teams enter as top seeds.

The Klepackis have a combined coaching record of 291-119 at WNEC.

Springfield native Joe Martin of the men's team tied a Division III record for the fastest goal to start a game when he won the opening faceoff and scored in just five seconds in the TCCC semifinal win over New England College on Wednesday night.

The Springfield men are looking for their fourth straight Pilgrim League championship game and fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III tournament when they face Babson at 1 p.m. It would also be a bit of a revenge factor for the school as the Pride women lost to Babson in the NEWMAC tournament championship game.

The UMass women (16-2) swept past Duquesne and Richmond in Philadelphia last weekend to capture their third straight Atlantic-10 crown.

Canisius enters the game with its best ever record of 14-5.

"We're really excited to get the opportunity to play at home," UMass coach Angela McMahon said. "With our high-scoring offense, we want to set the tone. They're (Canisius) pretty settled, and calculated, but capable of scoring as well. So whichever defense steps up will be the difference."

The UMass possession time has benefited from the performance by junior Nina Sarcona, who has 56 draw controls.

McMahon said that the team defense has improved tremendously since the start of the year as players no longer just focus on only the player they're covering.

"We're more organized on defense, you need slides and help."

Tickets to the game are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and $2 for seniors and children.


UMass men's lacrosse hosts Delaware for conference title Saturday night at Garber Field

Published: Friday, May 06, 2011, 8:09 PM     Updated: Friday, May 06, 2011, 8:25 PM
UMass Lacrosse vs Georgetown#29 Art Kell is looking to help UMass to the Colonial Athletic Association championship, and an NCAA tournament berth. photo by J. Anthony Roberts
AMHERST - For Art Kell, the difference between last year and this year can be measured by the foot.


His broken foot that is. The University of Massachusetts men's lacrosse attacker junior is foot loose and fancy free while running around and through defenders, piling up 26 goals and 14 assists after missing the last six games last season when he suffered a broken foot in a game Hofstra. He was leading the team at the time with 21 goals and 12 assists. Missing the end of the season was something he'll never forget, and he's not missing the end of this one.

"It was obviously tough, I was having a good season, feeling good, and then I broke my foot" recalls Kell. "Now it's all about commitment. Sometimes I'm tired, and don't feel like practicing, and then I remember back to last year, and how lucky I am to be practicing and playing again."

This time he's around for the finish, which he and his UMass teammates hope isn't Saturday night when the Minutemen host Delaware at 7 p.m. at Garber Field in the championship game of the Colonial Athletic Association. With the title crown also comes an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament. If the Minutemen lose, they are not likely to gain an at-large bid.

UMass coach Greg Cannella passed on trying to rank how big this game is in program history, there's been so many huge ones over the years. Yet, it wouldn't be a stretch to put it in as one of the Top 10 of all-time, especially the way the Minutemen got here with Wednesday night's 10-9 come-from-behind miracle overtime win at Penn State in the semifinals. UMass trailed 4-1 at halftime, but Kell scored three of his game-high four goals in the third quarter when the Minutemen scored seven times overall
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"I remember walking off the field at halftime with not a lot of confidence, we knew we had to come out and score early in the third quarter," Kell said.

Anthony Biscardi scored at 1:37 of the overtime period to give the Minutemen the win.

Tickets for the game are $10 for adults, $6 for children, with UMass students admitted free.

The game will be televised on CBS 3 Now (Comcast 293, Charter 230)

It was never expected that Delaware would beat Hofstra Wednesday night. UMass had lost 14-5 to Hofstra at the Warrior Classic in East Hartford, Conn. but had defeated Delaware 11-5 at Garber Field April 29. Since the Minutemen beat Delaware, they gained the home field advantage Saturday.

UMass coach Greg Cannella watched the films of the Delaware win over Hofstra, and said that the Blue Hens outplayed Hofstra from the first minute. The Minutemen's regular season win over Delaware means nothing now.

"We can't get away with thinking about that game," Cannella said when asked what the Minutemen couldn't get away with in their second game against Delaware. 

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