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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Unlucky Bounces Story of Lacrosse Season

The UMass Boston Lacrosse team saw their season come to an end on April 29 when they fell to Western Connecticut State, 14-6, in the Little East Conference Tournament Quarterfinals. Western Connecticut State would go on to become the 2008 Little East Conference Men’s Lacrosse Champions. The Beacons finished the season with a record of 4-11 and a “wait until next year” mentality.

This year’s team was a young team that will only be graduating two seniors, Nick Thomo and Jim Costello. With a majority of the core players returning next season, the Beacons aim to grow as a team and keep learning as they go. Like any good captain, junior defenseman Matt Dunn remained optimistic all season long. He looks forward to seeing what the team can do next season and is already planning to participate in summer leagues and fall ball during the off-season.

“We started this year without a lot of college experience on the team, but we’ve got massive potential,” Dunn said. “I think we’ll have a really strong 2009 campaign.”

Looking back at the strides made during the 2008 campaign, there were several bright spots and several stand-out players. Sophomore goalkeeper Aaron Pollock stepped in for his team when they needed him most and had an MVP-caliber season. He hadn’t played in net since high school, but you wouldn’t know that by watching him play and looking at his statistics.

Pollock finished the season first in the Little East Conference in saves per game (14.33), fifth in save percentage (.606) and tenth in goals against average (9.66 over 15 games). Pollock’s unbelievable twenty-six-save effort against Keene State College on April 5 was the most saves in a single game all season in LEC play. Head Coach Matt Rowley has nothing but high praise for Pollock’s play this season.

“Aaron leads my list in terms of bright spots this season,” said Rowley. “He is the MVP of the season and I think that his teammates would agree.”

Another Beacon on the top of Rowley’s list is junior defenseman Patrick McDonagh, a first-year player. By season’s end, he was considered to be one of the top defensemen on the team. “[He’s] an amazing story. He hadn’t picked up a lacrosse stick until two days before our first game!” Rowley said. “He deserves recognition as far as being most improved.”

Some other top performers include freshmen Jared Kinch, who finished the season ranked eighth in assists per game with 1.20 and was named Rookie of the Week for the week of April 21-27, and John Canty who received the honor of Rookie of the Week a conference-high three times. Additionally, sophomore attack Johnny Ruiz was named LEC Player of the Week for the week of March 24-30.

Rowley admits to feeling comfortable with his goalkeeper and defensive players, but is still actively recruiting for next year. “We’re looking to grow, and more people will step up,” noted Rowley. “We just need to add depth.”

When asked about being ousted from the playoffs by the eventual conference winners, Western Connecticut State, Rowley took a moment to reflect. His response was one that could accurately sum up the entire season for the Beacons. “I guess it’s a moral victory to some degree, but at the same time we need to not be satisfied with moral victories.”

But perhaps it was Matt Dunn who best described the 2008 UMass Lacrosse season. “If we got a few more bounces here and there it could have changed the entire season.”