A late second period surge elevated No. 7 UMass (3-0) over No. 9 Navy (3-1) in the home-opener ECAC match at Garber Field (Amherst, MA) in a 10-9 down-to-the-wire turf battle. The conference game was marked by expensive, yet exciting fourth quarter turnovers on the crease, and Navy's 0/4 failure to convert on EMO (UMass 1/1) was offset by UMass' 37 to Navy's 27 SOGs. Sean Morris (Marshfield, MA) led UMass' arsenal with 3 goals, while Navy soldiered on relying on Senior Greg Conklin's 5-point (4g, 1a) output and Freshman big man Dingman's (Carthage, NY) crease rollin' for a hat trick.
The No. 9 Shipmen looked to be a significant threat to the No. 7 Minutemen entering the 08 March 2003 contest. Navy cruised over No. 19 Ohio State 13-10 and cleaned up the then No. 9 Tar Heels in a quadruple OT 9-8 win. The UNC contest was more a brand-wise win over a team who historically has been a threat franchise. In 2003, The Tar Heels have lost to Notre Dame (8-10) and won over Bucknell (13-3).
UMass moved up the rankings with a 17-7 decision over Stony Brook. Weaker opponents for UMass and momentum for Navy, forced the issue of reasonable doubt in the case of a clear, cut UMASS win. However, UMass has the edge with a 2002 13-10 win over Navy and the home turf advantage.
UMass entering the contest was No. 3 in Team Offense in the nation averaging 15 goals/game while Navy's Team Defense ranked No. 8 in the country allowing for only 6.3 goals/game.
The 2003 game results suggest otherwise. UMass pressed with a full field defense that resulted in Navy Goalie Seth DiNola's (Balston Lake, NY) 16/25 on the clears. The Shipmen defense lagged on the slides in the the second and third quarter resulting in five unanswered goals. Offensively, Navy was able to successfully deploy their largest, bruising cruiser Freshman Ian Dingman on the crease roll. Dingman was able to score through the triple team.
UMass: (Attack) Sophomore Gene Tundo (Orchard Park, NY), Senior Kevin Leveille (Albany Academy, NY), Junior Kevin Glenz (Lynbrook, NY). (Midfield) Junior Jeff Zywicki (Sir Robert Borden, Ontario), Senior Chris Fiore (Freeport, NY), Freshman Jake Deane (Suffield Academy, MD). (Defense) Sophomore Matt Garcia (Lakeland, NY), Senior Tom Fallon (Shaker Heights, OH), Junior Chris Gervat (Northport, NY).
Navy: (Attack) Junior Ben Bailey (Memphis University School, TN), Senior Eddy Holton (Charminade, NY), Junior Joe Bossi (Skaneateles, NY), (Midfield) Senior Kelly Nash (Broadneck, MD), Sophomore Graham Gill (Shawnee, NJ), Senior Greg Conklin ( West Genesee, NY), (Defense) Sophomore Pat Reilley (West Genesee, NY), Senior Chris Stebbings (Calvert Hall, PA), Sophomore Mike Felber (McQuaid Jesuit, NY).
At the top of the first quarter, Minuteman Junior Jeff Zywicki faced-off against senior Chris Dingman (Carthange, NY). The Shipmen gained possession and controlled the tempo for more than two minutes by pulling out wide and settling the ball. Navy Sophomore Graham Gill found the back of the net first at 12:46 as he took it to the goal on a strongside crease roll from behind. Gill dumped it over past UMass’ Bill Schell’s right shoulder elevating The Shipmen (1-0). UMass took control of the face-off and worked the ball to Gene Tundo and Jeff Zywicki behind. The Minutemen tried to mix it up with several failed challenges from behind and up top. Navy’s slides were well timed and the defensive adjustments made UMass’ assignment even more difficult, but the possession paid off. Shimpmen Sophomore Defender Karl Hassenfratz (Orchard Park, NY) was called for slashing at 7:06. UMass capitalized on the EMO. Sophomore Gene Tundo leveled the playing field with a shot that hit top right corner (1-1). Off the 1-4-1 attack with Tundo behind and Fiore up top, the attack worked the ball up top to Zywicki who then found Tundo sunbathing on the crease. Navy rebounded with possession of the faceoff. Senior Tom Fallon was called for slashing at 5:31, but Navy was unable to redeem their opportunity. UMass defense did an excellent job recovering and had stepped it up. The quarter ended with each team a goal a piece.
