Bianchin, Karaska Featured on Preseason All-CAA Team

Senior close defenseman, junior midfielder two of 12 chosen

RICHMOND, Va. University of Massachusetts men’s lacrosse senior close defenseman Kyle Karaska and junior midfielder Gianni Bianchin were tabbed to the 2016 Preseason All-CAA Team, as announced by the conference office Monday afternoon. Bianchin and Karaska were two of only 12 chosen to the squad.

Karaska was a NEILA All-New England First Team and All-CAA First Team selection as a junior in 2015. He led all Minutemen with 18 caused turnovers and provided the most groundballs among the close defense unit with 25. Karaska had multiple groundballs in eight games and two or more caused turnover during five contests while he tallied the second-most caused turnovers among close defensemen in the CAA.

Bianchin was a leader in the midfield with 28 points. He converted five of his goals during man-up situations, which tied him with Peter Lindley for the most among Minutemen. Bianchin’s points total ranked as the third-most on the squad while he p[laced tied for ninth in the CAA in assists per game (0.93) and was tied for seventh during CAA play in points per game (2.00) and assists per game (0.80).

The Minutemen were picked fifth in the league in the preseason poll, which is voted upon by the CAA’s head coaches. Towson took first, followed by Hofstra and Fairfield. Drexel was placed directly ahead of the Maroon and White while Delaware took sixth.

Massachusetts opens the regular season, its 22nd under head coach Greg Cannella, with a Sat., Feb. 13 game at Army West Point at 11 a.m. The Minutemen host their first foe at newly-renovated Garber Field when Ohio State comes to Amherst for a Sat., Feb. 20 game at Noon.