WEST POINT, N.Y. – The University of Massachusetts men’s lacrosse program opened its 2014 season with a 6-5 victory at Army’s Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y., on Saturday. Junior Grant Whiteway and freshman Nick Mariano each recorded a pair of goals to pace the offense while redshirt-sophomore goalie Zach Oliveri made eight saves.
Mariano’s classmates Grant Consoletti and Jeff George added one goal each to round out the goal scorers as four of the six tallies came from first-year players. Senior Connor Mooney added two assists to secure a pair of points while Ryan Izzo and Robert Lynott provided one helper apiece.
John Glesener finished with two goals and one assist to pace Army. Matt Bowman, Will Mazzone and Shea Mullins netted one mark each while Mazzone totaled an assist for two points on the game.
Consoletti and Mariano generated the UMass offense in the first quarter with help from Lynott and Mooney as the Minutemen raced to a 3-0 lead.
Lynott found Consoletti 15 yards out from the front of the Army cage to give the Minutemen their first goal of the season. Consoletti caught the pass and fired a shot by Army goalie Sam Somers on the right side with exactly 10 minutes remaining in the first.
Mariano followed with back-to-back goals as the Minutemen struck in front, 3-0. Mooney dished it to Mariano at the circle for the freshman to drop a shot into the right side to double the UMass lead at the 5:43 mark.
Mariano added his second tally of the day unassisted only one minute, 17 seconds later. He raced around the goal to the right and sent an attempt by Somers into the left side.
Army responded with three consecutive goals in the second quarter to tie the game at 3-3. Glesener tallied the first, followed by Bowman and Mazzone.
George became the third UMass freshman to score with an unassisted shot that slipped just under the crossbar toward the right side of the cage with 3:19 left in second.
Following the halftime break, Izzo and Whiteway teamed up to net a goal in transition for a 5-3 advantage. Izzo scooped up a loose ball near midfield and raced down the right sideline. The redshirt-junior cut toward the goal, drew Army’s close defense and sent the play to Whiteway for him to beat Somers with 9:22 remaining in the third.
Whiteway earned his second of two tallies at the 3:11 mark to secure the eventual game-winning goal. Mooney stood behind the cage and waited for Whiteway to find an open space in front before slotting a pass to the Billerica, Mass., native that Whiteway buried.
The Minuteman defense was able to hold off a late Army charge to secure the win as the Black Knights notched the final two goals of the game to pull within 6-5 of UMass. Glesener netted Army’s fourth goal with just under 12 minutes to go while Mullins followed with 8:44 to play to make it a one-goal game.
However, the UMass defense clamped down the make the 6-5 margin hold strong as the Minutemen used a pair of caused turnovers in the final three minutes of the game to seal with victory.
Austin Spencer knocked the ball away from Tyler Kamide with 2:33 left and Kyle Karaska recovered for the Minutemen. UMass cleared the play, but a deflected shot from George gave possession back to the Black Knights for another chance.
Following the break, Whiteway was trapped behind the Black Knights cage and Army recovered the dropped ball but the home side was unable to generate an attacking run the rest of the way.
Army outshot Massachusetts, 27-20 while the Minutemen secured more groundballs, 23-19. Joe Calvello won six of his 13 faceoffs while he tied with James Fahey for the most groundalls scooped up with three.
The Black Knights committed 11 turnovers to 10 for UMass. The Maroon and White finished 12-for-13 of clears while Army went 10-for-13, through Massachusetts forced three failed clearing attempts from the Black Knights in the second half.
Seven Minutemen made their first appearances with the squad at Army. Consoletti, Madaisky and Mariano started, with Consoletti and Mariano on attack and Madaisky in the midfield. George, Dylan Gruder, Spencer and Paul Spinney also saw the field.
The Minutemen continue their season against Ohio State in the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic, hosted at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 9 p.m.