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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

Men’s Lax Go 2-0 in First Week

READY! Like two rams ready to battle, UMB and Norwich players ready for the start of the game. - Photo by Tony Naro
READY! Like two rams ready to battle, UMB and Norwich players ready for the start of the game. – Photo by Tony Naro

Coming off a 6-5 win against Curry College earlier in the week, the UMass men’s lacrosse team faced the Norwich University Cadets. The weather on the field was a bit chilly and the breezes coming off the ocean were enough to make the 75 fans in the stands shake.

The Beacons dominated Norwich for the entire game. Freshman attack player, Christopher Hanafin (#8), opened the first period with a goal two minutes into the start of the game with that was assisted by senior Mike Forns (#3). Minutes later, Freshman Mike Parker (#13) followed up with a great shot into the net which was assisted by Hanafin, making the score 2-0.

Hanafin, however, was not content with one goal and one assist in the first period and scored another goal at 8:24. With 12 seconds left in the period, sophomore middy Jon Marino (#6), assisted by Forns, opened up on the Norwich net and scored the fourth goal of the period for UMass. Sophomore goalie Dan O’Neill (#2) had three saves in the period, warding off any close calls at the net, and shut out Norwich for the first fifteen minutes of play.

Coming back from a quick break between periods, Christopher Hanafin, assisted by fellow rookie Mike Parker, put UMB’s fifth goal into the net 31 seconds after the second period began. Less than two minutes after that goal, Marino, with an assist by Forns, increased the Beacons lead to 6-0.

The Norwich Cadets were finally able to break through the UMass defense and put a shot into the net, making the score 6-1, but that shot would not go unanswered. Hanafin put his fourth goal into the net, his second goal that went unassisted, bringing the Beacon’s up to a 7-1 lead.

The second and third periods brought some of the roughest plays in the game from both teams with four and a half minutes of penalties in the second and three and a half minutes in the third, coming mostly from slashing, pushing, tripping, and unnecessary roughing. After taking a walk on the field when the game was over, however, 12 minutes of total penalties did not seem too bad. In fact, after seeing how torn up the grass was from helmets crashing into the ground and knees and elbows being planted into the mud as players rushed for control of the ball, the amazing thing was that the divots in the turf were not filled with blood.

Freshman Andrew Rowly (#14) on defense took over the job of scoring for the team in the third and fourth periods of the game. Assisted by Mike Forns in both instances, Rowly put two shots into the net, one in the third and one in the fourth to put the Beacons up 9-2. Forns’ two final assists gave him a total of five for the game.

The team played well together and it appears as if the coach’s preseason predictions so far have been right on the money. “We’re actually playing better than I had predicted. Our defense and goalie are playing [as] great as I expected they would and we even got some goals from our defense,” said coach Myles Berry after the game. “Our younger offense played smart and they played well. Mac Burns and Trevor Craven at midfield are also our workhorses, both on defense and offense. We just gotta make sure not to run them down over the season.”

Forns and Hanafin, who were described by the coach as the team’s “go-to guys,” combined for 10 points with 4 goals and 6 assists. Sophomore goalie Dan O’Neill also racked up 14 saves. Overall however, the coach pointed to the true key to the team’s success, “Like I said before the season started, we have a great group of guys with great attitudes.”

The Beacons have a tough lineup next week against Eastern Connecticut State College on Saturday, April 3 at home at 1:00.