No. 1 UMass Looks For Regular-Season CAA Title Vs. Hofstra at New England Lacrosse Classic
• As the regular-season comes down to the home stretch, the No. 1 UMass men’s lacrosse team (11-0) has a chance to wrap up the CAA Regular-Season Championship and earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming CAA Tournament as the Minutemen face perinnial rival Hofstra on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in the 3rd Annual New England Lacrosse Classic. For the Minutemen, ranked No. 1 in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll, a win today or a win next Friday at Delaware could lock in UMass for a home game in the CAA Semifinals which starts Wednesday, May 2.
• UMass and Hofstra have met on the lacrosse field a total of 36 times in the history of the two programs. UMass holds a slight 19-17 advantage in the series, however, the Pride came out on top 14-5 in 2011 at the ESPNU Warrior Classic at Rentschler Field. The series has been close over the last six seasons which the teams alternating wins. Out of the 36 prior meetings, 10 have been decided by a goal with four games seeing overtime.
• Saturday marks the 3rd time UMass has played in an NFL Stadium. In the magical 2006 NCAA Tournament run, the Minutemen after defeating Maryland in the NCAA Semifinals before falling to Virginia in the National Championship Game (L, 7-15).
• 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: 8-6 Win Over Drexel At Bethpage
• In the second annual Battle for Bethpage, No. 2 UMass and Drexel put on a show for the 4,000 fans in attendance as the Minutemen used a big four-quarter to narrowly edge the Dragons 8-6. Tim McCormack (14 saves) was named the game’s MVP as both teams received excellent defensive play throughout the day. Drexel took an early 2-0 after the first quarter, while Steve D’Amario and Will Manny cranked up the offense in the second to tie the game 2-2 midway through. The teams traded goals to go into halftime tied 3-3. UMass locked down defensively in the third to shutout the Dragons, while Greg Rushing scored his second goal in as many games giving the Minutemen a 4-3 lead going into the fourth. Back-to-back tallies from Colin Fleming and D’Amario gave UMass a two-goal cushion that proved critical as the Minutemen held off Drexel late for the 8-6 win.
Up Next: Regular-Season Finale At Delaware
• UMass will head to Delware next Friday, April 27 for a 7 PM regular-season finale. The game will be broadcast live on 100.9 FM KIX. A win vs. Hofstra on Saturday means UMass could post its first 2nd ever undefeated league season. The Minutemen’s last undefeated league season was in 2002 with a 5-0 mark in the ECAC. Wins vs. Hofstra and at Delaware would also mark the Minutemen’s first undefeated regular season since 1969.
Minutemen Garner Highest Ranking Ever
• At No. 1 in the USILA Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the Media Poll, the UMass men’s lacrosse program has achieved its highest national ranking ever. Prior to being ranked No. 2 for three weeks (Mar 27-Apr 9), the previous high for a national ranking was No. 3 which the Minutemen did this season, in 2003 and in 2001. At 11-0, 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 39 of his 40 career games and cracked the 100-point barrier with his three-goal, four-assist effort against Bucknell this season. Manny enters the Hofstra game with 81 career goals and 63 career assists in 40 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 eight 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 11 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 (19 groundballs, 13 caused turnovers) and Greg Anderson (17 groundballs, 3 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 25th this year allowing opponents to go 13-for-43 (30.2) 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 82-of-128 (64.1%) with 44 groundballs. Rushing is 33-of-53 (62.3%) on faceoffs with a team-best 52 groundballs.
• Toresco leads the CAA in faceoff win percentage and ranks 6th nationally. As a team, UMass ranks 5th in the NCAA in faceoff win percentage (59.8%).
Lucky Numbers 10, 11, 13
• When scoring 11 goals or more, UMass has won 64 of its last 66 games, a 96.9 win percentage. Last season, UMass had six games with 11-plus goals, all wins. 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 last season 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 55-3 in its last 58 games when scoring double-figures, (95.3 win percentage). UMass was a perfect 7-0 last year when reaching 10, with wins over Hartford, Ohio State, Providence, Saint Joseph’s, Drexel, Delaware and Penn State. In 2010, UMass posted an 8-2 record when scoring 10 or more. 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.).