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MLAX: Back of the Net – Feb. 17

Feb 18, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

All six CAA men’s lacrosse teams have officially started play. Massachusetts has opened its season with a perfect 2-0 mark, including a thrilling 12-11 overtime victory over nationally-ranked Ohio State at the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic on Feb. 16 evening.

Penn State, which is 1-1 with a 12-11 overtime loss to nationally-ranked Loyla, and Towson, which is also 1-1 with a road loss at nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins, follow behind UMass in the league standings.

It was the rookies this week that shined on the field. UMass freshman attack Nick Mariano scored four goals to spur the Minutemen in their 12-11 defeat of No. 14/9 Ohio State in overtime. The rookie’s most notable goal was the game-winner which happened with 7.9 seconds left in the OT period. Mariano’s efforts earned him CAA Player and Rookie of the Week honors. He was joined by Drexel’s Cole Shafer for CAA Rookie of the Week accolades. Shafer scored four goals in his collegiate debut in the Dragons’ opener against No. 7/8 Virginia. The Drexel rookie scored three straight goals to tie the game after the Dragons were down 9-6.  To read more about these award winners, check out the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Weekly Report on CAASports.com.

Penn State was joined by fellow CAA member Massachusetts in both national polls this week. The Nittany Lions were ranked at No. 12 in the first United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Coaches Poll, while UMass entered at No. 14 after a 2-0 start and a victory over nationally-ranked Ohio State. In the most recent Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, PSU was also ranked 12th, while the Minutemen earned a spot at No. 15. Drexel continued to receive votes in both polls after a vigorous fight against No. 7 Virginia, falling by just one goal at home.

This week one CAA men’s lacrosse game is scheduled to be aired. Hofstra’s contest against Princeton will be carried on ESPN3 at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22