It wasn’t a great victory that sparked UMass lacrosse last season; rather, it was a crushing loss.
The Minutemen opened the 2018 season with an underwhelming 1-4 record. A 19-8 loss to then-No. 1 Albany left UMass stunned, and captain Isaac Paparo (Westport, Conn.) said the whole team got together and vowed to turn the campaign around.
“Right after that, we met as a team and said, ‘This is our year; we’re not going to let it slip away, we worked too hard for this,’” Paparo said. “We just banded together. … Unfortunately, we had to learn from failure, but failure’s what you make of it.”
Following the loss, the Minutemen rattled off 11 consecutive wins to clinch the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season and tournament titles. Head coach Greg Cannella’s squad stormed into the NCAA tournament, climbing as high as No. 15 in national rankings.