No. 2 UMass Takes On Drexel In Battle 4 Bethpage II
• For the second week in a row, it’s the No. 1 team in the CAA vs. the No. 2 team in the CAA as the nation’s second-ranked UMass men’s lacrosse team faces Drexel on Saturday afternoon at Bethpage High School on Long Island for the Battle For Bethpage II. Last week, the Minutemen used a strong second half to get by Towson which was previously the No. 2 team in the league standings. UMass will be looking to make history in one of the nation’s lacrosse hotbed’s as a win would give the Minutemen their first-ever 11-0 start in program history. Currently, UMass’ 10-0 start is tied for the best in program history with the 1981 and 2001 teams.
• UMass and Drexel square-off in the second annual Battle For Bethpage - an event where the proceeds go to support the Bethpage Educational Foundation. With an abundance of Long Island natives on the UMass squad, the game promises to not only be a homecoming for the Minutemen players and coaches, but a weekend festival to celebrate the sport. The April 14 contest will see seven Minutemen make their hometown returns as well as the entire UMass coaching staff. Head coach Greg Cannella is a native of Lynnbrook which is just 17 miles away from Bethpage.
• Despite having a 5-6 record, Drexel has played a tough schedule with one-goal losses to No. 1 Virginia, No. 9 Notre Dame, Bryant (now in the top 20), and No. 16 Penn State. The Dragons defeated No. 19 Hofstra 6-5 two weeks ago and have won 3 of their last 4 games. This will also mark the second time this season that UMass and Drexel have met this season as the basketball teams played in the NIT Quarterfinals just three weeks ago.
• A live video stream of home games and select road games will be available during the year through UMass All-Access which is a subscription based service. The streaming video works best on a high-speed internet connection. Monthly packages begin at $9.95 which includes all games from sponsored CBS College Sports-affiliated schools.
Last Time Out: 14-3 Win Over No. 19 Towson
• Kyle Smith’s goal with one second left in the first half sparked a huge second half as No. 2 UMass defeated No. 19 Towson 14-3 last Saturday at Garber Field on Senior Day. Smith’s tally just before intermission came two seconds after the Tigers made it a 3-2 game putting the Minutemen up two at the break. From there, UMass closed the door in the second half outscoring Towson 10-1 to move to 10-0 on the season. Smith finished with four goals and two assists, while Colin Fleming added 3 goals and Art Kell posted two goals and three assists. Tim McCormack made 10 saves in just over 57 minutes of work while allowing just three goals. For McCormack those were the only three goals he has allowed in the last two games combined.
Up Next: vs. Drexel At Gillette Stadium
• UMass will head to Gillette Stadium, the new home of the UMass football program, to take on long-time rival Hofstra next Saturday. The game will be the nightcap of the New England Lacrosse Classic doubleheader.
Minutemen Garner Highest Ranking Ever
• At No. 2 in the USILA Coaches Poll and in the Media Poll, the UMass men’s lacrosse program has achieved its highest national ranking ever. This season, in 2003 and in 2001, the Minutemen were ranked No. 3 marking the previous high for a national rank. At 10-0, UMass and Loyola remain as the lone unbeaten squads in the NCAA.
Manny Added To Tewaraaton Watch List
• After a blazing start to the season, Will Manny was one of three players to be added to the Tewaraaton Watch List in March. Statisically one of the top offensive players in the country, Manny leads the Minutemen in goals and assists showing his ability to set up others just as often as his own ability to score.
Biscardi Named To Tewaraaton Watch List
• Anthony Biscardi was named one of 73 players on the 2012 Tewaraaton Watch List which was announced in mid-February. This is the second straight year the midfielder has been on the Watch List for college lacrosse’s highest honor.
Minutemen Picked 2nd In CAA
• On the heels of a 10-5 season in 2011 which saw the Minutemen advance to the CAA Championship game, UMass was picked to finish 2nd in the CAA Preseason Coaches Poll - just one point behind favorite Delware which won the league title last season. Hofstra was picked third - just one point behind UMass in what could shape up to be a terrific CAA season.
Manny Picked As CAA Preseason Co-Player Of The Year
• Junior attack Will Manny was named the CAA Preseason Co-Player of the Year alongside Penn State goalie Austin Kaut. Manny is UMass’ top returning scorer from last season where he earned All-CAA Second Team and NEILA All-New England First-Team honors.
Biscardi, Celentani Haul In Preseason Accolades
• Entering the season, Anthony Biscardi and Tom Celentani have both been in the forefront of preseason accolades from various outlets. The duo were both named to the CAA Preseason All-Conference Team alongside Will Manny. Both were also named to the Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Team. In the Major League Lacrosse Draft, Biscardi was taken by the Ohio Machine in the 2nd round, while Celentani was picked up by the Denver Outlaws in the 4th round.
• Biscardi was UMass’ third leading scorer a year ago with 20 goals and 10 assists. Of those 20 scores, three served as game-winners, while four came in man-up situations.
• A close defenseman, Celentani started all 15 games last year causing 22 turnovers while picking up 34 groundballs. As one of the top defensive players in the CAA, he earned second team honors.
• Junior Will Manny has points in 38 of his 39 career games and cracked the 100-point barrier with his three-goal, four-assist effort against Bucknell this season. Manny enters the Drexel game with 80 career goals and 62 career assists in 39 games. He had scored in the first 25 games of his career to mark the longest streak on UMass among all active players before the streak was ended vs. Hofstra (4/23/11) in the ESPNU Warrior Classic.
• Junior Kyle Smith scored a career-high four goals in the win at Army including a pair of critical fourth quarter goals to seal the win. He had another great game against Bucknell with 3 goals and an assist. Against No. 19 Towson, he posted a six point game with 4 goals and 2 assists in the win. In 2011, he had at least one goal in eight of the last nine games -- that includes his two game-winners in overtime. He finished with 11 goals and 4 assists in his second college season.
• Senior Art Kell has been on fire lately with 19 goals and 13 assists over his last seven games after starting the year with 1 goal and 3 assists.
• Junior Anthony Biscardi had points in 12 of 15 games last year with 10 multiple point games. Biscardi was third on the team in points with 30 on 20 goals and 10 assists. He had eight games with at least two goals in 2011.
• After posting a stout 8.33 goals-against-average last season, fifth-year senior Tim McCormack is backstopping the UMass defense to another outstanding campaign. In 10 games, the Minutemen have yet to yield double-figure goals to opponents and have forced more turnovers in every game but three. For the year, UMass is forcing opponents into an average of 15.3 turnovers per game.
• Fellow close defenders Tom Celentani (15 groundballs, 13 caused turnovers) and Greg Anderson (16 groundballs, 1 caused turnovers) and Jake Smith (17 groundballs, 6 caused turnovers) anchor the nation’s 3rd-best ranked defensive unit.
• UMass’ man-down defense was strong in 2011, allowing just 21.2 percent on the year. Opponents had just 11 goals on 52 opportunities. That ranked 10th in the NCAA. UMass ranks 26th this year allowing opponents to go 13-for-39 (33.3) on man-up advantages.
• UMass’ tag-team duo of seniors Greg Rushing and Anthony Toresco were stellar on face-offs in 2011 winning 51.7 percent of of its draws to rank 21st in the NCAA. The pair continues to be successful for the Minutemen in 2012. Toresco leads UMass going 74-of-115 (64.3%) with 40 groundballs. Rushing is 30-of-49 (61.2%) on faceoffs with a team-best 46 groundballs.
• Toresco leads the CAA in faceoff win percentage and ranks 4th nationally. As a team, UMass ranks 5th in the NCAA in faceoff win percentage (59.4%).