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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #54 UMass Lowell River Hawks

The River Hawks came up one game short of reaching the America East Tournament for the second straight season.

Bob Ellis

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#54 UMass Lowell River Hawks

Conference: America East
2019 Record: 5-9 (2-4 in America East)
Head coach: Ed Stephenson (5th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Jake Lining (19)
Assists: Daniel Cozzi (30)
Points: Cory Highfield (38)
Faceoffs: Liam McDonough (184-of-304; 60.5%)
Ground balls: Liam McDonough (109)
Caused turnovers: Eric Flynn (25)
Goals against average: Grant Lardieri (11.90 GAA)
Save percentage: Grant Lardieri (51.1%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: M Cory Highfield (18 Gs, 20 As, 14 GBs), G Grant Lardieri (11.90 GAA, 51.1% SV %, 18 GBs), LSM Ryder Lessing (12 CTs, 24 GBs, 1 A), SSDM Blaine McMahon (6 CTs, 19 GBs, 1 A), A Ryan Morrison (7 Gs, 2 GBs, 2 CTs), SSDM Clifford Kurker (2 CTs, 6 GBs, 1 G)
Senior scoring departing: 51 of 228 points (22.4%)
Senior starts lost: 28 of 140 (20%)

Season Summary

It wasn’t the 8-8 season the River Hawks had in 2018, but UMass Lowell did have a good season under Ed Stephenson.

After splitting their first two games against Quinnipiac (a win) and Holy Cross (a loss), UMass Lowell carried a 15-11 lead with 8:52 left in regulation against Siena. But the Saints came back and scored the final five goals, including the overtime winner, to stun the River Hawks. They won their next two games against Dartmouth and Manhattan to go 3-2, but the season wasn’t that pretty the rest of the way. They lost four straight against UMass, Albany, Providence, and gave up a third quarter lead to St. John’s before halting the losing skid with their first ever win over Vermont thanks to a 22-save performance from Grant Lardieri.

After losses to Hartford and Stony Brook, the River Hawks got a huge overtime victory over UMBC to keep their America East Tournament hopes alive. All they needed to do was beat 1-11 Binghamton and have UMBC take care of Hartford the next day, which they did. But the Bearcats took a 9-4 lead with 6:18 to go in regulation and held on for a 9-7 win. UMass Lowell’s season was over.

It was not that big of a surprise to see a small slip from the River Hawks after their fourth year of play, as it happens to nearly everyone. UMass Lowell did rank second in the nation in man-up offense at 50%, only behind Penn State. Cory Highfield and Daniel Cozzi each registered over 35 points, with Cozzi’s 2.70 assists per game ranking eighth in the NCAA, and Jake Lining and Domenic Giachello reached above 25 points.

Freshman Eric Flynn made a huge impact with a team-best 25 caused turnovers, nearly more than double that of junior Cam Hult’s 13 on the year. Grant Lardieri led the America East with 14.20 saves per game and started nearly the entire season after original starter Hunter Braun went down with an injury after the Quinnipiac game. And along with Flynn, fellow classmate Liam McDonough was big at the faceoff X, leading the America East with a 60.5% faceoff win percentage and 109 ground balls, which set a single-season school record.

Looking Ahead

Highfield, Ryder Lessing, Blaine McMahon, and William Russo are the more notable losses. And so is Lardieri, but with Braun coming back as the starting goalie, it’s not as big of a loss as it may be. In his 2018 freshman campaign, Braun recorded a 57.3% save percentage and a 10.50 goals against average. Having him back in goal will help the defense that returns Flynn, Hult,Tyler Ward, Jack Tepper, and Cameron Richard as poles.

Seven of UMass Lowell’s eight double-digit scorers will also be back, led by Cozzi and Lining. Isaac Bot, Dylan Rhatigan, and Brandon Beland all scored at least 10 points in 2019. Also look for Harry Morrill and maybe Bryce Holak to get more time.

With Albany not the Albany they’ve been for most of the past decade, the America East is wide open. UMBC won the conference tournament last season. That could have been UMass Lowell. And there’s no doubt the River Hawks could have a chance at winning it in 2020.


How many wins will UMass Lowell get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (2 votes)
  • 20%
    (12 votes)
  • 35%
    (21 votes)
  • 40%
    (24 votes)
59 votes total Vote Now