How much is the Will Manny injury affecting UMass? The Minutemen came out of the gate winning three straight; the biggest early season win was the game versus North Carolina in Atlanta. The Minutemen then stumbled with loses to Brown in OT, then to Albany and Bucknell on the road. They got big early season contributions from Matt Whippen, but he has cooled off as of late, while Grant Whiteway and Andrew Sokol have been consistent producers at attack. They are winning at the face-off X and Zach Oliveri has done a good job in net so far. Hopefully they can get it together for conference play, so that when Manny comes back or decides to come back they can make a late season push.
I know that all of the talk has been about Providence and Quinnipiac being undefeated in this early season. As of yesterday, only Providence is undefeated after defeating Quinnipiac 13-12. What about Bryant being 0-5? They were considered a pre-season favorite in the NEC and yet they haven’t won a game yet this season. The Bulldogs lost their first game of the season in OT to Colgate, and then they lost three close games, before being handled by Drexel. For a team with such high pre-season expectations I hope they can turn it around.
Back to Providence; I love that they have turned things around so quickly under new coach Chris Gabrielli. Sometimes a team just needs a new look or a new vision to change the culture. It is definitely great to have another New England team doing well. I hope they can keep this going through Big East play.
In Division 3 we had the Babson Beavers start out well, winning their first three games before falling to Union. The Beavers defeated Skidmore, New England College (the favorite in the NAC) and then a tough Eastern Connecticut squad. It will be nice if the Beavers can keep this up as they head into a tough out of conference stretch. This stretch includes Colorado College and four NESCAC opponents before they get into Pilgrim League play.
Also, is New England lacrosse a step down from other parts of the country? The reason I ask is that Stevens crushed three good teams and conference favorites early this season. The Ducks started out by defeating Endicott (the CCC) 21-9, then Eastern Connecticut (Little East) 16-8, and then Springfield (Pilgrim League) 16-8. Then we saw Western New England lose to Stevenson 9-5. Besides the NESCAC on the national stage, is New England Division 3 lacrosse below everyone else??