#15 UMass Heads To #4 Princeton In NCAA Men's Lax First Round, Sunday
2009 NCAA FIRST ROUND
#15 UMass Heads To #4 Princeton In NCAA First Round, Sunday
Sunday's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with the network's No. 1 lacrosse crew of Dave Ryan and Quint Kessenich calling the action. The game will be radio broadcast by WRNX 100.9 FM in Western Massachusetts with "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer and former All-American Norm Smith on the call. UMass student station WMUA 91.1 will also have a radio broadcast of the game with Sam Bingham and Neil Carroll. Live streaming audio and live stats will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
UMass has the ninth most NCAA Tournament appearances of any program in history with 18. UMass has made the NCAA Tournament in 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2009. All-time, UMass is 9-17 in NCAA postseason games. UMass has reached the NCAA Quarterfinals 11 times and the semifinals in 2006. Just three years ago, UMass made the greatest run to the NCAA Finals in history, knocking off the No. 6, No. 3 and No. 2 seeds before falling to No. 1 and undefeated Virginia in the final.
Greg Cannella is leading UMass to the NCAAs for the seventh time and has a 7-6 record in the postseason. UMass has won at least one NCAA game in each of its last five appearances with the ultimate being the NCAA Final in 2006. His first-ever game coaching in the NCAA was against Princeton in 1995.
UMass Captures 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 In The NCAA Tourney
UMass is entering the NCAA as an unseeded team for the sixth time. In those five previous unseeded showings, UMass has a combined record of 4-5.
In 2006, with wins over No. 6 seed Cornell, No. 3 seed Hofstra, No. 2 seed Maryland UMass was the first unseeded to team to reach the NCAA Finals since the 1997 Maryland team -- and just the fourth team all-time to reach the final as an unseeded team.
UMass has made the NCAA's five times in the 2000s (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2009). UMass is 9-17 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. The Minutemen have won at least one game in their last five NCAA postseason appearances winning first round games in 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
In addition to the 2006 NCAA Finals run, the Minutemen advanced 11 times in their history.
2006 was the first time UMass won two games in an NCAA Tournament. Prior to 2006 UMass had been to the most NCAA Tournaments without a berth in the NCAA Semifinals. In addition to last year, the Minutemen reached the quarterfinals in 2002 after defeating Fairfield, 17-4 in the first round but lost to Johns Hopkins 13-12 in overtime. In 2003 after beating Hofstra, 9-6 in the first round, UMass fell to Maryland, 13-7 at Syracuse.
UMass made the NCAA's five times in the 1990's, in `91, `93, `95, and `97. The Minutemen made the trip to the tournament six consecutive years from 1986-1991. In the 1970's, the Minutemen went to the tournament three times in `76, `77, and `79.
UMass made its first NCAA showing in 1976, falling to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The Minutemen had twice been to the USILA playoffs in 1972 and 1973.
The Series With Princeton
Two years later, No. 1 Princeton knocked off No. 8 UMass, 11-9 in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Hofstra on May 17, 1997.
The last time UMass played a team it was 0-2 against, in the NCAA Tournament was in the 2006 Semifinals against Maryland. After dropping its first two all-time games against the Terrapins, the Minutemen knocked off the No. 2 Terps in the 2006 NCAA Semifinals.
UMass' NCAA Games Vs. Princeton
1997 Quarterfinals Princeton 11, UMass 9
UMass Players In The NCAA Tournament
Senior Jim Connolly leads all UMass scorers in NCAA Tournament action with nine goals in his four games including a career-game with five goals including the overtime game-winner in the 2006 Quarterfinals to cap an amazing 11-10 comeback win at Hofstra.
Pedrick has three goals and two assists for five points in his five NCAA games.
Goalie Doc Schneider, who backstoppped UMass' run to the NCAA Finals in 2006, has played a total of four games with a 7.19 goals against average and a 63.3 save percentage. He had an amazing 15 saves, allowing just five goals in the Minutemen's 8-5 Semifinal final that season.
Redshirt junior Diogo Godoi played in all four NCAA Tournament games as a freshman in 2006, seeing time as a long-stick middie. Senior Tim Balise also appeared in two tournament games. Current seniors Evan Blum, Dennis Lynch, Brennan Mack and Joe Reale were on the 2006 roster, but didn't play in the postseason.
