No. 1 UMass Faces No. 9 Colgate In NCAA First Round
Tewaaraton finalists Will Manny of UMass and Peter Baum of Colgate highlight the NCAA First Round match-up as the sixth-seeded and No. 1 ranked Minutemen host the No. 9 Raiders on Saturday afternoon at Garber Field. The first-ever meeting between the two teams comes in the 2012 postseason and is a match-up of the CAA Champion Minutemen vs. the Patriot League Champion Raiders. The winner will face either Duke or Syracuse in the NCAA Quarterfinals held at PPL Park in Philadelphia next Sunday, May 20 at either 12 or 2:30 PM.
UMass is making its 19th trip to the big dance this season - the 9th most tournament trips in NCAA history. 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. Saturday will also mark the first time since 2005 that UMass has hosted an NCAA Tournament Game (W vs. Syracuse, 16-15) with the Minutemen going 4-2 all-time at home.
Paced by its high-flying attackmen, the game is a match-up of two of the top offensive units in the country. Colgate ranks 2nd nationally in scoring offense at just 0.5 goals more per game than UMass which ranks third. The Minutemen hold the edge in defense, however, as the No. 3 unit in the country allowing just 6.8 goals per game, while the Raiders rank 32nd at 9.75 goals per contest. Special teams will play a pivotal role in the game as UMass boasts the No. 4 ranks man-down unit killing off just under 77 percent of opponents EMO's, while the Raiders are 41st at a 60 percent clip.
Saturday's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with a free internet stream available through ESPN3. The game will also be broadcast in Western Mass on 91.1 FM WMUA.
Last Time Out: 18-12 Win Vs. Drexel - CAA Championship
An 18-for-26 effort on faceoffs along with two goals and two assists earned Anthony Toresco MVP honors, but more importantly, his individual efforts sparked No. 1 UMass to the CAA Championship Title for the first time since the Minutemen joined the league three years ago as the Minutemen defeated Drexel 18-12. Toresco's dominating performance in the second and third quarters as UMass outscored the Dragons 11-5 in that span. Kyle Smith had a career day posting four goals and four assists, while Will Manny had 3 goals and Art Kell had two goals and three assists. In all, 10 different Minutemen scored goals as UMass won its program record 15th game of the year.
Up Next: NCAA Quarterfinals - Duke/Syracuse
A win on Saturday would advance UMass to the NCAA Quarterfinals where the Minutemen would face either Duke or Syracuse. The Blue Devils earned the No. 3 seed, while Syracuse earned an automatic bid with its first-ever Big East Championship Title. If UMass were to face Duke, it would be the first meeting since 1999. A meeting against the Orange would renew a formerly long-standing rivalry which was last played in 2009.
Minutemen Earn No. 1 Ranking
UMass enters the NCAA 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 seven points ahead of Loyola and captured 8-of-9 first place votes in the coaches poll. In the media poll, UMass was also 7 points ahead of Loyola and held 14-of-18 first place votes. UMass is ranked No. 1 in the country for the second straight week and for the third time in the last four weeks.
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 Named Finalist For Tewaaraton
Will Manny was named one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award which is given annually to college lacrosse's top individual player. Manny joins Colgate attackman Peter Baum, Duke midfielder C.J. Costabile, Loyola attackman Mike Sawyer, and Virginia attack Steele Stanwick. The group will be invited to the 12th annual Tewaaraton Award Ceremony on May 31 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. Manny is just the second Minuteman in program history to be named one of the five finalist. Sean Morris was a two-time finalist in 2005 and 2006.
Minutemen & The Big Dance
Saturday will mark the 19th time UMass has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament with the Minutemen holding a 9-18 overall mark. It is the first time since 2005 that UMass has hosted an NCAA Tournament game with the Minutemen going 4-2 at Garber Field in those games.
In Greg Cannella's 18 seasons as head coach at UMass, the Minutemen have made the NCAA Tournament eight times including three appearances in the Quarterfinals and the program's remarkable 2006 run to the NCAA Championship Game as an unseeded team.
Since the turn of the Millenium, UMass has reached the NCAA Tournament in six of those 12 years.
Win Streak One Of NCAA's Best
UMass' 15-game win streak entering the NCAA Tournament will go down as one of the best runs in NCAA history. The run currently is tied as the 13th longest consecutive win streak in college lacrosse history. Tied for 11th at 17 consecutive games is Johns Hopkins (3/5/05-2/25/06) and Virginia (2/17/06-5/29/06). The all-time leader for consecutive wins is Cornell which won 42 straight games from March 20, 1976 through May 20, 1978.
