Trainor Powers UMass by the River Hawks (SLIDESHOW)
LOWELL -- Jeff Trainor made sure his homecoming was a memorable one.
The former Billerica High standout was a force in the midfield for the University of Massachusetts, scoring two goals and adding an assist, in a 13-6 non-conference men’s lacrosse victory over UMass Lowell at Cushing Field on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s always nice to come back and play right outside of Billerica,” said Trainor. “It was fun today.”
Trainor had a brilliant career at Billerica. And this multi-talented sophomore is beginning to replicate the magic he produced on a routine basis for the Indians. The consummate playmaker, Trainor did a good job creating scoring chances on the go against the River Hawks.
“Jeff is an outstanding player,” said UMass coach Greg Cannella. “He was a great player in high school. He was a three-sport athlete. He’s really a legend at Billerica High School.
“He’s done nothing but impress here. He’s a great kid. He works hard. He’s very unselfish in his game. He always comes prepared. He’s a tremendous athlete.”
Trainor helped kick-start the Minutemen offense in the first quarter. He assisted on the first of Jake Lisauskas’ three goals, which gave UMass a 2-1 lead. Then Trainor scored the goal that increased the advantage to 4-1. He tallied his second goal in the fourth quarter.
UMass (3-4) won its second straight game. The River Hawks (3-4) had their two-game winning streak snapped.
“We had tough start to the season,” said Trainor. “But we’re figuring it out. We’re finding our team identity. Nothing but good things for the future, I hope. “Any way I can help out my teammates, that’s what I want to do. Coach is putting a lot of trust in me, and I just try not to let anyone down.”
Trainor has nine goals and nine assists in seven games. In a 17-3 win over NJIT on Saturday, Trainor dished out four assists. Trainor gave a glimpse of things to come last spring, finishing up his freshman campaign by scoring 21 of his 22 points (10 goals) over his final nine games.
“He sees the field well,” said Cannella. “He can shoot it. He has great composure and that is an important piece of what we do. We want guys on the field who are like coaches and are leaders, and Jeff has that ability. And he’s a sophomore, so it’s impressive. He’s still a young player, but he performs like an older player.”
Charlie O’Brien of Chelmsford, who played his high school lacrosse at Bishop Guertin, had an assist for the Minutemen.
Austin Lane scored two goals for UMass Lowell, while Sean Tyrrell scored a goal and passed out three assists. Harrison Morrill, Sam Klingsporn and Jon Phillips netted the other River Hawk goals.
Hunter Braun came up big in goal for UMass Lowell, finishing with 15 saves.
UML was only 2-for-21 on faceoffs.
“I thought our goalie played outstanding, just remarkable,” said UMass Lowell coach Ed Stephenson. “We just had a real hard time handling the ball in between the lines today. When we go back and look at time of possession, we really didn’t have the ball. It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball.”
After UMass jumped out to a 4-1 lead, the River Hawks rallied to trim the deficit to a goal with 2:06 remaining in the first half. But the Minutemen exploded for three goals in the final 1:14 of the first half to lead 7-3 at the break.
“This one stings a little bit because it’s the first time this season we really weren’t in-tune and aggressive,” said Stephenson. “I just haven’t seen this side of us. I think the guys will take that to heart and rebound well.”
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi