Goalie Sean Sconone shining in second stint for UMass men’s lacrosse

  • Since returning to action last month, UMass men’s lacrosse goalie Sean Sconone has been a much better goalie. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • Since returning to action last month, UMass men’s lacrosse goalie Sean Sconone has been a much better goalie. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • Since returning to action last month, UMass men’s lacrosse goalie Sean Sconone has been a much better goalie. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 5/1/2018 8:57:46 PM

AMHERST — When junior goalie Sean Sconone ran onto the field 6 minutes, 7 seconds into the second quarter of the UMass men’s lacrosse team’s game with Delaware on April 6, the Minutemen were down 4-1 and coach Greg Cannella was looking for something to spark his team.

Sconone entered the season as the starter, but struggled out of the gate. He started the first four games and then split time with freshman Hampton Brannon over the next three. Cannella turned to Brannon full time for the next three games and while the Minutemen were winning, they were struggling to keep good teams from putting up big scoring numbers.

When Brannon struggled early against Delaware, Sconone took the field for the first time in almost a month. He was a different goalie than he’d been before. He made 12 saves and allowed four goals in his 35:53 of relief in the Minutemen’s come-from-behind 9-8 win.

Before the benching, Sconone had made 46 saves while allowing 50 goals, a save percentage of 47.9. Since his return, he’s stopped 55 shots while allowing 17 goals (76.4 percent).

There’s no magic to why. No contact lenses or change in facemask. He simply came back more confident and sharper.

“He’s making saves. That’s the big difference. He’s more confident. He’s carrying himself a little different with more confidence,” Cannella said. “We all get second chances at life. You make sure that second chance counts. He’s shown a lot to us, and more than us, his teammates.”

He’s not dwelling on the why. Sconone is just trying to stay in his groove as the Minutemen get ready to host Hofstra in the CAA Tournament, Thursday at 5 p.m. at Garber Field.

“I don’t think about that. We’ve come a long way since week one. From Army to now, we’re a completely different team. From the defense, the faceoff, the goalie and on offense, the team is playing better. We’re just riding with that,” he said. “You’ve got to learn from your mistakes. Fortunately enough we’ve been able to bounce back and keep sticking to what we do. We have to keep it going.”

For the Minutemen to play the way they want to, the goalie is not only the last line of defense, but the start of the transition offense. Sconone outlets the ball to any one of a number of teammates and then watches the horses break from the gate in front of him.

“I love watching those guys push the ball,” he said. “They do a great job playing fast. Billy (Philpott), Jake Marino, Shane Rinkus, Dan O’Brien, even Isaac (Paparo, a long stick) get it up so fast.”

Cannella said Sconone’s confidence stopping the ball has carried into the rest of his game.

“He’s got an aggressive mind right now because he’s feeling it pretty good in terms of making saves,” Cannella said. “You have to be able catch the ball and get the ball out to play in transition. Besides what he’s doing in the goal, he’s been a really strong leader out of the goal, in the locker room and in the clear game.”

Sconone had 14 saves in Thursday’s 14-6 win over Hofstra and hopes to carry that success into the rematch.

“It helps seeing guys two weeks in a row,” Sconone said. “I have a feel where they’re going to shoot it, when they’re going to shoot it coming around the corner.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage




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