On Saturday, Garber Field is the place to be for an early season showdown between two of the top teams in the nation early on in 2011. The No. 11 UMass men's lacrosse team (2-0) hosts No. 13 Ohio State (3-0) at 12 noon. The Minutemen come off wins over Army and Hartford while the Buckeyes knocked off previous No. 3 North Carolin last Saturday in Columbus.
First-Time With the Buckeyes
• UMass and Ohio State are set to play for the first time in lacrosse history. The teams were to have played last season on Feb. 27 in Columbus, but the game was called off after UMass was unable to travel to Ohio due to poor weather.
• This game will be the first in the series with the Buckeyes, as UMass will play at Ohio State in 2012.
Connections With Ohio State
• The Buckeyes feature former Minuteman, now senior Buckeye Zach Rodgers, who played for UMass in 2008 before transferring to OSU. Rodgers started as a freshman and had a team-high 18 assists and 27 points to rank second on the team.
• Among the connections with the Buckeyes is sophomore Jeff Tundo, who has two brothers (Gene and Matt), who played lacrosse at UMass in the early 2000s
• Ohio State head coach Nick Myers, is a graduate of Springfield College (2001), just down the road from UMass on I-91. Assistant coach Andrew Baxter is also a grad of Springfield '01.
Kell Earns Honors After 8-Point Game
Junior attacker Art Kell was named the CAA Lacrosse Co-Player of the Week and the New England Lacrosse Player of the Week after an 8-point game against Hartford on Saturday.
Kell recorded the eight points in UMass' 14-10 win over Hartford Saturday, marking the most points by a UMass player since Sean Morris' total of eight against Hofstra (2/26/2006). The junior scored two points and dished out a career-best six assists. All six of Kell's assists came in the second half when the Minutemen outscored Hartford 9-3. It was the most assists by a UMass player since Kevin Leveille had six against Albany (3/18/2002).
UMass Up To No. 11 In USILA Poll
In the new USILA Coaches Poll, the UMass men's lacrosse team is up to No. 11 in the poll. the Minutemen will play No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday at Garber Field. The Minutemen stand at 2-0 after beating previous No. 12 Army and Hartford to open the season.
Other UMass foes in the poll include No. 7 Hofstra, No. 16 Delaware, No. 18 Army and No. 20 Drexel.
The highest ranking for UMass last season was No. 7 in early April.
In the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, UMass stands at No. 12 and Ohio State comes in at No. 15.
ESPN lacrosse expert Quint Kessenich offers this analysis of UMass, as he pegs the Minutemen at No. 11 in his poll: "11. UMass - Minutemen were vulnerable after a win over Army but didn't overlook Hartford this week. Will Manny, Ryan Hantverk, Anthony Biscardi and Art Kell put UMass in the thick of an intriguing CAA race."
Celentani, J. Smith Earn Weekly Honors
UMass close defensemen Tom Celentani and Jake Smith were named co-UMass Athletes of the Week on Feb. 14. The pair helped lead UMass to an impressive 8-5 victory over No. 12 Army at Garber Field. Celentani and Smith both marked the Black Knights' top attackman Jeremy Boltus and Garrett Thul and limited the duo all afternoon.
Smith was also named the CAA Lacrosse Player of the Week on Monday. The first honor of his career.
Celentani had two caused turnovers and two groundballs while Smith, in his first college start, had three caused turnovers and three groundballs. They were part of a defense the kept Army to just one goal over more than 38 minutes bridging the second to fourth quarters.
Among The National Leaders In 2010
In 2010, the Minutemen posted an 8-6 overall record and ranked among many national leaders. The team finished 12 in scoring offense with 11.43 goals per game. The team was eighth in man-up offense, scoring on 46.3 percent of its advantages. UMass was also eighth in assists per game with 7.5, led by Will Manny, who had 1.29 per game. The Minutemen were also 10th in points scoring per game with 18.93 with Manny atop the list at 3.21 per contest.
On defense, UMass was 10th in caused turnovers per game with 9.5. Tom Celentani led the charge in that category with 1.79 per game.
Hantverk is a returning starting midfielder, who tallied 27 points on 15 goals and 12 assists last season. Rahn is the team's top long-stick defensive midfielder. he scooped 32 groundballs and caused nine turnovers a season ago.
McCormack returns for his second season as the backtop after starting all 14 games last season. He posted a 10.13 goals against average and a 52.3 save percentage with the 8-6 record.
Honors From A Season Ago
Returning sophomore attacker Will Manny had a decorated freshman season in 2010. Manny was the 2010 CAA Rookie of the Year in addition to being named to Inside Lacrosse's All-Freshman Team. He had a sensationalrookie season. He tallied at least two points in the first 13 games of the season and had a point in all 14 games. He netted five hat tricks on the year and was named CAA Rookie of the Week twice.
Junior midfielder Anthony Biscardi emerged in his first season as a starter on offense and was a CAA Second-Team selection and All-New England Second Teammer. He was second on the team with 35 points and tied for second in goals (21) and assists (14). He had points in 12 of 14 games and at least three points on 10 occasions. He netted hat tricks vs. Harvard and Towson.
In addition to the returnee mentioned above, graduated senior Diogo Godoi was a USILA Third-Team All-American in addition to being a CAA First-Team selection. Fellow classmate Bobby Hayes was a CAA Second-Team pick and All-New England Second Teammer.
Big Winners Over Last 10 Years • UMass has established itself as one of the top programs in the nation. Since 2001, UMass has the ninth-most wins of any program in college lacrosse with 101 victories.
• The Minutemen have the ninth-best mark among all teams in the NCAA since 2001 with 101-52 record for a 66.0 win percentage mark. That includes five seasons with 12 or more wins including a school record 13 wins in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. The Minutemen were second on the list coming into the 2007 season.
• Virginia leads the way (125-38, 76.4) in most wins and highest percentage. Syracuse is right behind (121-37, 76.4) followed by No. 3 Duke (122-47, 72.7), No. 4 Johns Hopkins (115-38, 74.8), No. 5 Maryland (113-48, 70.0), No. 6 Cornell (109-40, 73.2), tied at No. 7 are Georgetown (104-41, 71.5) and Princeton (103-44, 71.0). UMass is just ahead of Navy (100-52, 66.2) in terms of wins.
Lucky Numbers 10, 11, 13 • UMass has won 71 of its last 72 games when scoring 13 goals, after the 14-10 win over Hartford (2/19). UMass was 3-1 last year when tallying 13 or more.
• When scoring 11 goals or more, UMass has won 51 of its last 53 games, a 96.2 win percentage. The Minutemen had at least 11 goals in the first eight games of the 2010 season with a 6-2 record.
• UMass had won 45 games in a row when scoring 11 or more goals until falling at Yale, 13-12 on March 5, 2010. The Minutemen also lost to Harvard, 14-13 on March 13, marking the most goals UMass scored in a loss since a 16-15 defeat to Delaware on April 15, 1995. UMass had won 67 games in a row when scoring 13 or more goals.
• UMass is 41-3 in its last 44 games when scoring double-figures, (93.2 win percentage) with the win over Hartford this year and including 8-2 last year and a 5-1 mark in 2009. UMass had won 29 games in a row when scoring 10 or more goals, but that streak was snapped with a 11-10 loss to Hofstra on Feb. 21, 2009. The Minutemen were 29-0 when scoring 10 or more goals from 2004-09. Prior to the loss at Hofstra, the last loss when scoring 10 goals came on May 1, 2004, a 17-10 loss at Syracuse.
UMass On TV Six Times
The UMass men's lacrosse team will play five televised games as part of the school's agreement with CBS 3 Now in Springfield, Mass. The games will be shown throughout Western Mass., on Comcast Channel 293, Charter Channel 230 and on the UMass campus on Channel 79. The first of the five home games to be aired live is the season-opener on Feb. 12 vs. No. 12 Army at 1 p.m. UMass will handle all of the production in-house for the telecasts.
UMass will also play on CBS 3 Now on March 5 vs. Brown at 1 p.m.; March 19 vs. Penn State at 12 p.m., April 16 vs. Drexel at 1 p.m., and April 29 vs. Delaware on April 29 at 7 p.m. The Feb. 26 home game vs. Ohio State will not be shown on CBS 3 Now, due to a conflict with the UMass. women's basketball game.
All six home games will be available online as part of UMass All-Access. Select road games could also be shown on UMass All-Access. Those will be determined closer to the game dates.
In addition to the five games on CBS 3 Now, UMass will play on ESPNU against Hofstra on April 23 as part of the ESPNU Warrior Classic at Renstchler Field, starting at 3 p.m.
UMass Lax Joins Athletes For America
The UMass men's lacrosse team joined forces with Athletes For America last October as the Minutemen players and coaches were all part of a two and a half hour CPR training session hosted by the campus EMTs. The men's lacrosse team is the first UMass team to become part of the AFA, and the athletic department is currently in discussions about how to include the remaining 550 student-athletes into the program.