Minutemen close strong to come back from early deficit for first win of the year
AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts men’s lacrosse made its first game on newly refurbished Garber Field a memorable one as the Minutemen fought back from an early deficit for a 16-9 victory over No. 11 Ohio State Saturday afternoon. Buddy Carr paved the way on offense with a career-best five points through four goals and one assist.
Peter Lindley (three goals, one assist) and Gianni Bianchin (three goals) also recorded hat tricks against the Buckeye defense while Grant Consoletti produced three points via a goal and two assists.
Tyler Bogart, Jake Lisauskas, Dan Muller, Noah Rak and Ben Spencer rounded out the UMass scorers while Bogart and Spencer collected an assist apiece for multi-point efforts. Jake Marino and D.J. Smith helped out on a goal each as well.
“I think last week some people were tentative going out there playing,” head coach Greg Cannella said reflecting upon the difference between the loss at Army versus the win over Ohio State. “Army is a good team and Ohio State is a very good team as well. Our guys came out with more energy, practiced hard this week and prepared the right way. You get the feeling during the week whether you will be good early or not. You do not know what the result will be, but we had a feeling our guys would play well.”
Bob Fahey and Kevin Porzelt combined for four caused turnovers with two apiece, while Porzelt led the Minutemen in groundballs with a personal best of seven. Short-stick defensive midfielder Dylan Gruder scooped up five groundballs and caused a turnover while Lindley added four groundballs from his spot on attack.
Smith supported the close defense’s efforts between the pipes in the first half with three saves. Dan Dolan rotated into the lineup for the third and fourth quarters and earned four stops.
Rak drew the majority of the faceoff opportunities and went 8-for-18 in the process with four groundballs. Tom Meyers added a 3-for-4 performance at the X while Charlie Schatz finished 1-of-3.
John Kelly led Ohio State with five points on four goals and an assist. Eric Fannell scored twice as the only additional multi-point performer among the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes led 4-2 after one quarter, but Massachusetts scored four consecutive goals, including two from Bianchin, to push ahead 6-4 midway through the second.
After Bianchin posted his goals in back-to-back fashion, Spencer beat the shot clock timer with a close range shot as the 30-second clock expired to send the Minutemen into the lead at 5-4, their first since the opening score of the game.
Kelly and Fannell converted on consecutive attempts to bring play back to even at 6-6 with three minutes, 29 seconds to go in the half, but UMass responded late for a slim lead at the break.
With the game clock winding down and UMass controlling in its offensive zone, Consoletti found Muller open toward the right of the cage for a quick strike by Muller than pushed the Minutemen in front, 7-6, after two quarters.
Kelly fed Colin Chell a game-tying play less than four minutes into the third quarter, but the 7-7 game only lasted 31 seconds before Carr scored man-up for his second tally of the game. On the ensuing faceoff, Rak scooped up a loose ball, raced toward the Ohio State cage and beat Tom Carey with a quick shot to push the advantage back to two goals.
The Buckeyes earned a high percentage opportunity to get one goal back with more than nine minutes to go in the frame when Gruder was called for a one-minute violation, but Porzelt produced a timely caused turnover and groundball 24 seconds later to give possession back to the Minutemen.
“Those guys were disappointed with their output at halftime,” Cannella said of the defense’s play in the first two quarters. “(Assistant coach) Craig McDonald does a great job preparing them each week. We have four seniors between Kyle (Karaska), Bob (Fahey), Kevin (Porzelt) and Kurt (Hunziker) out there, so there is a tremendous amount of leadership on that side of the ball. They take it personal. They come out and play as hard as they can. D.J. (Smith) and Dan (Dolan) are doing a great job making saves for us too and hopefully that continues.”
Lisauskas and Lindley capped the run with consecutive conversions at the 7:26 and 5:16 marks of play, respectively, in the third quarter.
Fannell snapped the streak and brought OSU back within three of tying late in the third, but Lindley answered with the first strike in the final quarter. Kelly closed the Buckeyes to within three yet again; however, the Maroon and White struck for four more goals, including two from Carr, to seal the outcome.
For more information on the Minutemen, follow the squad on Twitter via @UMassMLacrosse. The Maroon and White return to Garber Field for their next contest, a Sat., Feb. 27 game against No. 17 Harvard (1-0) at 3 p.m.