#16 UMass Lax Travels To #20 Towson For CAA Semi
#16/#4 seed UMASS (8-5) at #20/#1 seed TOWSON (6-7)
#16 UMass Travels To #20 Towson For First-Ever CAA Playoff Appearance
The champion of the four-team CAA Tournament will receive the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Last season, UMass captured the ECAC Championship, in its last season in the league, with a 6-1 regular-season record as the league never had a post-season tournament.
UMass is the No. 4 seed in the CAA playoffs and enters with an 8-5 overall record along with a 2-3 mark in the CAA regular-season. The Minutemen are 15th in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Towson is the top seed in the CAA with a 4-1 league record. Overall, the Tigers are 6-7, and ranked 20th in the USILA Coaches Poll. They are 19th in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.
The teams met in the regular-season on April 10, with the Tigers upsetting the then-No. 7 Minutemen, 10-9 on Senior Day at Garber Field. Towson's Carl Iacona scored the game-winning goal with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter while Will Harrington had three goals. For UMass, Anthony Biscardi tallied three goals and goalie Tim McCormack made a career-high 18 saves. That was just the second-ever meeting between the two storied programs. UMass won the first game of the series, the only meeting in Towson, on March 28, 1963, a 7-3 win as part of a Southern trip for Dick Garber's team.
The other CAA Semifinal pits No. 3 seed Drexel (10-4, 3-2) at No. 2 seed Delaware (8-6, 3-2) at 7 p.m., on Wednesday night. The winners of the two semifinals will meet in the CAA Championship game on Saturday at the site of the highest remaining team. These are the following start times, based on the host site: at Towson, 7:30 p.m.; at Delaware, 7 p.m.; at Drexel, 1 p.m.
Connections With Towson
Greg Cannella had never coached against Towson or its head coach Tony Seaman prior to this season's 10-9 Towson win on April 10. The coaches are connected as Seaman coached at Cannella's high school alma mater Lynbrook from 1972-81. Cannella was a prolific scorer at Lynbrook in the early 1980s, graduating in 1983. The Lynbrook program was started by John Cannella, Greg's father in 1957 and Seaman was just the third coach in its history. Larry Glenz succeed Seaman and coached Greg Cannella as he was named an All-American in 1983 in scoring 103 points as a senior.
Seaman coached against UMass just once before this year and it came 23 years ago in the NCAA First Round. Seaman won his first NCAA Tournament game as a coach, while at Penn, beating UMass 11-10 on May 13, 1987.
UMass has just one player from Maryland on its roster in sophomore long-pole Greg Anderson from Ijamsville. The Tigers have one Mass player: Tim Flynn from Cotuit and Barnstable High School.
Earlier This Year Vs. Towson
UMass saw its four-game winning streak come to and end as the Minutemen suffered their first-ever loss as a member of the CAA.
Freshman Will Manny had two goals and an assist for three points. Senior Bobby Hayes playing his final regular-season home game at Garber Field had a pair of assists. Senior All-American defenseman Diogo Godoi scored his first-career goal and played solid defense all afternoon.
Will Harrington led Towson with three goals in addition to three others with a pair: Iacona, Matt Lamon and Christian Pastirik.
UMass rallied from two-goal deficits twice in the second half to tie the game at nine and seven. Biscardi scored UMass' second goal in a span of 23 seconds to knot the game with 9:34 left in the fourth. Ryan Hantverk brought the Minutemen within one on a tally off a pass from Ryan Liebel with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth. The Minutemen seemed to have momentum heading to the fourth quarter as Godoi scored on a full field rush and his bounce shot beat Towson's Travis Love with 1:25 left in the third. But Towson came out in fire to start the fourth as Lamon and Harrington scored in the first 3:10 for a 9-7 lead.
The game was back-and-fourth in the first half and stood tied after the first quarter at 2-2 and at halftime at 5-5. The Minutemen tied the game just prior to halftime on Kyle Smith's team-leading fifth man-up goal of the season off a feed from Hantverk with 40 seconds left in the first half.