UMass Claims Three Top ECAC Lacrosse Honors
Now in his 15th season as head coach of his alma mater, Cannella guided UMass to its fourth ECAC Lacrosse League title and its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance. He was also named ECAC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2002, and 2001, and he has captured the award more times than any coach in league history. He was named the USILA National Coach of the Year in 2006 after leading UMass to the NCAA Championship game.
Connolly is the third UMass player to earn ECAC Offensive Player of the Year joining Chris Fiore in 2003 and Sean Morris in 2005 and 2006. Connolly led UMass and the ECAC in goals with 35 (2.5 per game). Connolly was also named to the ECAC First-Team in 2007. He ranks third in the ECAC in points (40) and points per game (2.9) and has three game-winning goals including the winners against Hobart (in overtime) and Penn State (in the final minute). He has scored goals in all 14 games this season and has a 23-game point-scoring streak dating to 2007. Connolly registered multiple points in 13 of 14 games this season with five hat tricks in 2009.
Schneider earns UMass' first Goalie of the Year honor in history. Schneider is one of 21 final nominees for the Tewaaraton Award as the sport's top college player. The senior captain leads the ECAC in goals against average (7.30) and save percentage (65.8), those marks rank fifth and second, respectively in the NCAA. Schneider was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week six times in 2009. Heading into the NCAA postseason, he was named Inside Lacrosse' No. 1 Clutch Goalie. He has allowed six or fewer goals in six games and made 15 or more saves in six games with a career-high 21 at Hobart on April 11. In each of the last two years, he was named the ECAC Second-Team backstop.
Balise earns an honor from the ECAC for the second year in a row, as he was a second-team selection in 2008. Balise is second to teammate Connolly in the ECAC and UMass in goals per game with 2.14 (30 goals). Balise, who was a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, was a 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. He has been an ECAC Offensive Player of the Week twice including the final week of the regular-season after he scored five goals, capped by the game-winning overtime goal to win the ECAC Championship for UMass. Balise is seventh in the ECAC in points per game with 2.5. He has points in 20 of his last 21 points including 13 of 14 games this season. He has multiple points and goals in nine games this season with five hat tricks.
Godoi earns a first-team selection after being a second-team honoree as a sophomore in 2007. He has been a key to UMass' defense which has allowed the ninth-fewest goals in the nation (7.77). Godoi was consistently guarded the opponents' top attacker and has had great success in holding the likes of fellow ECAC firs-team pick Shane Koppens of Loyola pointless on March 21. Godoi leads UMass in caused turnovers with 20 to go along with 27 groundballs. Godoi was named to Inside Lacrosse's Team of the Week twice this season. He posted a career-best five groundballs on two occasions this season.
Hayes has been UMass' top midfielder this season. He is the team's third-leading scorer (25 points) and top assistman (14 assists). Hayes ranks seventh in the ECAC in assists per game (1.0). Hayes has nine multi-point games in 2009. He tied his career-high with two goals and two assists for four points in a big late-season win at Fairfield on April 21. This is Hayes' first All-ECAC honor.
Doc Named ECAC Goalie Of Year
Schneider is No. 2 in the NCAA in save percentage with a 65.8 mark. He is also fifth in goals against average at 7.30. He leads the ECAC in both marks as well. Schneider was sensational in ECAC play with a 71.2 save percentage mark and a 6.55 goals against average as UMass went 6-1.
Schneider is third in the NCAA in saves per game with 13.71, making more than 14 saves in nine games. He also allowed six goals or less in seven games with a season-low two against St. John's (4/4).
Schneider earned his ECAC Defensive Player of the Week a record six times this season. Most recently, he took home the honor after the Rutgers overtime thriller with 19 saves. He also earned it on April 13 after the 21-save effort at Hobart (4/11). Schneider has also earned the ECAC's top weekly defensive honor four of the previous five weeks, winning it on March 2, 9, 23, 30.
He picked up his fourth ECAC Defensive Player of the Week honor this week as he was honored after 15 saves in the 9-8 win over Penn State (3/28). Schneider racked up 12 saves in the pivotal second half.
After his huge game at Loyola on March 21, Schneider was named the LaxNews College Beat National Player of the Week on March 22. He was also named the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. Schneider was sensational in Saturday's 8-6 UMass win at #12 Loyola with a season-high 17 saves. Schneider made 11 saves in the second half as the Greyhounds peppered him all game. Schneider allowed just six goals, the fourth time this season he has allowed six goals or less in a game.
