UMass Lacrosse Travels To No. 5 Hoyas For ECAC Battle, Saturday At 1 p.m.
RV UMASS (5-5, 3-1) at #5 GEORGETOWN (7-3, 3-1)
UMass Travels To No. 5 Hoyas For ECAC Battle
The Minutemen have won three games in a row on the heels of a thrilling 8-7 comeback overtime victory over Hobart at Garber Field last Saturday. Freshman Peter McNichols scored his third goal of the game for the winner 1:19 into overtime after UMass scored twice in the final 1:19 of regulation to send the game to overtime. UMass' defense was stellar as they held Hobart's attack pointless, ending 24-plus game scoring streaks of both Daryl Veltman and Jamie Kirk in the victory.
Saturday's game will be available on live streaming video on UMassAthletics.com. It can also be heard on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Massachusetts. The Voice of the Minutemen Bob Behler and Jason Yellin call the action. Live streaming audio and Gametracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
The ECAC's Best
The winner of the UMass-Georgetown game has won or shared the ECAC league title in seven of the eight years the league has existed including each of the last four years. Georgetown holds a 5-3 lead in the all-time series with UMass winning in 2002 (16-13), 2003 (11-8) and 2005 (13-12). The Hoyas captured the games in 2000 (19-18), 2001 (13-12), 2004 (12-10), 2006 (8-6) and 2007 (8-7). Only in 2003, did the winner not win the ECAC title.
The last three games have been decided by a total of four goals and the last four by a total of six goals.
Last Time Out: UMass Tops Hobart In OT
McNichols tallied a hat trick. Balise scored two to give him 23 this season. Bobby Hayes had four points on a goal and three assists.
UMass' defense was stellar all afternoon as the Minutemen held Hobart's top three scorers without a point. Goalie Doc Schneider made 10 saves as he backstopped a defense keyed by seniors Brian Danvers, Sean Krygier and David Von Voigt along with junior Brennan Mack and sophomore Diogo Godoi. Hobart's attack was scoreless as Daryl Veltman saw his consecutive point-scoring streak end at 25 games and Jamie Kirk lost his 24-game scoring streak.
McNichols, Von Voigt Collect ECAC Honors
Von Voigt of Wading River, N.Y., was part of the UMass defense which held Hobart's starting attack pointless. Von Voigt helped defend Daryl Veltman, the ECAC's leading scorer entering the game, and Jamie Kirk as they saw their scoring streaks of 25 and 24 consecutive games, respectively, end. Von Voigt also had six groundballs and three caused turnovers. The Minutemen defense held the Statesmen offense to just seven goals, well below its season average of more than 10 goals per game. He shared the award with St. John's goalie Gavin Buckley.
McNichols of Norwalk, Conn., scored three goals including the game-winning goal in overtime to lift UMass to a thrilling 8-7 victory over Hobart and help the Minutemen move into a tie for second place in the ECAC. McNichols registered the winning tally 1:19 into the extra session. He also scored the first goal of the game for UMass and had a goal in the fourth quarter. He shared the award with Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin.
The Series With Georgetown
The series has been close, as the last three games were decided by a total of four goals including one-goal affairs in 2005 and 2007. The last four games have been decided by two goals or less and a total of four goals.
In the eight all-time meetings, no team has won by more than three goals. In the eight games, the margin was one goal on four occasions.
The last time the teams met when Georgetown was ranked No. 5, UMass also unranked as they are in 2008. The Hoyas pulled out a thrilling 19-18 win on April 22, 2000, the first-ever meeting.
Last season, No. 6 Georgetown held off a rally by UMass to win, 8-6, in Amherst on April 21, 2007. No. 7 Georgetown beat No. 8 UMass, 8-6 in Washington on April 22, 2006. UMass downed Georgetown, 13-12 on April 23, 2005.
LAST SEASON: The UMass men's lacrosse team rallied from a four-goal deficit in the third quarter to tie the game at 6-6, but were done in by a pair of Craig Dowd extra-man goals late, in an 8-7 loss to No. 6 Georgetown. With the win, the Hoyas (9-2, 5-0 ECAC) clinched at least a share of the ECAC title. UMass fell to 5-6, 3-2 in the ECAC. After Georgetown had built a 6-2 lead just 44 seconds into the second half, UMass went on a tear to tie the game and excite the Garber Field faithful. Senior Brett Garber tallied twice in the run including the goal to make it 6-6 with 7:33 left in regulation. He fired home a feed from fellow senior Brian Jacovina, who set up the final three goals in the run. Jacovina previously connected with senior Andrew Recchione to make it 6-5 with 12:43 left regulation. Prior to that Garber scored his first of the game with 12:12 left in the third as the Hoyas still led 6-4. Sophomore Evan Blum started the run with a goal 1:58 into the second half.
Two years ago, despite a strong third-quarter comeback, No. 7 Georgetown handed No. 8 UMass an 8-6 loss in an ECAC battle on a wet afternoon. The Minutemen scored four of the five goals in the third quarter to cut the lead to 7-6, but that was as close as they would get as senior Hoya goalie Rich D'Andrea was sensational all game, coming up with 15 saves. Sean Morris scored all three of his goals in the third quarter as the Minutemen rallied from a 6-2 halftime deficit. UMass had several chances to close the gap in the final two minutes as Morris was stoned twice and Rory Pedrick was stopped once as D'Andrea preserved the win for the Hoyas. Playing on Senior Day, D'Andrea made seven saves in the fourth quarter.
