Eighth-Ranked Minutemen Open Season With Win
Feb. 22, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - Senior midfielder Chris Fiore (Freeport, N.Y.) scored six points, including a career-high five goals to lead the University of Massachusetts men's lacrosse team to a season-opening 13-7 win over Sacred Heart on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Garber Field.
The Pioneers took an early 2-0 lead just three minutes into the game, but UMass tied the game at 2-2 on goals by Neil Lundberg (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and Ryan Connolly (North Andover, Mass.), the last coming at the 6:50 mark. After Sacred Heart took a brief 3-2 lead, UMass tallied three goals in the final four minutes to grab a 5-3 advantage after one quarter.
The game turned into a defensive struggle in the second stanza, as both teams allowed only two goals each. UMass took a three-goal lead at 6-3 with a score by Jeff Zywicki (Napean, Ontario) at 14:13. But SHU tallied twice in a two-minute span to trim the lead to 6-5, before Fiore stopped the Pioneer run at 8:49 with his second goal of the game.
UMass opened the third quarter scoring the first four goals to surge ahead 11-5. Fiore scored twice in the run and Zywicki and Lundberg each added one. SHU narrowed the margin to 11-7 on T.J. Hutmacher's second goal of the game with 4:50 to play in the third quarter, but Kevin Leveille (Delmar, N.Y.) drilled home his second goal of the afternoon with 2:27 to play to push the Minutemen's lead back to five goals at 12-7.
UMass played keep-away in the fourth quarter, attempting only three shots, while Sacred Heart had four. Fiore scored the only goal of the final stanza with 13:07 to play, and the Minutemen cruised to their first victory of the season, 13-7.
The Minutemen out-performed Sacred Heart in every offensive statistical category, outshooting the Pioneers, 35-20, winning 13-of-23 face-offs, scooping up 19 ground balls to SHU's 13, and converting on 14-of-15 clears. UMass was also 1-of-4 on extra-man opportunities, while holding Sacred Heart scoreless in its four chances. Bill Schell (Mahopac, N.Y.) made six saves in the nets for the Minutemen.
UMass stays at home next Saturday when Stony Brook comes calling. Face-off is at 1:00 p.m. at Garber Field.