He currently stands in second on the UMass all-time saves list with 740 only trailing great Sal LoCascio who recorded an unworldly 931 stops which is the most in NCAA history. He passed Don Goldstein (622) for second all-time with 17 saves at Loyola (3/21) and moved by Tom LoPresti (562) for third with eight saves at Hofstra (2/21). He became the third goalie in UMass history with 600 career saves and just the second with 700 stops.
Jim & Tim Lead Well-Rounded Offense
ECAC Offensive Player of the Year Jim Connolly leads the charge with 35 goals, 2.5 per game, which leads the ECAC and is 10th in the NCAA. Connolly has scored goals in every game this season. He leads UMass with 40 points, for 2.86 points per game, third in the ECAC and 46th in the NCAA. Connolly has points in 23 games in a row which he has played. That is the 11th-longest active streak in the NCAA.
Connolly has 12 multi-goal games this season most recently with his fifth hat trick at Rutgers (5/2) in the regular-season finale.
ECAC First-Team Selection Tim Balise comes off a five-goal effort including the game-winning overtime goal to lift UMass to the ECAC Championship and NCAA automatic qualifier. Balise is second to Connolly on both UMass and in the ECAC in goals with 30 (2.14 per game). Balise has points in 20 of his last 21 games including that five-goal effort at Rutgers. Balise had his 19-game scoring streak against Syracuse (4/25). Balise had a hot streak with three hat tricks in a row from March 28-April 11. Balise extended his point-scoring streak to 19 games with two tallies vs. Georgetown (4/18) and at Fairfield (4/21).
He is second on the team with 30 goals and 35 points. Balise is 24th in the NCAA goals per game (2.14). Balise has 19 goals in the last seven games including five points on four goals and an assist vs. St. John's (4/4).
Seniors Balise and Connolly are forming an impressive duo at attack. They have combined for 65 of the Minutemen's 136 goals (48 percent).
Balise is also second in the ECAC with a team-best seven man-up goals.
Both Balise and Connolly tallied hat tricks in the wins over Penn State (3/28) and St. John's (4/4). Balise has five hat tricks this season and 11 in his career, most recently at Rutgers (5/2). Connolly now has 12 hat tricks overall, five in 2009, with his last at Rutgers as well.
Freshman Art Kell has goals in 10 of the last 12 games with the first goal of the Rutgers game. He also scored at Fairfield (4/21) after he scored for the eighth consecutive game against Hobart (4/11) after picking up his first multi-goal game vs. St. John's (4/4). Kell scored single goals in six games in a row after being held scoreless in his first two collegiate contests. Overall, Kell is the highest scoring freshman with 14 points on 11 goals and three assists.
All-ECAC Second Team Selection Junior Bobby Hayes has points in 11 of 14 games with a goal and assist at Rutgers. His top game came with a career-high tying four-point game at Fairfield (4/21) with two goals and two assists. Hayes has nine multi-point games this season. He stands seventh in the ECAC with a team-best 14 assists (1.0 per game). He is third on the team with 25 points on eight goals and a team-high 14 assists.
Senior Evan Blum is fourth on the team with 19 points on 13 goals, third on team, and six assists. He had his first-career hat trick at Fairfield (4/21). Blum has six multi-point games this season and four multi-goal games after none in his career entering the season. Blum tallied a pair on Senior Day against Georgetown. He also had two against Sacred Heart (2/14) and Hofstra (2/21).
Redshirt-senior Rory Pedrick had a goal and assist at Rutgers as well. He also scored two goals at Fairfield (4/21) and has points in 10 of the 13 games he has played this season. Overall, he fourth on the team in scoring with 18 points on 12 goals and six assists. He had two goals in the first two games of the season against Sacred Heart (2/14) and Hofstra (2/21).
Defense's Shuts Down Top Guns
UMass is ninth in the NCAA in fewest goals allowed, giving up just 7.77 per game. The Minutemen have allowed less than 10 goals in nine games and less than seven in eight games, most recently in a 12-6 win at Fairfield (4/21).
UMass also has eight stretches of holding opponents scoreless for more than 20 minutes with a season-long 29:01 at Loyola (3/21). They did it twice at Harvard (3/7) with marks of 22:15 and 21:54.
UMass has had great success against four of the nation's top 25 point scorers #7 Andrew Feinberg of Brown (3.73 PPG), #10 Corey Small of Albany (3.6 PPG), #12 Shane Koppens of Loyola (3.42 PPG), #22 Jeff Cohen of Harvard (3.2). The four against UMass have just four points (one goal and three assists) -- a goal and assist for Small as well as assists by Cohen and Feinberg -- for a group that averages more than 14 points total.