Only 13 teams have put together undefeated seasons in NCAA History. The last was Virginia in 2006 and Johns Hopkins in 2005.
15 Wins Marks New UMass Record
The wins over Towson and Drexel in the CAA Championship Tournament marked yet another milestone for the 2012 Minutemen. Not only did the program win its first-ever CAA Tournament Championship, but the 15 wins marked a new program record for wins in a season. The previous mark had been 13 which UMass had done on four occassions - most recently in 2005 and 2006.
The 15 wins this season is also tied for the 15th most in NCAA history. A win on Saturday would move UMass up to a tie for sixth. The all-time NCAA record for wins in a season is 18 which was accomplished by Duke in 2008.
1st Undefeated Regular-Season Since 1969
UMass' 13-0 regular-season marked just the second time in program history that UMass had gone undefeated prior to post-season play. The only other time was in 1969 under head coach Dick Garber whose squad was a perfect 10-0.
No Banana's For Garber's Gorillas
Garber Field has proven to be one of the toughest home field advantages in all of college lacosse. Set within the UMass tree-lined campus and adjacent to the history Curry Hicks Cage (home to Julius Erving, Rick Pitino and Al Skinner), the Minutemen have posted a 71-19 record at Garber over the last 11 years highlighted by this season's 8-0 home field record. That marks the first time since 2005 that UMass has gone unbeaten at home (8-0 including 2 wins vs. Syracuse).
UMass has been a scoring machine at home this season posting 115 goals (average of 14.4/game) while allowing just 50 goals (average of 6.3/game). On the road, that changes to 81 goals for UMass (11.6) and 52 for opponents (7.4).
Garber Field is named for legendary head coach Dick Garber who is the program's all-time winningest coach with a 300-141-3 record. He also coached current UMass bench boss Greg Cannella who played under Garber from 1986-87.
Big Winners For Last 11 Years
UMass has established itself as one of the top programs in the nation. Since 2001, UMass sits just behind Cornell with the seventh-most wins of any program in college lacrosse with 124 victories.
The Minutemen have the seventh-best win mark among all teams in the NCAA since 2001 with a 124-57 record for a 68.5 win percentage mark. That includes six seasons with 12 or more wins including a school record 15 wins this season. The Minutemen were second on the list coming into the 2007 season.
Virginia and Duke lead the way in most wins (147), while the Cavaliers and Johns Hopkins hold the highest percentage (.760).
Offensive Trio Only Group At 50 Points IN NCAA
UMass boasts one of the top scoring offenses in the country, but its key trade mark is a balance among the trio of Will Manny, Art Kell and Kyle Smith. Manny leads the group with a team-high 75 points, but Kell and Smith each have 50 points. UMass is the only team in the country to have three players with 50+ plus points in the scoring column.
The 175 combined points from the trio account for 53.8 percent of UMass' total 325 points. The trio also holds 106 of UMass' 196 goals scored which is 54.1 percent.
Lock Down Defense
An experienced and talented trio of long poles anchored by fifth-year senior Tim McCormack has turned in one of the best defensive season's in program history. UMass has allowed double-figure scoring just twice all season (Hofstra, 13 goals; Drexel, 12 goals) while forcing opponents into more turnovers than the Minutemen in 11-of-15 games.
Of the top 25 point producers in the country, UMass has faced 8 of them holding six in the group to two points or fewer in games against the Minutemen. Bucknell's Billy Eisenrich posted six points on 3 goals and 3 assists in the Bison's 12-9 loss to UMass, while Joe Resetarits had 3 goals and 1 assist in Albany's loss to the Minutemen.
Special Teams Making An Impact
UMass has been paced by strong special teams play throughout the 2012 season. With the man-up advantage, the Minutemen are converting at a 39.7 percent clip which ranks 19th in the NCAA. The man-down unit has been doing phenomenal work over the last six games allowing opponents to convert just 5-of-41 (12.2%) extra-man opportunities. For the season, UMass ranks 4th in the NCAA in man-down defense at 76.9 percent (60-of-78 killed).
The Minutemen have unfortunately put the man-down unit to the test over the last four games taking over five penalties in each including 10 in both the Towson and Drexel games in the CAA Tournament. Prior to that stretch, UMass had taken over five penalties in a game just twice.
