UMass Men’s Lacrosse Drops Season-Opener At No. 16 Army West Point
Black Knights scoring run seals Massachusetts loss at Michie Stadium
WEST POINT, N.Y. – University of Massachusetts men’s lacrosse dropped an 18-6 game at No. 16/16 Army West Point’s Michie Stadium in the season-opener for both sides on Saturday afternoon. Noah Rak finished the game with a pair of goals alongside a 12-of-19 day with eight groundballs at the faceoff X. Chris Connolly also had a pair of points in his collegiate debut via two assists.
In addition to Rak, Massachusetts picked up a goal each by Jesse Leung, Isaac Paparo, Devin Spencer and Jeff Trainor. Paparo added four groundballs and three caused turnovers to his ledger at close defense. Sean Sconone started in goal and made 14 saves against 15 goals allowed. Hampton Brannon relieved Sconone in the final three minutes and made one save.
Spencer provided Massachusetts with its first goal of the season only 62 seconds into play. Following a faceoff, Rak sent the ball to Connolly, who fed Spencer near the left post for the conversation. Trainor added his first of the year on a shot at the right post, but the Minutemen trailed 4-2 at the break as four different Black Knights scored in the frame.
Army pushed its lead to 11-2 with a seven-goal run spanning the length of the second quarter as the Massachusetts offense stalled. The Black Knights continued to spread the offense as five players notched goals in turning the close battle to an 11-4 Army lead.
Rak broke the scoreless streak at the six-minute, 38-second mark of the third when he claimed a faceoff, rushed through the Army defense and potted a shot. Leung added a tally just over two minutes later, but the Minutemen were unable to pull closer than within seven the remainder of the day.
The Minutemen were dominant at the faceoff X as Tom Meyers added a 4-of-6 showing with three groundballs as Meyers and Rak combined for 16 victories in 25 total faceoffs.
Massachusetts also collected a 26-21 edge in groundballs but were hampered by 13 turnovers. Shots favored the Black Knights, 43-28.
The game marked the first collegiate appearances for five Minutemen, including Brannon, Joe Casucci, Connolly, Sam Eisenstadt and Kevin Tobin. It was also sophomore close defenseman and High Point transfer Logan Danenza’s first contest played with the program.
It was the eighth consecutive season Massachusetts opened with a game against Army. Including 2018, the series is 4-4 in that span.
Massachusetts continues its season with the first home game of the 2018 campaign when Sacred Heart travels to Garber Field for a 3 p.m. tilt with the Minutemen on Tues., Feb. 13.
Stags Stopped by Vermont in 2018 Season Opener
Rodrigues nets two goals to lead the Fairfield attack
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield University Men’s Lacrosse opened the 2018 campaign this afternoon on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium, dropping a 12-5 decision to visiting Vermont. Joe Rodrigues netted two goals to pace five Stags that registered points on the day.
Fairfield falls to 0-1 with the loss, and Vermont improves to 3-0 on the season after sweeping a southern road trip last weekend at Furman and Mercer.
Joining Rodrigues in the scoring column were Travis Ford, Drew Murray and Spencer Noonan with one goal apiece, while Dylan Beckwith handed out an assist.
The visiting Catamounts came out firing at Rafferty Stadium, netting the contest’s first eight goals. Noonan ended the drought for the Stags with his first career goal. The senior defenseman corralled a ground ball off of a faceoff and went coast-to-coast for the marker less than two minutes before the half. The tally was also Fairfield’s first man-down goal since Colin McLinden converted while the Stags were shorthanded in a win at UMass on April 4, 2015.
After a quick Vermont tally to start the third quarter, Fairfield put together back-to-back goals for the first time, starting with Murray finishing a pass from Beckwith to cut the deficit to 9-2. Less than 70 seconds later, the Stags struck again as Rodrigues – a Second Team All-CAA selection last spring – rattled the cage for the first time to make it a 9-3 contest with 12:15 remaining in the third.
Neither team would score until the final stanza, when Vermont converted off of the opening draw to extend the margin back to 10-3. Once again, it was Rodrigues who offered the rebuttal as he withstood a push from behind to finish off his second goal of the day. However, the Catamounts responded with back-to-back markers to thwart the potential for a Fairfield run.
In the closing minutes of action, Ford – who hit the post and the crossbar on consecutive shots earlier in the game – found the back of the cage for the first time in 2018 to round out the final score at 12-5.
Will Fox handled the duties at the faceoff ‘X’, starting his senior campaign with a 14-for-21 showing with a team-leading seven groundballs. Beckwith and Adam Riestis each added three ground balls in the midfield.
Sean McKee and Sam Gindhart split the effort in the cage for the Stags, both making their collegiate debut today on Conway Field. McKee made three saves in the opening half of action and Gindhart turned away six shots after the intermission.
Vermont was led by three goals and two assists from All-America attackman Ian MacKay, who was the 2016 America East Offensive Player of the Year but missed all of 2017 due to injury. Ben French also netted a hat trick for the Catamounts. Nick Washuta made 13 saves over the first 54:33 of action to earn the win in goal, with Ryan Cornell stopping three shots to close out the day in relief.
The Stags now begin a two-game road swing next Saturday, Feb. 17, with a noon visit to Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia. After a trip to Rutgers the following Saturday, the Stags start a six-game homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 27 against in-state foe Hartford.