Against Loyola (3/21), Godoi kept Greyhound attacker Shane Koppens pointless, after he came into the game scoring 4.4 points per game. Koppens was limited to just one shot on goal. Also in that game, Mack kept Loyola's Collin Finnerty to just one goal on a broken clear.
Recently, Godoi shutdown Georgetown's top scorer Craig Dowd, holding him to just one assist. Dowd came into the game averaging 2.4 points per game.
Also notable, Mack, kept Brown's Andrew Feinberg, their top scorer, without a goal in the UMass win on March 14. Feinberg is currently seventh in the NCAA in points per game (3.73) including just a single assist against UMass. Feinberg, who is seventh in goals per game (2.7) was blanked by UMass.
Against Albany, UMass limited the Great Danes' Corey Small to just a goal and assist. For the year, he is 10th in the NCAA with 3.6 points per game.
The Minutemen also kept Harvard's Greg Cohen without a goal in the win on March 7. Cohen averages 2.62 goals per game, eighth in the NCAA
Man Down Defense Dominant
Last year, UMass' man down defense was also fifth in the country (.806).
Big Winners Over Last 8 Years
The Minutemen have the ninth-best mark among all teams in the NCAA since 2001 with an 91-45 record for a 66.9 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 Number 11
UMass is 33-1 in its last 34 games when scoring double-figures with a 5-1 mark this 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. The Minutemen were 29-0 when scoring 10 or more goals over the last six years. Prior to the loss at Hofstra, the last loss when scoring 10 goals came on May 1, 2004, a 17-10 loss at Syracuse.
Jersey Boys Return Home, Again
Notably, sophomore long-stick Casey Rahn is a native of Princeton and starred at Princeton High School in both lacrosse and soccer.
Also playing close to home is starting close defenseman Travis Tripucka, from Booton Township, where he played high school lacrosse, football and basketball at Mountain Lakes High School. Tripucka, who is also the starting long-snapper on the UMass football team, is the son of former NBA All-Star Kelly Tripucka. Travis' uncle Mark was a quarterback at UMass in the early 1970s and his grandfather Frank played 15 years in the NFL.
In his return to New Jersey last week, freshman midfielder Anthony Toresco (Flemington) saw his most action and was a key to UMass win at Rutgers as he won 11-of-18 face-offs. Also from Jersey are sophomore midfielder Kevin Wright (Franklin Lakes) along with freshmen long-poles Kyle Hanenberg (Wayne and Ben Petraglia (Ridgewood).
UMass To Join CAA In 2010
A realignment of men's lacrosse conferences nationally - spurred by the Big East Conference and Northeast Conference's new sponsorship of the sport - led to the changes in CAA membership. Current members Sacred Heart and Robert Morris will move to the NEC, and Villanova will move to the Big East following the 2009 campaign.
Balise For Lowe's Sr. Class Award
A 4.0 student in Psychology, Balise not only led the Minutemen in scoring with 39 points on 33 goals last season, but also earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, ESPN The Magazine All-District First Team, and ECAC All-Conference Second Team. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact on their circle of influence.
Attendance Record Setters
The mark of 13,722 broke the former UMass record of 12,143 set in 1989, also against Syracuse. That crowd was the 25th-largest regular-season lacrosse crowd all-time in the NCAA and 19th-largest at an on-campus facility. In 2009, UMass' mark was the seventh-highest as Ohio State set a new regular-season record with 30,192, also on April 25.
Most of the biggest crowds for UMass lacrosse have been against the Orange. The second-largest showing was on May 8, 1987 when 9,325 came out for SU at McGuirk. The largest crowd on record at Garber Field (called Boyden Field at the time) was 7,500 for an April 26, 1986 game against Army. That overflow crowd led to some games being moved to McGuirk in 1987.
Prior to April 25th game, the most recent lacrosse game at McGuirk Stadium on May 4, 1997 drew 5,675. The previous game at McGuirk on May 6, 1991 brought in 5,631.
The largest crowds ever to watch UMass play came in the 2006 NCAA Semifinal and Finals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The 2006 Final Four, where UMass beat Maryland, 8-5, drew 49,562 on May 27. For the final against Virginia, 47,062 came out to watch on Memorial Day May 29.