UMass has produced a man-up goal in every game this season except two. Against Drexel in the CAA Championship Game, UMass was 4-for-7 on the EMO.
Kyle Smith, Art Kell and Colin Fleming are tied for the team lead in man-up goals with 6 each. Will Many is just behind with five for the season.
Lucky Numbers 10, 11, 13
UMass has won 81 of its last 82 games when scoring 13 goals (98.8 win percentage), with three wins last season -- all on the road: 16-9 at Saint Joseph's (4/2), 14-6 at Providence (3/15) and 14-10 at Hartford (2/19). UMass was 3-1 in 2010 year when tallying 13 or more.
When scoring 11 goals or more, UMass has won 67 of its last 69 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 59-3 in its last 62 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.).
Manny Being Manny
The CAA Player of the Year, Will Manny has been in the midst of an incredible season in 2012. Manny leads UMass with 75 points on 43 goals and 31 assists. He ranks 3rd nationally in points per game (5.0) and sixth nationally in both goals (2.87) and assists (2.13) per game. His goal production is nearly twice his previous season best which was 27 goals during his freshman campaign in 2010. He also has eight more assists than his previous season-best total which was 23 as a sophomore in 2011.
For his career, he has 16 hat tricks and 39 multi-point games. In 2012, he has 7 hat tricks and 15 multi-point games. He set new career-highs for goals (7 vs. Army), assists (5 vs. St. Joe's & Drexel) and points (9 vs. Army) in a game this year as well.
Manny's 165 career points ranks 11th all-time at UMass after he surpassed Kevin O'Connor who posted 163 from 1967-69. His 75 points this season is tied for 13th all-time at UMass with Jim McAleavey who did so in 1989. He needs one point for the 12th-best single season point total in program history and six to reach Mark Millon whose 81 points in 1993 ranks 11th. Five more points would tie Manny with Brendan Glass who had 170 career points from 1994-97.
On his current pace, Manny is projected to finish his UMass career as the program's fourth all-time leading scorer. Mark Millon currently holds that position with 213 career points (155 goals, 58 assists) from 1990-93. Jeff Spooner holds the all-time career points record with 275 (134 goals, 141 assists) from 1974-77.
Art-Ful Around The Crease
Just behind Manny is senior Art Kell who has 90 career goals and 51 career assists for 141 points. Kell is having his best season to date with 30 goals and 20 assists for 50 points in 2012. Kell has 14 hat tricks, 29 multi-goal games and 32 multi-point games in 53 games played (all starts).
Kell had a slow start to 2012 with just 1 goal and 3 assists in the first three games of the season. A three goal, two assists at Brown rekindled his scoring touch and the native of Westford, Mass., has had points in every game but one since then. In 11 of 15 games this year, Kell has posted mult-goal efforts including six hat tricks. He scored a season-high four goals in the win over Harvard.
Smith's Breakout Leads To UMass Success
One of the scoring suprises for UMass this year has been the development of Kyle Smith who hails from Longmeadow, Mass. - just about 20 minutes south of UMass. Smith's 33 goals and 17 assists put him tied with Art Kell's 50 points for second-best on the team. As a sophomore in 2011, Smith tallied 11 goals and 3 assists which was his previous season best total.
Smith became known for his dramatic flair as a sophomore when he tallied back-to-back game-winning overtime goals in 2011 against Towson and Drexel. He has since added four more to his game-winning tally and now has seven for his career.
His most complete effort, however, came in the CAA Championship Game against Drexel where he posted four goals and four assists for a career-best eight points.
McCormack Standing Tall Between The Pipes
Perhaps one of UMass' most unhearalded stars is fifth-year senior goalie Tim McCormack. The native of Long Beach, N.Y., has put together one of his finest campaigns with a 6.68 goals against average and a .615 save percentage total through 15 games. His GAA is nearly a full two goals fewer than his previous best of 8.34 set as a junior, while his save percentage is up from 54.8 percent in 2011. He also has a career-high 155 saves while allowing a career-low 97 goals - 29 fewer than in 2011.
McCormack has learned the position from one of UMass' all-time greats in Doc Scheider. Schneider was a Tewaaraton candidate and All-American in his career between the pipes for the Minutemen (2006-09). McCormack backed up Schneider in 2008 before redshirting the 2009 season. He took over as the full-time starter in 2010.
