May 1, 2009

Courtesy of Massachusetts

#15 UMASS (8-5, 5-1) at RUTGERS (4-10, 2-4)
Saturday, May 2, 2009 • 1 p.m.
Yurcak Field (5,000) • New Brunswick, N.J.
Radio: WRNX 100.9 FM (Josh Maurer & Norm Smith)
Live Video, Audio & Gametracker: UMassAthletics.com

#15 UMass Seeks ECAC Crown, NCAA Berth In Finale At Rutgers
• Heading into its regular-season finale, the #15 UMass lacrosse team holds its fate in its own hands. The Minutemen need a win at Rutgers on Saturday to capture the ECAC Championship, the league's automatic qualifier and a berth to the NCAA Tournament. UMass (8-5 overall) comes into the game at Yurcak Field with a 5-1 ECAC record, one half-game behind 6-1 Loyola. With a win, UMass and Loyola would end tied for first, but UMass would gain the AQ by virtue of it 8-6 win at Loyola on March 21.

• UMass is seeking its fourth ECAC Championship in its final season in the league, before moving to the CAA in 2010. The Minutemen have also captured the league crown in 2001, 2002 and 2005. In 2002 UMass also claimed the league's automatic qualifier. The Minutemen lost the tiebreaker to Georgetown in 2001 and in 2005, the league did not have an AQ.

• With a win, UMass would clinch the automatic qualifier for the ECAC and its 18th NCAA Tournament berth. UMass last made the NCAA's in 2006, when the Minutemen advanced to the title game that year. UMass has made the NCAA's four times in the 2000s (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006).

• UMass comes off a tough 10-3 loss to new No. 1 Syracuse last Saturday McGuirk Stadium in Amherst. The game was played before a school-record lacrosse crowd of 13,722. It broke the UMass record of 12,143 set in 1989, also against Syracuse. Saturday's crowd was the 25th-largest regular-season lacrosse crowd all-time in the NCAA and 19th-largest at an on-campus facility. In 2009, UMass' mark was the seventh-highest as Ohio State set a new regular-season record with 30,192, also on Saturday.

• Saturday's game will be broadcast on 100.9 FM (WRNX) with Josh Maurer and former UMass All-American Norm Smith calling the action. Live streaming audio and stats will also be available on UMassAthletics.com via ScarletKnights.com

Attendance Record Setters
• With its UMass record 13,722 for the Syracuse game on April 25, the school has moved to fifth on the 2009 average attendance leaders. UMass is averaging 2,930 fans per game behind No. 1 Syracuse (6,287), Ohio State (5,762), Navy (5,263) and Johns Hopkins (3,706).

• UMass' 13,722 broke the record of 12,143 set on May 6, 1989, against Syracuse. Most of the biggest crowds for UMass lacrosse have been against the Orange. The second-largest showing was on May 8, 1987 when 9,325 came out for SU at McGuirk. The largest crowd on record at Garber Field (called Boyden Field at the time) was 7,500 for an April 26, 1986 game against Army. That overflow crowd led to some games being moved to McGuirk in 1987.

• Prior to Saturday, the most recent lacrosse game at McGuirk Stadium on May 4, 1997 drew 5,675. The previous game at McGuirk on May 6, 1991 brought in 5,631.

• The largest crowds ever to watch UMass play came in the 2006 NCAA Semifinal and Finals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The 2006 Final Four, where UMass beat Maryland, 8-5, drew 49,562 on May 27. For the final against Virginia, 47,062 came out to watch on Memorial Day May 29.

The Series With Rutgers
• UMass holds a 17-10 lead in the all-time series with UMass. In games played in New Brunswick, the Minutemen lead 7-6, while UMass has won 10 of the 14 games in Amherst.

• Rutgers has won the last two games, each by a goal: 9-8 in 2007 at Rutgers and 7-6 at UMass in 2008. Prior to the recent two-game win streak, UMass won 14 of 15 games from 1987 to 2006.

• This year will be the last meeting for a while as UMass moves to the CAA and Rutgers goes to the new Big East conference in 2010. They have played for the last nine years as members of the ECAC, starting in 2000. The teams played every year for the 18 straight years, from 1977-1994, before a five-year hiatus, re-starting in 2000.

• UMass has won 14 of the last 17 games in the series including 11 in a row from 1987-2002.

