#17 UMass Lacrosse Opens at Sacred Heart (with Video)

Coming off the program's 18th NCAA Tournament appearance, the UMass men's lacrosse team opens the 2010 season at Sacred Heart on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. The game is the fourth overall contest in all of Division I men's college lacrosse this season and the earliest regular-season game in UMass lacrosse history.

#17 UMass (0-0) at Sacred Heart (0-0)
Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 • 3 p.m.
Campus Field •Fairfield, Conn.
Radio: WMUA (91.1 FM)
Live Video, Audio & Gametracker: UMassAthletics.com

• The Minutemen are ranked 17th overall in both the USILA Coaches' Preseason Poll and the Inside Lacrosse Preseason Media Poll. Last season, the Minutemen finished 9-6 overall and captured the ECAC Championship with a 6-1 league record. UMass fell to Princeton in the NCAA Tournament First Round, 10-7, in New Jersey.

• Head coach Greg Cannella enters his 16th season as head coach at his alma mater. Overall, the 1988 UMass grad has a 131-84 career record, winning more than 61 percent of the games he has coached. He ranks among the Top 15 among active coaches in the NCAA in career wins and win percentage.

• The Minutemen are beginning play in a new league in 2010, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). UMass made the move to the league after a national shuffle caused by the formation of the Big East Conference in lacrosse. The Minutemen joined the CAA along with former ECAC member Penn State and will compete in a six-team league along with longtime CAA members Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra and Towson.

• Coming into 2010, UMass will have plenty of new faces in key positions. The Minutemen graduated All-Conference players including ECAC Goalie of the Year and Second-Team All-American Doc Schneider (7.43 GAA and 65.3 Save Pct.) along with its two leading scorers in Tim Balise (31 goals, 5 assists for 36 points) and Jim Connolly (39-5=44). Also, graduated were the fourth and fifth leading scorers in Evan Blum (14-8-22) and Rory Pedrick (12-6=18).

• Overall, UMass returns just 41 goals of its 143 goals from last season, just 28.7 percent. The leading returning scorer is senior captain midfielder Bobby Hayes (12-14=26), who led the team in assists in 2009. Fellow senior captain attackman Ryan Smith is expected to pick up some of the load in his first season as a starter. Sophomore Art Kell was the top rookie scorer a year ago with 11 goals and three assists and will be back to start on attack.

• The goalie position will have a new face for the first time in four years as Schneider graduated as one of the all-time greats in UMass history. He finished second in career saves with 753 and is now serving as an assistant coach with the Minutemen. Redshirt sophomore Tim McCormack and freshman Steve Mahle have been competing for the starting role in preseason camp. McCormack redshirted last season to retain three years of eligibility while Mahle was starring at West Genesse High School in upstate New York.

• An area with experience heading into 2010 is the close defense, as UMass returns 2009 All-American and 2010 Preseason All-American Diogo Godoi as a senior captain. Godoi will team with returning sophomore Greg Anderson and junior Travis Tripucka. That duo shared starting duties last season along side Godoi and graduated Brennan Mack. Sophomore Tom Celentani is also in the mix for extended playing time on close defense. Junior long-pole Casey Rahn and junior short-stick Stephen Zorkers will also be key to the defense's success.

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