UAlbany Men’s Lacrosse Uses First Half Shutout to Dominate UMass in 16-4 Road Win
AMHERST, Mass. – The UAlbany men’s lacrosse team continued its winning ways with a dominant road victory, defeating UMass 16-4 off a shutout first half on Tuesday afternoon.
UAlbany (3-1) shut out UMass (2-4) in the first half to start the game on an 8-0 run, including six goals in the second quarter. The Great Danes never trailed again by more than six, using a 6-0 run into the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
“Two games in a row where my goaltender is the spark of the team, and our defense played outstanding,” said UAlbany head coach Scott Marr. “Once we started rolling in the second quarter, things started to click for us.”
With the victory, the Great Danes have won their last three games. UAlbany’s shutout first half was the first since holding UMass Lowell to no goals in the second half on March 28, 2015.
Blaze Riorden had another strong day in the cage with 14 saves on 16 shots on goal. Trevor Cross finished the game with the final five minutes in the cage and one save. James Burdette helped lock down on close defense with two caused turnovers and three ground balls.
“We knew if we could shut down their system, we could be successful, and we were communicating well,” said Riorden. “The defense is giving up shots that I should save, and today an overall great team effort.”
On the offensive end, Connor Fields led with three goals and three assists, passing the 100-point mark in his career to stand at 105. Justin Reh earned two goals and three assists while John Maloney had two points and six ground balls. 11 different Great Danes scored at least one goal.
“We just got the guys open on the wing and buried our shots,” said Reh. “Everything was just clicking and we were finishing our opportunities.”
After the defense defended against four UMass shots, UAlbany cleared to offense. On a second chance, Reh quickly fed Fields for the low shot and score for his 100th point.
Each side traded possessions as Riorden saved shots one way and the UMass defense forced turnovers the other way. After the back and forth play, Fields passed between two defenders to Jake Cullen, who run forward and scored close range. UAlbany took a 2-0 lead into the second quarter.
UAlbany again held on defense to begin the second, with Riorden saved a high-to-low shot to protect while man-down, then again on a quick UMass transition attack. The other way, Kevin McNally took the ball, made a roll dodge to shake his defender near the cage and scored point blank to make it 3-0. Riorden saved two more shots on a UMass possession.
The next four UAlbany chances all resulted in goals: Cullen buried his second on a rocket near side, Derrick Eccles rocketed one inside the right post less than a minute later and Bennett Drake finished a man-up possession by pushing a deflected shot in front of the circle into the goal. Adam Osika added the next one, running and pushing against a defender and shooting over his foe’s shoulder for the score, giving UAlbany a 7-0 lead with 4:51 left in the 2nd.
The defense continued to hold off UMass, double teaming shooters approaching the goal circle, leading to high shots and saves. UAlbany added one more goal, a needle-thread pass from Fields to a running Lasda for the catch and shoot, for the eventual 8-0 UAlbany lead at the break.
UMass broke the drought immediately into the second half as Brendan Hegarty got the pass off the faceoff and scored on a hard shot, with Peter Lindley adding another one in transition with a turn and shot for a score.
Seth Oakes ended the run a couple of minutes later with a close shot over the keeper’s shoulder. Next possession, Oakes passed to Reh coming from behind the cage. Reh turned while running and notched a goal in the top corner to restore the lead to eight at 10-2 in the closing minutes of the 3rd. UAlbany held the rest of the period to hold that advantage.
Into the 4th, UAlbany won the opening faceoff, and two minutes later, Reh ran into a double team and shot low for the score, drawing a crosscheck at the time. That led to UAlbany scoring quickly on the next faceoff, Connor Russell to Maloney to Fields for the quick fake and score inside the right post for a 12-2 UAlbany lead.
UAlbany elongated the possessions and kept control. Fields added a ground ball shot from his left while falling, then Maloney got the pass in front of the goal circle for the spin and score. The Great Danes added two more goals, a Drake man-up goal from Fields and a score under the crossbar from Sean Eccles. UMass scored twice late as UAlbany earned the 16-4 victory.
UAlbany will have some time off until its next game when the Great Danes take on 2015 NCAA finalist Maryland at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16th.