UMass Thumps Army to Start Season Strong
from staff reports
AMHERST, Mass. — Junior Matt Whippen produced five goals and an assist while sophomore Andrew Sokol added a trio of tallies and helpers as UMass, ranked No. 13 in the preseason by Lacrosse Magazine, opened its 2013 season with a 16-9 drubbing of Army at Garber Field on Sunday afternoon. Whippen entered competition against the Black Knights without a collegiate goal or assist while Sokol secured a single-game personal best with his six points.
Senior attack Kyle Smith recorded a goal and three assists for a four-point performance while classmate Bobby Tyler helped on four marks. Freshman Dan Muller chipped in a pair of goals and an assist and Connor Mooney recorded two tallies. Making his first start and appearance with the Minutemen, redshirt-freshman goalie Zachary Oliveri made seven saves over 58:02 in net.
UMass and Army exchanged goals over the first quarter, resulting in a 4-4 tie after 15 minutes. The Black Knights got into the scoring column only six seconds into the contest as John Glesener found the back of the net following the game-opening faceoff. The Minutemen answered with Muller's first collegiate goal on an assist from Sokol, with each marking the first collegiate point for Muller and Sokol.
The trend of Minutemen totaling their first points continued as Whippen fired home an attempt at the 9:58 mark to push UMass into the lead for the first time at 2-1. After Connor Cook and Glesener responded back-to-back to put the Black Knights back in the lead, 3-2, sophomore Sean Cleary totaled his first goal of the season with 3:51 remaining in the quarter to knot the contest at 3-3, with Tyler credited an assist for setting up the play.
Sokol added his second goal of the game only 58 seconds later, with Kyle Smith finding the sophomore attack during UMass' first man-up situation of the day. However, the lead would only hold until Glesener found Pat Brennan for Army's fourth mark of the game with 1:50 to play in the first. The Minutemen dominated the second quarter en route to a 7-5 halftime advantage. Three consecutive goals gave UMass a 7-4 edge, with Whippen's second tally of the day capping the run with 3:47 remaining. Muller ran directly at the goal and fired a low shot at Army goalie Sam Somer's feet, with the ball trickling into the net for the 5-4 lead. Somers was pulled from the net, with Bobby Sincero tapped to take over for the Black Knights following the play.
However, the goalie swap didn't prevent Sokol from netting his second of the day as he used a shot from the right side of the goal to put UMass in front, 6-4. Tyler fed Sokol to give the Minutemen their first two-goal advantage of the day at the 5:35 mark, with Tyler notching his second assist of the contest in the process.
After Garrett Thul, the nation's active leader in goals, capped scoring in the first half with 43 seconds remaining in the stanza, the Minutemen reeled off the first four goals of the third quarter to turn the contest into a rout.
Whippen netted the hat trick on a pass from Kyle Smith before Mooney notched his first tally of the season on Tyler's third helper of the day. Sokol followed with his third assist as K.R. Jurgelevich found the back of the net with 12:10 to play in the quarter. Tyler added a fourth helper 2:44 later as senior attack Will Manny got on the scoreboard with his first mark of the day and the 94th of his UMass career for the 11-5 lead.
After the Black Knights added a pair of goals to pull within 11-7, Whippen and Sokol matched Army with a tally each to push the lead back to six, 13-7, before Alex Newsome put one in the back of the net for the Black Knights with 2:33 remaining in the third.
For his fifth mark, Whippen sprinted at the goalmouth from in front and fired a point-blank shot by Sincero with 13:36 to play before Mooney added his second tally on an assist from Kyle Smith to put UMass up, 15-8.
Alex Van Krevel totaled the final Army goal with 10:11 to play in the contest before the UMass defense, led by senior Jake Smith, locked down to keep the Black Knights out of the scoring column for the remainder of play.
Kyle Smith closed scoring with an acrobatic diving goal across the crease, firing over Sincero's left shoulder for the 16-9 lead after Whippen found Smith on the left side of the net.
UMass outshot Army, 47-30, including a 27-16 margin in on-target attempts. The Minutemen caused 17 Army turnovers while only committing 12 and won 15-of-28 faceoffs as junior Joe Calvello was victorious in 14 of the 27 he took. Junior James Fahey won the only faceoff he took while Alex Daly led the Black Knights with a 9-for-18 clip. UMass was flagged with seven penalties totaling four minutes while Army was called for eight spanning six minutes.
The Minutemen continue their 2013 campaign against North Carolina in a neutral site game at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m.