Among The National Leaders
UMass had at least 10 goals in its first nine game this season with a season-high of 20 against Hartford (2/20). The last time UMass began the season with double-figures in its first nine games was in 2003. That year UMass had at least 10 goals in its first 13 games.
Overall, UMass has reached double-figure goals in 10 of 13 games this year.
Perhaps the most notable stat on UMass' offense is that 65.6 percent of UMass' goals have been assisted this season (101of 152). The game at Penn State (4/3) demonstrated the top-notch passing as all 10 goals were assisted. All six goals at Drexel (5/1) were also all assisted. UMass is seventh in the NCAA in assists per game with 7.77. Robert Morris leads with 8.8 per game.
UMass is also shooting 31.3 percent on its shots, 15th in the NCAA. That includes a mark of 35 percent in the fourth quarter.
Part of UMass' success has been the man-up offense. The Minutemen are scoring on 47.5 percent of its EMOs to rank sixth in the NCAA. UMass has 19 man-up goals on 40 chances.
UMass has a well-rounded offense with six players tallying more than 10 goals. Nine different players have at least 10 points, including four with more than 30.
Gorillas On Offense
Kell had at least two points in every game he has played and at least two goals in seven of eight games. He was named the UMass Athlete of the Week on March 29 after his nine-point week (5g, 4 a) including both game-winning goals to beat #15 Brown and #6 Hofstra.
Freshman attacker Will Manny has taken over the statistical leadership from Kell. He tops the team in scoring as he has 44 points on team-highs of 26 goals and 18 assists. Manny has at least two points in every game this season. He has netted five hat tricks including two of his last three games at Delaware (4/17) and vs. #10 Georgetown (4/24). The one vs. the Blue Hens was a natural hat trick with three consecutive goals in 3:08. Manny was named Inside Lacrosse's No. 3 Freshman of the Year at the Midseason on April 5. He was named LaxNews' National Player of the Week and CAA Rookie of the Week for the second time in 2010 after his five-point game vs. Georgetown.
Senior captain midfielder Bobby Hayes is fourth on the team in points with 32 and stands fourth in goals with 19. Hayes has points in all 13 games this season and has points in 15 games in a row dating to last season. Hayes is second on the team lead in man-up goals with four, behind Kyle Smith.
UMass re-worked its offense prior to the Georgetown game and moved sophomore Anthony Biscardi up to the attack to play alongside Manny and sophomore Steve D'Amario. Prior to that Biscardi was playing on the first midfield with Hayes and Ryan Hantverk.
Biscardi (21 goals, 14 assists for 35 points) and Hantverk (15 goals, 12 assists for 27 points) and have been very consistent on offense. Biscardi has at least three points in 10 of 13 games this season and has points in 12 of 13 games. Hantverk has points in 11 of 13 games with multiple points in eight of those games. Through the first 11 games, UMass' first midfield (Hayes-Hantverk-Biscardi) had a combined 49 goals and 34 assists for 83 points. A rate of 7.5 points per game.
UMass has been well-rounded on offense with 17 different players scoring and 11 with at least four goals. Six different players have 10 or more goals and 10 players have at least five goals.
Senior midfielder Christian Hain has nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in the midfield. In his first game with the first midfield, he scored the biggest game of his career with 33.5 seconds left in regulation to knock off Georgetown (4/24) at the ESPNU Warrior Classic.
Freshman K.R. Jurgelevich leads all rookie midfielders with six goals and nine points.
Sophomore Steve D'Amario has emerged recently and has eight goals and 12 points on the season with his first-career multi-goal game at Brown (3/23). he tallied two goals vs. Georgetown (4/24) including the game-tying goal with 1:29 left in the fourth quarter. Freshman man-up specialist Kyle Smith has five goals and five assists with nine points coming in EMO situations. He leads UMass with five man-up goals, second in the CAA.
Sophomore defenseman Tom Celentani is having a sensational season in his first season as a starter on close defense. He leads the team in caused turnovers with 24, which ranks 14th in the NCAA (1.85 per game). He also has 29 groundballs, fourth on the team.
