UMass Jumps Out Early then Holds Off Albany In 9-8 Lax Win
March 11, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass men's lacrosse team was finally able to break through against Albany after four consecutive heartbreaking one-goal losses. The Minutemen posted their own pulse-pounding 9-8 victory over Albany on Tuesday afternoon at Garber Field. UMass (2-2) jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the game, then had to withstand Albany scoring the game's final three goals to post their second win of the young season. Albany remains winless at 0-4, just one year after going 15-3 and reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals. Their last three losses have all been by one goal and the first three losses were to top 10 teams.
Junior Tim Balise (Wilbraham, Mass.) tallied his second hat trick of the season with three goals and added an assist for four points. Freshman Zach Rodgers (Baldwin Harbor, N.Y.) continued to rack up assists with two more, along with his first college goal. UMass' other goals came from Bobby Hayes (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Fred Federico (Madison, Conn.), Evan Blum (Delray Beach, Fla.), Paul Manesis (New Canaan, Conn.) and Brian Danvers (Syosset, N.Y.), who scored his first-career goal in the win.
Albany was led by Jordan Levine, who had two goals and two assists. Derek Dale added two goals, both in the Great Danes' late surge in the final three minutes.
The Minutemen fired early and often on Albany's Brett Queener, scoring three goals in the game's first 10 minutes. Balise, Manesis and Rodgers gave UMass a 3-0 lead with 5:17 left in the quarter. UMass never trailed after scoring the game's opening goal. Albany scored the next two goals from Brian Grodotzke and Steve Ammann to cut the lead to 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.
UMass opened the second quarter in similar fashion to the first as Blum and Balise netted tallies in the first three minutes to open a 5-2 advantage. Again, Albany cut the lead as Levine scored with 10:10 left in the first half, but UMass held them at bay for the remainder of the half to lead 5-3 at intermission.
Again, UMass scored the first two goals of the quarter in the third as Danvers registered his first career goal. On a full field rush, Danvers beat Queener for an energizing goal with 8:49 left in the third quarter to give UMass a 6-3 lead. Balise netted his third goal of the game for his second hat trick this season increasing the lead to 7-3.
Albany scored two of the next three goals bridging the third and fourth quarters sandwiched around Hayes' goal for UMass. Then Federico stepped up and ripped what amounted to the game-winning goal on a man advantage with 7:18 left in regulation.
The Great Danes unleashed furious rally in the final minutes, scoring three goals in a span of 1:02 with Dale netting two and Corey Small cutting the lead to one for the first time in more than 50 minutes at 9-8 with 1:12 left in regulation.
Albany and UMass each turned the ball over several times in the final minute creating several chances to either ice the game for UMass or tie the game for Albany, but UMass was able to come out on top for the first time since 2003 against Albany.
Face-off were key all afternoon as Joe Reale (Burlington, Mass.) won 8-of-12 for the Minutemen and Hayes took 5-of-7. The Minuteman defense was excellent once again, as they have yet to allow more than eight goals this season. Especially impressive was the man-down defense which held Albany scoreless on six chances.
UMass continues action on Saturday Brown with a 1 p.m. face-off.
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