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2018 Men’s Lacrosse Year in Review: #13 UMass Minutemen

A 1-4 start turned into an 11-game winning streak for the Minutemen.

Thom Kendall - UMass Athletics

With the 2018 college lacrosse season complete and fall ball just around the corner, it’s time to start looking back at how all 71 teams did during the season, as well as what to expect from each squad for 2019. These are not end of season rankings, as some people might think.

We’re almost done looking back to 2018 with plenty of team recaps thus far and continued our series this week with Villanova, Richmond, and Robert Morris.

So with that, let’s continue the recaps!

#13 UMass Minutemen

Conference: CAA
2018 Record: 12-5 (5-0 in CAA play)
Postseason: Defeated Hofstra and Towson to win CAA championship, lost to Yale in NCAA First Round
Head coach: Greg Cannella (24th Year)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Buddy Carr (39)
Assists: Buddy Carr and Chris Connolly (25)
Points: Buddy Carr (64)
Faceoffs: Noah Rak (208-of-351; 59.3%)
Ground balls: Noah Rak (138)
Caused turnovers: Isaac Paparo (25)
Goals against average: Sean Sconone (9.68 GAA)
Save percentage: Sean Sconone (59%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: FOGO Noak Rak (59.3% faceoff draws, 138 GBs, 5 Gs, 5 As), A Buddy Carr (39 Gs, 25 As, 14 GBs), LSM Shane Rinkus (39 GBs, 20 CTs, 4 Gs, 2 As), D Luke Valenza (24 GBs, 15 CTs, 1 G), M Jake Lisauskas (18 Gs, 5 As), SSDM Jake Marino (10 GBs, 10 CTs, 3 Gs, 2 As)
Senior scoring departing: 109 of 327 points (33.3%)
Senior starts lost: 45 of 170 (26.5%)

Season Summary

UMass stood atop the CAA for the first time since 2012 and also arrived back on the college lacrosse scene.

But it didn’t start pretty at all for the Minutemen. They began the season 1-4 with a 12-goal loss to Army West Point in the season opener. After beating Scared Heart, UMass suffered defeats to Harvard, Yale, and Albany. But that’s when their schedule got much easier.

They knocked off wins against NJIT, UMass Lowell, Hartford, and Brown before entering CAA play, where they would finish undefeated in conference play. They had two one-goal wins over Drexel and Delaware, which was also their first two conference games. UMass continued to dominate in the CAA Tournament, finishing off Hofstra and Towson to win the conference championship.

Down one in the second half of their NCAA First Round game to Yale, the Bulldogs exploded in the third quarter with six goals and eventually led by seven early in the fourth quarter. But the Minutemen showed life in the final frame and got within three goals with 6:14 left in the game. But outside a Jake Lisauskas goal with 18 seconds left in the game, Yale closed the door on the UMass offense, ending their season.

A big reason for UMass’ success was the breakout season for senior Buddy Carr. Carr led the team at attack in all scoring categories and had a career-high 64 points. That’s more than his first three seasons combined (56). Carr also had freshman stud Chris Connolly who had 25 goals and assists, as well as sophomore Devin Spencer, who finished with 19 goals. Sophomore Jesse Leung and freshman Clayton Proctor also got notable time as reserves. At midfield, sophomore Jeff Trainor also racked up 50 points thanks to 28 goals and 22 assists and was the highest-scoring midfield at UMass since Tim Soudan in 1990. Lisauskas and freshman Kevin Tobin also started alongside Trainor for most of the season on the first unit. Junior Ben Spencer was the top target on the second midfield with 15 points and was joined by sophomore Charlie O’Brien and redshirt-junior Dom St. Laurent.

The defense was spearheaded by junior Isaac Paparo, who showed that not only he was a defensive weapon with 25 caused turnovers, but he was also very dangerous on transition with five goals and eight assists. Joining him was senior Luc Valenza and sophomore Jackson Suboch. All three of them had at least 10 caused turnovers and 20 ground balls. Freshman Sam Eisenstadt was their fourth defenseman and was used mainly on man-down situations. Senior Shane Rinkus was the primary LSM with a career-best 20 caused turnovers, while sophomore Dan O’Brien and redshirt-junior Mike Elcock backed Rinkus up. Elcock played in 10 games before missing the final seven due to injury while O’Brien saw action in all 17. The shorties consisted of senior Jake Marino and redshirt-sophomore Billy Philpott. While Marino was a big contributor on defense, Philpott was a dominant two-way midfielder, collecting 20 groundballs and causing 11 turnovers, but also scoring 11 goals with an assist. Those 11 goals and 12 points were the most for a midfielder who did’t appear on the first or second lines during a season in Minutemen history. Junior Anthony Reale was the third short-stick midfielder.

Noah Rak finished off his talented UMass career with another personal-best season at the faceoff X, going 59.3% with 138 ground balls and five goals and five assists. Junior Tom Meyers was his backup and went 40.7%. In goal, junior Sean Sconone started the first two games before giving way to freshman Hampton Brannon before returning to the starting role. The junior finished with a 9.68 goals against average and a 59% save percentage.

Looking Ahead

The one year of a really good Buddy Carr is all UMass will get as he and Lisauskas graduate on offense. But Connolly and Spencer have two years with each other and also still include Leung and Proctor, so the unit is still young. Trainor and Tobin are back on the first unit as well as the entire second line. Junior John Tierney was a reserve midfielder as well but could see some more minutes in his final season.

Paparo and Suboch return to the starting defense and could be greeted by Eisenstadt. With Rinkus gone at LSM, Elcock and O’Brien remain as UMass’ two other long stick midfielders and also have talented shorties in Philpott and Reale. At the faceoff X, Meyers looks to have the edge to become the primary FOGO but don’t count out freshman Christian Trahan, despite only taking one draw all year. With Sconone and Brannon back as goalies, the Minutemen definitely have enough to repeat in the CAA.

Here’s who the Minutemen will be adding to their roster for next year.*

UMass’ Unofficial Class of 2018

Player Position High School
Player Position High School
Matt Baugher Attack Greenwich (CT)
Jackson Cummings Attack/Midfield McDonogh (MD)
Scott Del Zotto Attack Taft (CT)
Dominic Elmo Goalie Bishop Watterson (OH)
Jack Geiger Midfield Reading Memorial (MA)
Jack Gump Defense Trinity-Pawling (NY)
Matt Hill Midfield Webster Thomas (NY)
Tim Hoynes Attack Cheshire (CT)
Duke Lenaghan Defense Thayer Academy (MA)
Sean Parker Midfield Hunterdon Central (NJ)
Adam Towey Defense Moses Brown (RI)
Quinn Towne Defense Salisbury (CT)
Christian Trahan Midfield/FO Bishop Guertin (NH)

*Compiled from a multitude of websites. Schools usually officially announce their recruiting class during the fall semester.

Poll

How many wins will UMass get in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0-7
    (2 votes)
  • 17%
    8-9
    (8 votes)
  • 30%
    10-11
    (14 votes)
  • 47%
    12+
    (22 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now