The Recent Meetings
• LAST YEAR (May 3, 2008)
: Rutgers freshman Kory Kelly scored the last three goals of the game to rally the Scarlet Knights to a 7-6 win in the men's lacrosse season finale for both teams. Rutgers finished third in the ECAC with a 4-3 conference mark and a 6-7 overall record. The Minutemen close the year at 5-9 overall, 3-4 in the ECAC. UMass' freshman attacker Peter McNichols posted his third career hat trick in the loss. The game was the final college game for six UMass seniors: Fred Federico, Nicholas Glasser, David Von Voigt and senior captains Brian Danvers, Sean Krygier, and Paul Manesis. • LAST GAME AT RUTGERS (May 5, 2007):
No. 20 UMass made a late rally, but dropped a 9-8 decision at Rutgers in the regular-season finale for both teams on May 5, 2007. The Minutemen, who were hopeful of a possible NCAA Tournament berth, finished the regular-season at 7-7, 4-3 in the ECAC. Rutgers closed its campaign at 7-6 overall and also 4-3 in the league. Jim Connolly and Andrew Recchione each scored two goals for the Minutemen. Playing on their Senior Day, Rutgers' graduating class came up big as Matt Gaines scored three goals including the game-winner. Senior Colin Checcio scored two goals as did freshman Justin Pennington. It appeared UMass had tied the game with 18 seconds left as the New Jersey native Recchione scored but a goal that was waved off as it appeared a UMass player was in the crease. The Minutemen made a late rally. Recchione scored off a spin move with 59.9 left to bring UMass back to within 9-8. Brian Jacovina scored with 1:52 left to cut the lead to 9-7 • THREE YEARS AGO (May 6, 2006):
No. 11 UMass made sure its senior class was sent out with the perfect gift, a dominating 10-5 victory over Rutgers in the regular-season finale for both teams on May 6, 2006. Senior captains Jake Deane, Sean Morris and Jack Reid each did their part to aid a complete win for the Minutemen. Deane won 14-of-18 face-offs for an amazing 78 win percentage along with 10 groundballs, the fourth time this season he had 10 or more. Deane also moved to second all-time at UMass in single-season groundballs with 107 to finish the regular-season. Morris posted his 13th career hat trick and added an assist for four points in the win against the team he began his college career with. Morris scored one of the most amazing goals of the season in all of lacrosse in the first quarter. He finished up a run of three UMass goals in 1:24 with a cutting behind-the-back no-look goal to beat Greg Havalchak making the score 4-0. The goal was ESPN SportsCenter's No. 3 Play of the Day and No. 7 Play of the Week. • FOUR YEARS AGO (May 7, 2005):
No. 8 UMass captured its third ECAC Championship with a 13-7 win at Rutgers at Yurcak Field. Sean Morris posted a career-high tying five goals as he had his eighth hat trick of the season as he led the Minutemen past the school where he began his collegiate career. Jeff Zywicki had four goals. Brett Garber had two goals while Brian Jacovina had a goal and an assist. Both teams went with goalies making their first-career starts as UMass' Efosa Guobadia and Rutgers freshman Lyle Farrar both drew the starting nods in the regular-season finale. Guobadia started as senior Bill Schell was out with a hand injury while Rutgers' goalie Greg Havalchak was suspended for a violation of team rules. Guobadia made 14 saves while Farrar had 13 stops. • FIVE YEARS AGO (May 8, 2004):
UMass won, 9-6, on Senior Day at Garber Field in 2004. Sean Morris tallied four points (2g, 2a), and Chris Doyle had a goal and an assist to lead the Minutemen over the 10th ranked Scarlet Knights. Gene Tundo, Brian Jacovina, and Pat Larmon all tallied assists in the victory, as the Minutemen outshot Rutgers 38-25.

5-Time ECAC Defensive POW, Doc Up For Tewaaraton
• Tewaaraton Trophy Final Nominee Doc Schneider has been stellar all season an is a front runner for an All-American honor. Inside Lacrosse named him the No. 1 "Clutch Goalie" in the NCAA with a full-page picture in its May 2009 edition.

• Schneider is No. 1 in the NCAA in save percentage with a 65.8 mark. He is also fifth in goals against average at 7.11. He leads the ECAC in both marks as well. Schneider has been sensational in ECAC play with a 72.4 save percentage mark and a 6.23 goals against average as UMass is 5-1.

• Schneider is third in the NCAA in saves per game with 13.9, making more than 14 saves in eight games. He also allowed six goals or less in seven games with a season-low two against St. John's (4/4).

• Schnedier has earned his ECAC Defensive Player of the Week five times this season. He most recent honor came on April 13 after the 21-save effort at Hobart (4/11). Schneider has also earned the ECAC's top weekly defensive honor four of the previous five weeks, winning it on March 2, 9, 23, 30.

