No. 1 UMass Battles Drexel For CAA Championship
• The No. 1 ranked and top-seeded UMass men’s lacrosse team earned its first undefeated regular-season since 1969 and will look to continue making history as the Minutemen host third-seeded Drexel on Saturday night (7 PM) at Garber Field in the CAA Championship Game. The winner will earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament which will begin next Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13. UMass won the earlier meeting between the two teams, 8-6, on April 14 in the Battle 4 Bethpage II.
• This marks the third straight season UMass has made the CAA Playoffs. In 2010, top-seeded Towson defeated fourth seeded UMass 13-6 in the Semifinals. Last season, UMass won at second-seed Penn State in a dramatic overtime finish before falling to four-seed Delaware in the CAA Championship Game 9-7 at Garber Field. A win for the Minutemen on Saturday would mark their first-ever CAA Championship Title (and first-ever conference tournament title as the ECAC did not hold a championship tournament).
• On the line this week will be the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UMass is seeking its 19th trip to the big dance this season. The last time UMass was in the NCAA Tournament was in 2009 which snapped a two-year absence following the magical NCAA Finals run of 2006.
• 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: 10-3 Win Vs. Towson - CAA Semifinals
• A five-goal second quarter propelled the No. 1 UMass men’s lacrosse team over Towson in the CAA Semifinal game, 10-3, on Wednesday night at Garber Field. Colin Fleming ripped a career-high four goals, and Will Manny tied a career-high with five assists. At 14-0, UMass set a new program high for wins in a season.
• Art Kell tallied three goals for UMass, and the trio of Manny, Kyle Smith, and Tom Celentani each added a score. For Celentani, the goal marked the first of the senior’s career.
• The game was a defensive draw for the first 14 minutes, 54 seconds until Fleming broke the deadlock just before the end of the first period. That led to 5 second quarter goals as UMass led 6-0 at the break.
Up Next: NCAA Selection Show / NCAA First Round
• UMass will find out its NCAA First Round opponent and location on Sunday night as the NCAA Selection Show will be televised at 9 PM. The Minutemen will gather in Boyden Gymnasium to watch the show. If UMass earns a First Round home game, it will be on Sunday, May 13 at a time to be determined. The ESPN family of networks will carry all NCAA Tournament First Round Games with times of 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM and 7 PM slated for May 13.
Minutemen Earn No. 1 Ranking
• UMass enters the CAA Tournament as the nation’s No. 1 team in both the Nike Media Poll and the USILA Coaches Poll as released on Monday. The Minutemen were two points ahead of Notre Dame and captured 4-of-6 first place votes in the coaches poll. In the media poll, UMass was 18 points ahead of Notre Dame and held 20-of-24 first place votes.
• At No. 1 in the April 16 USILA Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the April 16 Media Poll, the UMass men’s lacrosse program 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.
Manny & Biscardi Tewaaraton Nominees
• As one of the top attacks and top midfielders in the country, Will Manny and Anthony Biscardi were both named to the top-25 list of nominees for the Tewaaraton Award which is given annually to the best college lacrosse player in the country. The five men’s and five women’s finalist will be announced May 10. Manny has ranked among the nation’s top point producers for the bulk of the season as the Minutemen’s leading scorer. Biscardi is one of the top midfielders in the CAA known equally for his offensive touch as much as his bruising hits in the midfield.
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 42 of his 43 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 89 career goals and 71 career assists in 43 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 27 goals and 15 assists over his last 11 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 14 games, the Minutemen have given up double-figure goals just once to an opponent and have forced more turnovers in every game but three. For the year, UMass is forcing opponents into an average of 14.6 turnovers per game.
• Fellow close defenders Tom Celentani (25 groundballs, 18 caused turnovers) and Greg Anderson (22 groundballs, 4 caused turnovers) and Jake Smith (24 groundballs, 9 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 10th this year allowing opponents to go 16-for-68 (23.5) on man-up advantages.
• UMass’ tag-team duo of seniors Greg Rushing and Anthony Toresco were stellar on face-offs in 2011 with the Minutemen as a team winning 51.7 percent of its draws to rank 21st in the NCAA. The pair continues to be successful for the Minutemen in 2012. Toresco leads UMass going 108-of-177 (61.0%) with 58 groundballs. Rushing is 40-of-65 (61.5%) on faceoffs with a team-best 65 groundballs.
• Toresco leads the CAA in faceoff win percentage and ranks 8th nationally. As a team, UMass ranks 7th in the NCAA in faceoff win percentage (58.2%).