Boston Herald Feature: Diogo Godoi Making His Mark
May 9, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass lacrosse defenseman Diogo Godoi is required to perform the same arduous task in every game, and the experience is seldom duplicated.
Godoi marks the opposition's most proficient offensive threat, and his shutdown tactics have been an essential component of the Minutemen's success this season.
Godoi will have another difficult challenge when ECAC champion UMass (9-5) plays at No. 4 Princeton (12-2) in the opening round of the NCAA Division 1 tournament tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m. The Minutemen must win two games to advance to the national semifinals at Gillette Stadium on May 23.
"He's on their top guy and typically it's a matchup we've needed him to do a good job with, and he's been very consistent," said UMass coach Greg Cannella, who was named ECAC Coach of the Year on Tuesday. "Diogo is the kind of guy who brings it. He has the size and strength to cover the big guys, but he also has the quickness and lateral movement to cover the smaller change of direction guys."
The Minutemen defense enjoyed eight scoreless stretches of 20 or more minutes this season. The high-water mark was 29:01 at Loyola, and UMass did it twice at Harvard (22:15 and 21:54) on March 7. Godoi has faced four of the nation's top 25 scorers and reduced them to non-factors. He held Brown sniper Andrew Feinberg (3.86 points per game) to a single assist. He did similar numbers on Albany's Corey Small (3.86), Shane Koppens (3.40) of Loyola and Harvard's Jeff Cohen (3.20).
"I watch a lot of film and I look for who is a good-sized kid or how some players use speed to their advantage," Godoi said. "That definitely changes the way I play them. There are some guys I can body up and push around a little bit. I'll try to use that, but from the start I try to feel them out a little bit. Sometimes that can hurt us with a goal. That's certainly happened before. But covering the best guys is tough and we haven't played Princeton so that will certainly present its own set of challenges."
Godoi will take on Princeton's Jack McBride, the dynamic attackman who notched 34 goals and seven assists.
"They have an amazing attack with Jack McBride," Godoi said. "He's an excellent player, and he will mount a serious challenge to our defense, so that's the starting point."
Godoi made the ECAC second team in 2008 and was elevated to the first team this season. He is a leading All-America candidate and will assume a greater leadership role in 2010.
"Above and beyond everything, he's a tremendous athlete," Cannella said. "He's only been playing lacrosse since high school, so his ceiling is still above him. His potential is far from reached, so he's still going forward."