#14 UMass Defense Dominates In 12-6 Triumph Over St. John's
April 4, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - A first half scoring outburst coupled with a stifling defensive effort was all that the UMass men's lacrosse team would need as it downed St. John's, 12-6, on Saturday at Garber Field. One season after netting six goals against the Red Storm, Tim Balise led the UMass offense once again, this time finishing with five points on four goals and an assist. Fellow senior Jim Connolly chipped in with his 11th career hat trick while Doc Schneider made nine saves on 11 shots for a career-low in goals allowed (2).
The Minutemen improve to 6-3, 3-0 in the ECAC while St. John's falls to 5-4, 1-3 in conference play. With Fairfield's loss to Georgetown, UMass now stands as the only team in the ECAC with an undefeated conference mark.
For Balise, it was his ninth career hat trick, third this season and second in a row. Connolly's trick was his 11th career three-goal game and fourth of the year, also his second in a row. Freshman Art Kell, who has scored single goals in six consecutive games, had his first-career mutli-goal game with a pair of first-half tallies.
The defense blanked St. John's starting attack keeping the trio pointless. For the first 56-plus minutes, UMass held the Red Storm to just two goals. St. John's scored the final four goals of the game including a natural hat trick by Carl Iacona to end the game.
Junior Diogo Godoi and senior Brennan Mack combined for seven caused turnovers and six groundballs in heading up the defense. Sophomore Travis Tripucka and freshman Greg Anderson also played key rolls in shutting down the attack.
UMass jumped to its 5-0 lead 13 seconds into the second quarter on Balise's second goal of the game. Jamal Jones got the Red Storm on the board with 11:21 left in the second quarter, but UMass scored the next four goals for a 9-1 lead. Connolly's second goal of the game -- with 2:40 left in the third quarter -- wrapped the four-goal spurt.
The Minutemen outshot the Red Storm, 32-31 and out-groundballed them 29-25. The Johnnies won the face-off duel, 12-10.
UMass continues with its ECAC schedule next Saturday at Hobart. The Minutemen return home in two weeks to face Georgetown on April 18 at 12 Noon.