April 29, 2013

Lacrosse To Take On Plymouth State Tuesday In Little East Conference Quarterfinals

BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston men's lacrosse will be making their first postseason appearance since 2008 Tuesday, when the Beacons travel to take on Plymouth State University Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m in the Little East Conference Tournament Quarterfinals.

The Beacons enter the 2013 LEC Tournament as the fifth seed, after finishing the regular season 6-11 and 3-4 in conference play. On the other side, the fourth-seeded Panthers concluded the season 8-4 and 4-3 in LEC action.

UMass Boston will be making their ninth overall appearance in the Little East Conference Tournament and the program has registered a 5-8 overall record in eight prior trips. Lacrosse does boast a tremendous record against Plymouth State in playoff action, winning all four meeting, including a 6-5 win at Plymouth State in 2005, in the team's only meeting in New Hampshire.

This season, Plymouth State downed UMass Boston 15-4 on March 30, in a game played off-campus at the Holderness School. The Panthers jumped out to a 10-3 lead and allowed just one UMB goal in the second half, to hand UMB their fifth consecutive loss.

Third-year head coach Tyler Low has been able to turn things around since then, as UMB finished the season with four wins in their final seven games, including all three of their conference victories.

Offensively, Donny Delpha (Walpole, Mass.) had headed a group of five players who have provided the majority of UMB's scoring this year. Delpha, the reigning Little East Conference Rookie of the Year, leads the Beacons with 28 goals, 21 assists and 49 points and sits amongst the top 10 in the LEC in assists per game (1.31 apg), man-up goals per second (.69 mupg) and points per game (3.06 ppg).

Juniors Thomas Petitti (Quincy, Mass.) and Dom Fichera (Sciutate, Mass.) both have 20+ goals on the year, while sophomores Ryan McGoff (Charlestown, Mass.) and John Powers (Marshfield, Mass.) join Delpha as the only Beacons with 30 or more points on the year.

Senior goaltender and tri-captain Henry Bristol (South Hadley, Mass.) has been one of the top goalies in the conference all season long, leading the LEC with a .608 save percentage and 16.07 saves per game. The second-year player also stands second in the LEC with his 5.57 ground balls per game. For the year, Bristol has compiled a 5-10 record in 15 starts, with 228 saves and a team-high 81 groundballs. Bristol has recorded 15 or more saves in 10 contests, including registering a career-high 27 saves Tuesday afternoon in a 6-5 win over the University of Southern Maine.

Defenseman Andrew Guy (Northbridge, Mass.) and Patrick McGoff (Charlestown, Mass.) have led the UMB defensive corps in front of Bristol. Guy sits second on the team with 44 groundballs and leads the squad with 25 caused turnovers, while McGoff has added 30 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers. The pair have been helped out by defensive midfielders Joe Miller (Hull, Mass.) and Ed McDonald (Waltham, Mass.) who are UMass Boston's top players in clearing the ball out of the defensive zone.

In the faceoff X, Xavier Donaldson (Centerville, Mass.) and Delpha have been the team's top two performers. Donaldson has won a team-high 41 faceoffs and has also registered a team-best .415 winning percentage. While Delpha has been used more sparingly, the sophomore has come up huge recently, with 16 wins in his last 30 faceoffs.

On the other side, UMass Boston will have to deal with the top playmaker in the conference in PSU's Zach Frank. The junior attacker leads the LEC with 32 assists and ranks first in the Little East Conference with his 4.00 points per game. The Wakefield, Massachusetts native is one of five 20-point scorers on the squad, including lead goal-scorer Chris Annunciata (26 goals).

Junior goaltender Jesse Kutz ranks amongst the top five in the Little East in goals against average and save percentage and is 7-3 in 11 appearances this season.

The winner of Tuesday's contest will travel to take on top-seeded Keene State Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. in the Little East Conference Semifinals.