The Red Bull kicked in the second quarter as both teams combined for a 9-point output (5g UMass, 4g Navy). UMass took the face-off at the whistle by was unable to convert. Tundo dished off to his crease comrade who then shot wide. Navy Coach Richie Meade called for a needed time out at 13:02. Navy came out strong with a goal in less than 20 seconds. Conklin drove from left to right from behind drew the defense and found Freshman Jon Birsner’s (MacArthur, NY) stick exposed two strides outside the crease on the goalie’s weakside. Birsner hit the exposed net in the top right corner (2-1) at 12:41. Navy gained possession at the whistle. The sideline advisors called for the ball to Dingman, as was usually the case. Dingman scored his first goal of the game at 10:17 (3-1). It became painfully evident to the double/triple team marking Dingman in the hole that what he lacked in speed, he had in mass. He’s like a Mac truck in the lowest gear going down hill. He drove from rightside up top with his defender goal side and found the bottom left corner with a heavy, lefty shot. UMass snagged the face-off and worked the ball down strong side. The offense seamed a little off beat and had several shots on goal. The Minutemen took several low percentage shots and Fiore missed an open cage. Leave it to the Freshman Sean Morris to show some of the veterans how to step up. Morris took his shorty, rolled off the pick and shot lefty and hit the cage bottom left corner (2-3) at 7:58. The excitement was short-lived as Navy rebounded with the face-off and transitioned into 1-4-1. The offense kept looking to setup Dingman for the ISO, but then the 2-2-2 offense collapsed in closer moving the ball more with speed and purpose. Conklin rolled the weakside of the crease and took the goalie who got screened by the defender between his legs (4-2) at 5:37. UMass took the face-off but turned over the goal with a wide shot on goal. Dingman fired in his second goal of the game as he took his patented crease move, mowed down his defender, and tacked the top left corner (5-2) at 4:03. The Minutemen took the face-off and worked the ball around in motion. Sean Morris completed a well executed series for his second goal of the game. Fiore charged from up top, the Navy defender stepped off too early and left Morris playing solitaire on the crease. Fiore dished off an underhand pass to Morris who got the quick release pegging the top right corner (3-5) at 3:05. Less than 10 sec from the last goal and with possession, UMass Coach Cannella called for a timeout at 2:57. 20 seconds after the TO, The Minutemen charged and never looked back tallying three unanswered goals. Sophomore Chris Doyle found Junior Neil Lundberg open on the inside left. Lundberg’s right laser hit lower right corner (4-5) at 2:34. Senior Chris Fiore tied up the game and gave UMass the lead with his back-to-back goals. Fiore came charging into the box weakside and launched the long range ballistics with a shot that hit lower right corner (5-5) at 1:54. With 11 seconds left to the quarter, Fiore nailed the same shot, lower right corner, giving UMass their first lead of the game (6-5) and issuing a difficult challenge to Navy in the second half.
UMass didn’t waste any time extending their lead at the top of the third quarter. The Minutemen got possession of the face-off and in the first minute got a goal from Zywicki, off-pace, old-school, over the shoulder dump got past DiNola along the right post (7-5) at 14:37. Nearly ten minutes would go bye before either team would score. UMass and Navy traded possession and seemed unsettled defensively on both ends. The Shipmen couldn’t work the middie invert and had more turnovers on the offensive end. Navy called a timeout at 4:51. Eleven seconds later Conklin scored off an assist from Sophomore Ben Horn (6-7) at 4:40. UMass responded with possession and brought the ball down to their offensive end. Coach Cannella barked out at ball handler Sean Morris to go hard to goal. Morris charged from the top of the box and hit opposite side net (8-6) at 3:01. UMass held onto the ball after a Navy missed clear and Sophomore Ryan Connolly hit Chris Doyle opposite side at the top of the box. Doyle’s righty crank hit lower right corner (9-6) at 1:48. The third quarter was punctuated with a crease roll through the triple from Shaquille Dingman (7-9) with 11 seconds in the quarter.
The first ten minutes of the last quarter were quiet with neither team finding the back of the net. The first goal of the quarter was melodramatic to say the least. UMass keeper Bill Schell came up huge with a great save, on the clear Navy’s Conklin marked the goalie. Conklin stuffed the clear, which then hit the pipe and ricocheted in and out of the goal. Not pretty, but effective (8-9) at 6:38. Conklin had the equalizer at 5:59. Birsner dumped the backhanded feed to Conklin who was open and goal side of his defender and then made for the easy lower right corner shot (9-9). The deciding goal was ultimately decided by Hammurabi’s code, a goal for a goal, right? Navy keeper DiNola came up with the huge save and left his stick exposed outside of the crease while picking up the rebound. Zywicki came up with the check and got off the quick release shot that hit the net high at 2:46 (10-9). UMass called the timeout at 1:24. Possession traded sticks and the ball was down on the Navy offensive end with five seconds left, but by that time it was too late.
Final score UMass 10, Navy 9.
UMass travels to Providence next weekend to face Brown, 15 March 2003. Navy returns home to go head-to-head with Rutgers, 15 March 2003.
|Chris Fiore||(2, 1)|
|Sean Morris||(3, 0)|
|Jeff Zywicki||(2, 1)|
|Chris Doyle||(1, 1)|
|Ryan Connolly||(0, 1)|
|Gene Tundo||(1, 0)|
|Neil Lundberg||(1, 0)|
|Bill Schell||9 (0.474)|