Men's Lacrosse Defeats Fairfield, 17-4, In NCAA First Round
May 11, 2002
PROVIDENCE - The eighth-seeded University of Massachusetts men's lacrosse team defeated Fairfield University, 17-4, this afternoon in first round play of the NCAA Tournament at Brown Stadium. With the win, the Minutemen advance into the tournament's quarterfinals, where they will face top-seeded Johns Hopkins on Sunday, May 19, at noon in Baltimore. It was the fourth NCAA tournament victory in the history of the program and second for head coach Greg Cannella.
Senior Dusty Smith (West Chester, Pa.) opened the scoring at the 8:18 mark of the first quarter off a feed from senior Dan Paccione (Amityville, N.Y.). Sophomore Neil Lundberg (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) put the Minutemen up two goals at the 2:58 mark, but less than a minute later, Justin Geluso put Fairfield on the board with a tally. He then tied the game with 51 second remaining in the quarter, but Paccione put the Minutemen up for good with a score just six seconds later off the faceoff.
Massachusetts scored the only three goals of the second quarter to take a 6-2 lead into halftime. Sophomore Jeff Zywicki (Nepean, Ontario) scored at the 5:05 mark, and then junior Kevin Leveille (Delmar, N.Y.) put the Minutemen up 5-2 off a feed from junior Chris Fiore (Freeport, N.Y.). Massachusetts added another goal just before the break as Paccione scored his second of the game with 10 second remaining off a pass from Smith.
Massachusetts continued to dominate in the second half as they outscored the Stags, 11-2 in the half. Senior Don Little (Clifton Park, N.Y.) recorded a hat trick in the third quarter and also assisted on one of senior Marc Morley's (Canton, N.Y.) two goals. Also scoring in the quarter for the Minutemen were Fiore and Smith.
The Minutemen kept up the offensive onslaught in the final quarter. Paccione completed his hat trick just 20 seconds in off a feed from senior defenseman Matt McFarland (Garden City, N.Y.). Little then added his season-best fourth goal of the game less than a minute later. Other Minuteman scorers in the quarter were Leveille and sophomore Kevin Glenz (Merrick, N.Y.).
Fairfield's Matt Buecker scored a goal at the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter ending a 15-0 Massachusetts run. Scott Raasch added an extra-man goal less than a minute later to complete the scoring in the game.
Freshman Gene Tundo (Orchard Park, N.Y.) and Lundberg each added two assists for Massachusetts.
Freshman Bill Schell (Mahopac, N.Y.) made eight saves in the cage for Massachusetts, while C.J. Kemp and Cory Gibbons combined to make 13 saves for the Stags. Junior Derek Kunkel (Centereach, N.Y.) relieved Schell in the fourth quarter and did not make a save in 3:40 of action. The Minutemen out-shot Fairfield, 48-24, and scooped up a season-high 60 ground balls. The Minutemen also won 14 of 25 faceoffs.
The 17 goals scored by the Minutemen this afternoon are the most in an NCAA Tournament game in school history. Fairfield's four goals this afternoon are tied for the fewest that a Massachusetts opponent has recorded in a tournament game. Hofstra scored four goals en route to a 6-4 defeat on May 10, 1997. That game also marked the last UMass postseason victory. UMass also shattered the old record for margin of victory with the 13-point spread this afternoon.
Massachusetts will take on No. 1 Johns Hopkins in game one of a quarterfinal doubleheader at Homewood Field on Sunday, May 19. Virginia and Cornell will meet in the second game at approximately 3:00 p.m.