Short-stick middie Stephen Zorkers second on the team in groundballs with 33 (2.54 per game) and has guarded some of the top offensive players in the country. He raked up a career-best six groundballs at #15 Brown (3/23).
Junior Casey Rahn is third on the team with 31 groundballs (2.6 per game), as the team's top long-pole on defense and the face-off wing. He had a huge game with five groundballs and two caused turnovers in the win over #6 Hofstra (3/27).
Seventeen Minutemen have double-figure groundballs led by face-off man Greg Rushing (68), who is 15th in the NCAA in groundballs per game (5.23).
McCormack Spices It Up In Goal
Against Hofstra (3/27), McCormack made 12 saves including six in the fourth quarter -- two in the final minute as UMass topped the Pride, 11-9.
McCormack notched a career-high 18 saves against Towson (4/10).
Over his last seven games, McCormack has a 57 save percentage (88 saves on 155 shots on goal).
In his first season replacing Doc Schneider in goal, McCormack has a mark of 8-5 , starting 13 games with a 9.86 GAA and 52.5 save percentage.
Fantastic Face-Off Men
At Brown, Rushing was strong winning 11-of-16 for the game as UMass started off winning 15 of the first 17 in the contest.
Fellow sophomore Anthony Toresco has shown potential at the "X" as well. He won 7-of-11 vs. Providence and 5-of-8 at Brown. He has 19 groundballs on the year.
Highest Rankings Since 2006
At No. 7 in both the USILA Coaches Poll and Inside Lacrosse Media Poll on April 5, UMass had its highest ranking since the NCAA Championship game season of 2006. That year UMass was at No. 7 as late as the week of March 13.
With a No. 9 ranking the week of March 29, UMass is in the Top 10 for consecutive weeks for the first time since that 2006 season. UMass started that season in the Top 10 for the first five weeks.
Notes On Beating Top 10 Teams
In 2006, UMass knocked off three Top 10 -- in fact all Top 5 teams -- in the NCAA Tournament, beating No. 2 Hofstra, No. 3 Cornell and No. 4 Maryland.
The 11-9 win over No. 6 Hofstra on March 27 was UMass' first against a Top 10 team since the 2006 NCAA Semifinals, when the Minutemen downed No. 4 Maryland, 8-5 on May 27, on the way to the 2006 title game.
The win over Hofstra was the team's first regular-season over a Top 10 team since beating No. 7 Syracuse on April 30, 2005 and UMass' high against the highest-ranked team in the regular-season since knocking off No. 3 Georgetown, also in 2005, 13-12 on April 23.
Best Scoring Start Since 2003
The last time UMass had at least 10 in goals in each of the first nine games -- as they did this season -- was in 2003.
In 2010, UMass had its best three-game start in scoring since 1990, with 47 goals this season. In 1990 the Minutemen tallied 70 goals in its first three games. In a trip to Arizona, UMass beat the Wildcats, 27-8 and Whittier College, 28-7 in back-to-back games. That was followed up with a 16-15 loss to Cornell, for a total of 70 goals in the first three games.
20-Goal Outburst Vs. Hartford
The Minutemen jumped out to a 13-7 halftime lead, marking the most goals in a half since that same Rutgers game in 2002. Against the Scarlet Knights, UMass had a 14-goal second half including an 11-goal fourth quarter. Against Hartford, UMass led 8-2 after the first 15 minutes with five goals in the game's first 6:34.
Big Winners Over Last 10 Years
The Minutemen have the ninth-best mark among all teams in the NCAA since 2001 with an 98-51 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.
Lucky Numbers 10, 11, 13
UMass has now won 70 of its last 71 games when scoring 13 goals, after 13-12 win vs. Georgetown. UMass is 3-1 this year when tallying 13 or more.
The Minutemen had at least 11 goals in the first eight games this season with a 6-2 record. They reached the mark again in the 13-12 win over Georgetown and have won 50 of the last 52 games when tallying 11 or more. A 96.1 win percentage mark.