• He picked up his fourth ECAC Defensive Player of the Week honor this week as he was honored after 15 saves in the 9-8 win over Penn State (3/28). Schneider racked up 12 saves in the pivotal second half.

• After his huge game at Loyola on March 21, Schneider was named the LaxNews College Beat National Player of the Week on March 22. He was also named the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. Schneider was sensational in Saturday's 8-6 UMass win at #12 Loyola with a season-high 17 saves. Schneider made 11 saves in the second half as the Greyhounds peppered him all game. Schneider allowed just six goals, the fourth time this season he has allowed six goals or less in a game.

• He currently stands in second on the UMass all-time saves list with 721 only trailing great Sal LoCascio who recorded an unworldly 931 stops which is the most in NCAA history. He passed Don Goldstein (622) for second all-time with 17 saves at Loyola (3/21) and moved by Tom LoPresti (562) for third with eight saves at Hofstra (2/21). He became the third goalie in UMass history with 600 career saves and just the second with 700 stops.

Well-Rounded Offense
• The Minutemen have had well balanced scoring all season as 15 different players have scored goals. In all 14 games last season, UMass had 13 goal scorers.

• Senior Jim Connolly leads the charge with 32 goals, 2.46 per game, which leads the ECAC and is 13th in the NCAA. Connolly has scored goals in every game this season. He leads UMass with 37 points, for 2.85 points per game, third in the ECAC and 47th in the NCAA. Connolly has points in 21 games in a row which he has played. Connolly has 11 multi-goal games this season most recently with two against #3 Syracuse (4/25).

• Tim Balise had his 19-game scoring streak against Syracuse (4/25). Balise had a hot streak with three hat tricks in a row from March 28-April 11. Balise extended his point-scoring streak to 19 games with two tallies vs. Georgetown (4/18) and at Fairfield (4/21). He is second on the team with 25 goals and 30 points. Balise is 42nd in goals per game (1.92). Balise has 14 goals in the last six games including five points on four goals and an assist vs. St. John's (4/4).

• Seniors Balise and Connolly are forming an impressive duo at attack. They have combined for 57 of the Minutemen's 125 goals (46 percent).

• Balise is also second in the ECAC with a team-best seven man-up goals.

• Both Balise and Connolly tallied hat tricks in the wins over Penn State (3/28) and St. John's (4/4). Balise has four hat tricks this season and 10 in his career, most recently at Hobart (4/11) while Connolly now has 11 hat tricks overall, four in 2009.

• Freshman Art Kell has goals in nine of the last 11 games. He scored at Fairfield (4/21) after he scored for the eighth consecutive game against Hobart (4/11) after picking up his first multi-goal game vs. St. John's (4/4). Kell scored single goals in six games in a row after being held scoreless in his first two collegiate contests. Overall, Kell is the highest scoring freshman with 13 points on 10 goals and three assists.

• Junior Bobby Hayes has points in 10 of 13 games this season after a career-high tying four-point game at Fairfield (4/21) with two goals and two assists. Hayes has eight multi-point games this season. He stands seventh in the ECAC with a team-best 13 assists (1.0 per game). He is third on the team with 23 points on eight goals and a team-high 13 assists.

• Senior Evan Blum is up to fourth on the team with 19 points on 13 goals, third on team, and six assists. He had his first-career hat trick at Fairfield (4/21). Blum has six multi-point games this season and four multi-goal games after none in his career. Blum tallied a pair on Senior Day against Georgetown. He also had two against Sacred Heart (2/14) and Hofstra (2/21).

• Rory Pedrick scored two goals at Fairfield (4/21) and has points in nine of the 12 games he has played this season. Overall, he has 16 points on 11 goals and five assists. He had two goals in the first two games of the season against Sacred Heart (2/14) and Hofstra (2/21).

Defense's Shuts Down Top Guns
• Backstopped by senior goalie Doc Schneider UMass' defense has been stellar at shutting down some of the top scorers in the NCAA. Along with Schneider, the close defense featuring senior Brennan Mack and junior All-ECAC performer Diogo Godoi have done a great job against some of the top attackmen. They have been joined by sophomore Travis Tripucka and freshman Greg Anderson on the backline.

• UMass is sixth in the NCAA in fewest goals allowed, giving up just 7.62 per game. The Minutemen have allowed less than 10 goals in nine games and less than seven in eight games, most recently in a 12-6 win at Fairfield (4/21).