In 2005, not even torrential rain could prevent No. 9 UMass from toppling No. 3 Georgetown, 13-12. With the win, UMass gained sole possession of first place in the ECAC. The Minutemen defeated their highest ranked opponent since 2003, when UMass defeated then No. 3 Georgetown, 11-8. Sean Morris paced the Minutemen attack with four goals on the afternoon, three coming in a 2:15 span at the end of the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, with the score tied 9-9, each face-off became crucial. Jake Deane dominated the "X" in the fourth quarter, winning 5-of-8 face-offs, against Andy Corno, the nation's top face-off specialist. The Hoyas responded in the third, holding the Minutemen scoreless and finding the back of the cage three times, to tie the game up. Georgetown struck first, going up 10-9, off a goal from Pete Cannon with 12:13 left in the game. However, four consecutive Minutemen goals, by Doyle, Zywicki, Morris, and Tundo, put UMass up 13-10 with 4:58 remaining. Two late goals by Pete Cannon put the Hoyas in reach of tying the game up late, but Schell's last second save on Brendan Cannon ended the Hoyas' hopes.
In 2004, UMass jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Washington, D.C. in the last game at Georgetown, but were defeated by the Hoyas, 12-10 on April 24. Sean Morris dished out four assists and added a goal and Chris Doyle posted a goal and an assist for the Minutemen.
Back on April 19, 2003, when the Hoyas were ranked third in the nation, UMass beat the Hoyas, 11-8. Jeff Zywicki found the back of the back of the cage four times on the afternoon, and Sean Morris chipped in with two goals and two assists to lead the Minutemen to their upset bid. Bill Schell was outstanding in the cage, turning away 14 Georgetown shots and allowing just eight goals to the nation's only undefeated team at that time.
Schneider Among Leaders
Schneider ranks seventh in the NCAA in save percentage at 61.7, which is also the top mark in the ECAC. He has allowed just 72 goals, while making 116 saves in four games. The national leader is Brown's Jordan Burke, at 70.7. Burke made 16 saves against UMass back on March 15.
Schneider is 12th in the NCAA in goals against average with a mark of 7.30. That also leads the ECAC.
He has been named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week twice. First on Feb. 25 after he tied his career-high with 19 saves in an 8-4 win over Hofstra (2/23). He was also named the Inside Lacrosse National Player of the Week for that performance.
Schneider earned his second ECAC player of the week honor on March 31 after he backstopped UMass to a 7-5 win at Penn State, allowing just five goals, making 12 saves.
Defense Stands Tall
The defense has also received strong play from short-stick defensive middies Paul Manesis and Stephen Zorkers. Both players also have goals, scoring in transition. Zorkers' tally was key to a late rally in the Hobart (4/12) game.
Man-Down Defense Near NCAA Best
Balise Tops Charts
Balise has goals in nine of 10 games this season, being shut out just once by Loyola (3/22). He has 10 goals in his last three games.
Balise netted a career-best and team season-best six goals at St. John's (4/5). It was the most goals scored by a UMass player since Jeff Zywicki had six in a game against Syracuse back in 2005. Balise also had an assist at St. John's to give him a career-best seven points. That was the most by a UMass player since Sean Morris had eight in the 2006 season opening win over Hofstra.
He has three hat tricks this season with four goals against Hofstra (2/23) in the opener and three vs. Albany (3/11). Balise also leads in shots with 63 and shooting percentage with a 36.5 percent mark.
He has been named the ECAC Offensiv Player of the Week twice on Feb. 25 after Hofstra and April 7 after the St. John's game.
Balise had 15 goals all of last season and finished with 24 points, which he passed in nine games in 2008.
Freshmen Attackers Draw Notice
McNichols has twice been named the ECAC Rooke of the Week. He earned the honor after his second hat trick, including the game-winning overtime goal to beat Hobart (4/12). He was also lauded after he had two goals in UMass' 8-5 loss to Harvard (3/8).
McNichols has five multi-goal games this season. He had his first career hat trick at Sacred Heart (3/18) and has points in eight of 10 games.
Rodgers has been the team's feeder from the "X" and has multiple assists in five games including a season-best three against Yale (3/2). Rodgers scored two goals for the first time at St. John's (4/5) and was named to the ECAC Honor Roll.
He has the longest point-scoring streak on the team with nine games in row, scoring in every game since the opener. He has seven points in his last three games.
Lucky Number 11 & 10
UMass is 28-0 when scoring 10 or more goals over the last four years. UMass is 1-0 this year and was 5-0 last season when reaching double-figures. The last loss when scoring 10 goals came on May 1, 2004, a 17-10 loss at Syracuse.
Big Winners Over Last Seven Years
UMass is tied for the sixth-most wins over that span with 82 along with Cornell.
Johns Hopkins, which has won 78.8 percent of its games with an 89-24 record is first followed by Georgetown, which second at 75.2 (85-28) and Cornell (74.5, 82-28).
Cannella Among Win Leaders
He is also 15th among active coaches in total wins with 122.
Gorillas at Home
Three years ago, UMass posted a perfect 8-0 record at home tying its record for best home record without a loss at 8-0, which was set in 1981. It was the first time since 1992 UMass went undefeated at home, as they went 6-0 that season.
Since the start of the 2001 season, UMass is 50-12 at Garber Field, winning 81 percent of the games at the friendly confines.
UMass Picked Second In ECAC
In a vote by league coaches, the Georgetown Hoyas have been chosen as the favorites to capture the 2008 ECAC Lacrosse League title. The Hoyas have been picked first by league coaches for nine straight years and have won the title seven times.
The Hoyas tallied 49 possible points including seven first place votes. The University of Massachusetts, the 2006 National Runner-Up, was picked to finish second. Loyola College and Penn State tied for third in the poll, and the Nittany Lions picked up the other first place vote.
Rutgers was picked to finish fifth, while St. John's was tabbed for sixth place. Fairfield and Hobart rounded out the bottom quarter of the poll.
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