For his career, McCormack has played in 46 career games with an 8.38 goals against average and a .559 save percentage in just over 2,604 minutes in cage.
His 461 career saves ranks 9th all-time at UMass and is just 12 shy of Chris Campolettano's 473 set from 1997-01. His 33 wins are one shy of tying Schneider's career record of 34-27.
Poles Led By Celentani
One of the top close defensemen in the CAA and in UMass history, Tom Celentani has made his mark over the last three seasons. As one of a veteran trio of long poles this year, the native of Levittown, N.Y., has 28 groundballs and 22 caused turnovers this season - both approaching season-best totals for his career.
In four years, the 6-foot-4 defenseman has 93 career groundballs and 70 caused turnovers. He is closing in on three seasons with 30+ groundballs and has hit 20+ caused turnovers in each of the last three years.
It All Starts On The Faceoff
One of the great strengths of UMass this season is on the faceoff where the Minutemen rank sixth nationally with a 58.9 percent win rate. The leader of the faceoff specialists is Anthony Toresco who ranks 7th nationally winning 125-of-202 (61.9%) faceoffs.
The faceoff specialists group is comprised of Toresco, Greg Rushing and Joe Calvello. Rushing second on the team winning 43-of-70 faceoffs, but primarily plays on the wing when Toresco is at the dot.
Toresco's best performance of the season was his 18-of-26 faceoff effort along with a career-high 12 groundballs in the win over Drexel in the CAA Championship Game. He also finished the game with two goals and two assists coming from faceoff wins including one just six seconds into the start of the second half.
Rushing To The Groundball
A gritty defensive midfielder and faceoff specialists, Greg Rushing adds a spark to the UMass line-up with hard hits and the ability to gain possession on loose balls. Rushing ranks second on UMass with 67 groundballs but leads the active players with 218 for his career. At 61.4 percent on faceoff wins this season, Rushing is also just over 55 percent at the dot for his career.
The quick footed native of Colorardo has a knack for big defensive players highlighted this season by his stick check and ground ball pick-up in the final 25 seconds against Hofstra securing a 14-13 win for UMass.
The Legacy Of Overtime
The Minutemen were heart-stoppers over the last month of the 2011 season winning back-to-back overtime games in April as sophomore Kyle Smith scored two OT winners for the Minutemen. Then, Anthony Biscardi netted the game-winner in the CAA Semifinals to send UMass to the CAA Championship game vs. Delaware.
Smith scored in triple overtime as the Minutemen rallied to beat Drexel (4/16), 11-10. UMass scored the final five goals of the game and held the Dragons off the board for the final 26:28. Will Manny had a hand in all five goals, scoring three -- including the game-tier to send it to overtime.
Smith scored the game-winner at Towson, 1:55 into overtime, giving UMass a 9-8 win over the Tigers.
UMass has won nine of its last 10 games that have gone to overtime, winning every one since a 9-8 double-overtime loss to Yale (4/17/04) except a 10-9 loss to Albany (3/13/07). Penn State has been the most victimized team falling three times in that time span to UMass in overtime.
Smith continued the history of UMass legacy players scoring overtime winners. Of UMass' last eight overtime wins, five goals have been scored by players with family connections to UMass.
- The most memorable was that 2006 NCAA Quarterfinal win over Hofstra as Jim Connolly -- who's father Steve Connolly was a captain of the 1969 UMass undefeated team -- scored the game-winner off a pass from Brett Garber, the son of former UMass coach Ted Garber and grandson of Dick Garber -- the former UMass coach, who was the first to win 300 games as a college lacrosse coach.
- In 2007, Brett Garber scored the overtime winner to beat Penn State, 6-5 on March 30, at Garber Field, his grandfather's field.
- In 2009, Connolly scored the game-winner to beat Hobart, 7-6 at Geneva.
- Last season, Kyle Smith, son of former UMass All-American in the late 1970s Norm Smith, has scored two game-winners in overtime to beat Towson and Drexel.
UMass played and won back-to-back overtime games -- the April 9-16 games -- for the first time since April 22-25, 1992 when UMass beat Harvard (7-6) and Rutgers (9-8).
The three-overtime win over Drexel was UMass' longest game since a five-overtime win over Cornell on March 30, 1988. That game equalled the longest in UMass history. UMass beat Cortland in 5OTs in 1974.
Will Manny & Anthony Biscardi Named 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.