• UMass also has seven stretches of holding opponents scoreless for more than 20 minutes with a season-long 29:01 at Loyola (3/21). They did it twice at Harvard (3/7) with marks of 22:15 and 21:54.

• Against four of the nation's top 25 point scorers #5 Andrew Feinberg of Brown (3.86 PPG), #7 Corey Small of Albany (3.6 PPG), #15 Shane Koppens of Loyola (3.4 PPG), #25 Jeff Cohen of Harvard (3.2). UMass has allowed just four points (one goal and three assists) -- a goal and assist for Small as well as assists by Cohen and Feinberg -- for a group that averages more than 14 points total.

• Against Loyola (3/21), Godoi kept Greyhound attacker Shane Koppens pointless, after he came into the game scoring 4.4 points per game. Koppens was limited to just one shot on goal. Also in that game, Mack kept Loyola's Collin Finnerty to just one goal on a broken clear.

• Most recently, Godoi shutdown Georgetown's top scorer Craig Dowd, holding him to just one assist. Dowd came into the game averaging 2.4 points per game.

• Also notable, Mack, kept Brown's Andrew Feinberg, their top scorer, without a goal in the UMass win on March 14. Feinberg is currently fifth in the NCAA in points per game (3.86) including just a single assist against UMass. Feinberg, who is seventh in goals per game (2.7) was blanked by UMass.

• Against Albany, UMass limited the Great Danes' Corey Small to just a goal and assist. For the year, he is seventh in the NCAA with 3.6 points per game.

• The Minutemen also kept Harvard's Greg Cohen without a goal in the win on March 7. Cohen averages 2.6 goals per game, ninth in the NCAA

Man Down Defense Dominant
• The Minutemen are ranked fourth in the NCAA in man-down defense, allowing just nine goals on 47 chances for its opponents (80.9). UMass has not given up a man-up goal in its last two games as Syracuse was 0-of-2. The Orange came into the game first in the NCAA in man-up, scoring 48 percent of the time. UMass did not allow a goal in five chances at Fairfield (4/21). In seven games this season, UMass has not allowed a man-down goal.

• Last year, UMass' man down defense was also fifth in the country (.806).

Big Winners Over Last 8 Years
• UMass has established itself as one of the top programs in the nation. Since 2001, UMass has the seventh-most wins of any program in college lacrosse with 90 victories.

• The Minutemen have the ninth-best mark among all teams in the NCAA since 2001 with an 90-45 record for a 66.7 win percentage mark. That includes five seasons with 12 or more wins including a school record 13 wins in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. The Minutemen were second on the list coming into the 2007 season.

Lucky Number 11
• UMass has won 43 games in a row when scoring 11 or more goals after its 12-6 wins over Fairfield (4/21) and St. John's (4/4) along with a 18-6 win over Yale (2/28). Last season, UMass had one game with more than 11 games, a 13-8 win at St. John's. The Minutemen had four wins in 2007 with 11 goals or more, beating Harvard (11-10), Sacred Heart (11-4), St. John's (11-7) and Hobart (17-12). The streak goes back over the last seven years -- meaning the last four senior classes have never lost when scoring 11 or more goals. UMass' last loss when they had more than 11 came in the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals, a 13-12 loss at Johns Hopkins.

• UMass is 32-1 in its last 33 games when scoring double-figures with a 4-1 mark this year. UMass had won 29 games in a row when scoring 10 or more goals, but that streak was snapped with a 11-10 loss to Hofstra on Feb. 21. The Minutemen were 29-0 when scoring 10 or more goals over the last six years. Prior to the loss at Hofstra, the last loss when scoring 10 goals came on May 1, 2004, a 17-10 loss at Syracuse.

UMass To Join CAA In 2010
• The Colonial Athletic Association announced back in June that it will add UMass and Penn State as associate members in the sport of men's lacrosse. beginning with the 2010 season. UMass and Penn State join the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University and Towson University to form a competitive six-team conference whose champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.

• A realignment of men's lacrosse conferences nationally - spurred by the Big East Conference and Northeast Conference's new sponsorship of the sport - led to the changes in CAA membership. Current members Sacred Heart and Robert Morris will move to the NEC. and Villanova will move to the Big East following the 2009 campaign.

Godoi Preseason All-ECAC Team
• UMass men's lacrosse redshirt junior defender Diogo Godoi has been named to the preseason All-ECAC team. Godoi had the strongest season of his career in 2007 when he scooped up 27 ground balls while causing a team-leading 17 turnovers. He played in all 14 games, starting 12 of them.