May 12, 2012

Dare To Be Different: Colgate Fights Back to Beat UMass

by Jimmy Kelley | | Live Blog Replay

Peter Baum scored two late goals for Colgate, which rallied from a 7-2 deficit to upset previously unbeaten UMass in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
© Greg Wall

AMHERST, Mass. – It took almost three full quarters for Peter Baum to put one in the net but it was that goal with 1:57 left in the third that brought Colgate within one for the first time since early in the first quarter. Baum's score was the third of four unanswered goals that were key to Colgate's second half turnaround in its 13-11 comeback win over previously unbeaten and host UMass on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Raiders (14-3) outscored UMass (15-1) 8-4 in the second half thanks in large part to that four-goal spurt. Baum's first goal came after a game-long struggle with UMass defenseman Jake Smith, who was physical with Baum and did not let him get the looks the nation's leading scorer is used to getting.

"They are a talented defense and they were sliding to me early," said Baum. "I was fortunate at the end to get a couple goals – [the] last one [to put Colgate up 13-11 with 3:53 left] ended up being pretty important – but my teammates really picked me up today."

On a warm day, Baum's conditioning showed in the second half, as he was able to keep moving and get himself in position to make a difference against the UMass defense.

After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead – and leading by as many as five at 7-2 in the second quarter – UMass slowed down in the second half on both ends of the field. After taking four penalties in the first half, the second half became an exercise in control for the Minutemen.

"We have been saying it all season: you can't foul here in the second half," said UMass coach Greg Cannella. "Unfortunately we did foul once. There was a lot of hustle out there for both teams."

UMass jumped out to a fast start in the second half, scoring the first two goals of the half and extending the lead to 9-5 with 9:54 to play in the third. Art Kell's third goal of the day was the last UMass would score before Colgate went on their game-defining run.

Conor Braddish started it with a strike at the 4:56 mark. Braddish and Matt Baker, both second line midfielders, scored during the stretch as the Raiders' second line stepped up.

Also making a difference was sophomore goalkeeper Conor Murphy, who made his first collegiate start in Saturday's win. After playing in the fourth quarter of the last few games, Raiders coach Mike Murphy (no relation) made the decision to go with the sophomore.

"A lot of sleepless nights this last week," Murphy said of making the call. "Conor had been coming on recently and seeing the ball well. I called him into my office and told him he was starting then brought in [senior] Jared [Madison] and told him my decision. He looked at me and said 'Coach, you're making the right call.'"

Madison did make a cameo appearance when Murphy picked up a slashing call, but Murphy was otherwise flawless for 60 minutes. He made 15 saves and allowed 10 goals while also being instrumental in the clearing game.

"I just tried to prepare for this game like I would prepare for any other and I really felt like my teammates had my back," said Conor Murphy, who did not play as a freshman.

After allowing UMass to pick up two separate one-goal leads after the four-goal spurt, Colgate kept its cool and clawed back, something Murphy said is indicative of his team's identity. The Raiders face Duke in the quarterfinals on Sunday in Chester, Pa.

"This team has been one that has scratched and clawed all season and I think today was the epitome of that," Mike Murphy said. "All season we have said 'Dare to be Different.' Different than any other program here at Colgate and different than any other team that has played lacrosse at Colgate."

Trailing 11-10, Ryan Walsh took his man from behind the net and tied the game at 11 with 7:58 to play. Just 46 seconds later, Chris Zielinski left his defender in his wake and blew one by UMass goalie Tim McCormack (13 saves) for the lead that the Raiders would never give up.

Brendon McCann chipped in two goals to go with Zielinski, Walsh, Baker and Baum's multi-goal efforts. Patrick Campell joined Braddish and Matt Clarkson as single goal scorers for the Raiders.

Kell's hat trick led the Minutemen while Colin Fleming was the only other UMass player with multiple goals.

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