After topping Delaware, 16-8, in Friday night’s regular season finale at Garber Field, the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team is now anxiously awaiting its fate with its season hanging in the balance on Saturday night.
The Minutemen (7-7, 2-4 Colonial Athletic Association) need Penn State to win at Hofstra and Towson to beat Saint Joseph’s on the Tigers’ Senior Night in order to clinch the fourth and final CAA Tournament spot. Both games are on at 7 p.m. and both scenarios are very realistic.
The Nittany Lions are undefeated in CAA play and can win the conference regular-season title outright with a win over the Pride, whom UMass beat, 9-8, last weekend.
The Hawks’ only win in conference play this season came against the Minutemen at home, giving them the tie-breaker if they defeat Towson on Saturday night. However, the Tigers haven’t lost a home game in conference play this season, while Saint Joseph’s has stumbled to four-straight losses down the stretch.
While UMass should like its postseason chances, senior attack Will Manny can’t bear waiting to find out if his career is still intact.
“I’ll be watching,” Manny said. “It’s at (7 p.m. on Saturday) so it’s kind of annoying we have to wait the whole entire day, but we did what we needed to do. “
Fellow senior Kyle Smith, who lives with Manny, doesn’t plan on joining his teammate in watching the games. In fact, he doesn’t plan on watching at all.
“Probably not,” Smith said, “because you just get too pissed off when one team scores. But I’ll probably follow it every quarter.”
UMass coach Greg Cannella said after Friday’s win that he plans on taking a trip to Hofstra on Saturday with assistant coaches Doc Schneider and Brian Jacovina to do some scouting — the Minutemen would play Penn State on Wednesday in the CAA semifinal if things go their way — as well as hope for a positive result.
When asked if being at Saturday’s game will be as nerve-wracking as it gets, Cannella said, “I guess. When you do what you do and you go watch a game, it’s actually fun to watch other people play. But we are scouting (Penn State).”
While the players and coaches may have different approaches to Saturday’s games, they all share one hope: to get in the CAA Tournament and keep the season going for at least a few more days.
“You wanna play. It’s the playoffs, it’s a new season if you make it past (Saturday) and get some help (Saturday). We did what we needed to do (Friday). It’s what you live for, to keep on going.”