Prior to the Yale loss, UMass' last loss when they had more than 11 came in the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals, a 13-12 loss at Johns Hopkins.
The streak lasted eight years to 2002 -- meaning the last four senior classes had never lost when scoring 11 or more goals.
Last season UMass had four 11-plus efforts in 2009. UMass beat Rutgers 11-10 in overtime in the regular-season finale to go along with 12-6 wins over Fairfield (4/21) and St. John's (4/4) and a 18-6 win over Yale (2/28).
UMass is 40-3 in its last 43 games when scoring double-figures, (93.0 win percentage) including 8-2 this year and a 5-1 mark last year. 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.
Thumbnail Sketch Of The Minutemen
The Minutemen are ranked 16th in this week's USILA Coaches Poll and 15th in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. The Minutemen were No. 7 in the April 5 poll, those rankings were the highest since being No. 7 in both polls in the week of March 13 2006.
Last season, the Minutemen finished 9-6 overall and captured the ECAC Championship with a 6-1 league record. UMass fell to Princeton in the NCAA Tournament First Round, 10-7, in New Jersey.
Head coach Greg Cannella is in his 16th season as head coach at his alma mater. Overall, the 1988 UMass grad has a 139-89 career record, winning more than 61.0 percent of the games he has coached. He ranks among the Top 15 among active coaches in the NCAA in career wins and win percentage.
The Minutemen are beginning play in a new league in 2010, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). UMass made the move to the league after a national shuffle caused by the formation of the Big East Conference in lacrosse. The Minutemen joined the CAA along with former ECAC member Penn State and will compete in a six-team league along with longtime CAA members Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra and Towson.
Coming into 2010, UMass will have plenty of new faces in key positions. The Minutemen graduated All-Conference players including ECAC Goalie of the Year and Second-Team All-American Doc Schneider (7.43 GAA and 65.3 Save Pct.) along with its two leading scorers in Tim Balise (31 goals, 5 assists for 36 points) and Jim Connolly (39-5=44). Also, graduated were the fourth and fifth leading scorers in Evan Blum (14-8-22) and Rory Pedrick (12-6=18). Overall, UMass returned just 41 goals of its 143 goals from last season, just 28.7 percent. The leading returning scorer is senior captain midfielder Bobby Hayes (12-14=26), who led the team in assists in 2009. Fellow senior captain attackman Ryan Smith is expected to pick up some of the load in his first season as a starter. Sophomore Art Kell was the top rookie scorer a year ago with 11 goals and three assists and will be back to start on attack.
The goalie position will have a new face for the first time in four years as Schneider graduated as one of the all-time greats in UMass history. He finished second in career saves with 753 and is now serving as an assistant coach with the Minutemen. Redshirt sophomore Tim McCormack and freshman Steve Mahle battled for the starting role in preseason camp with McCormack getting the nod to start the year. McCormack redshirted last season to retain three years of eligibility while Mahle was starring at West Genesee High School in upstate New York.
An area with experience heading into 2010 is the close defense, as UMass returns 2009 All-American and 2010 Preseason All-American Diogo Godoi as a senior captain. Godoi will team with returning sophomore Greg Anderson and junior Travis Tripucka. That duo shared starting duties last season along side Godoi and graduated Brennan Mack. Sophomore Tom Celentani has also seen extended playing time on close defense. Junior long-pole Casey Rahn and junior short-stick Stephen Zorkers will also be key to the defense's success.
Godoi Preseason 2nd-Team All-American
UMass Picked Second In CAA; Trio Earn Honors
UMass Wins 2009 ECAC Championship
The Minutemen also captured the league crown in 2001, 2002 and 2005. In 2002 UMass also claimed the league's automatic qualifier. The Minutemen lost the tiebreaker to Georgetown in 2001 and in 2005, the league did not have an AQ.
UMass ended in a tie with Loyola atop the ECAC at 6-1, but claimed the crown by virtue of its 8-6 win at Loyola on March 21.
UMass Claims 2009 ECAC Honors