NCAA Second Round: Tufts 26, Keene State 14

NCAA Second Round: Tufts 26, Keene State 14

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. - Five players scored three or more goals, including six by senior Zach Richman, as the Tufts University men's lacrosse team opened NCAA play with a 26-14 victory over Keene State College in the second round on Wednesday at Bello Field.

 The 26 goals tie the Tufts record for most in game. Senior Michael Mattson and sophomore Danny Murphy both had four, while junior Frank Hattler and sophomore Ben Connelly had three each. The Jumbos (13-5) advance to play NESCAC rival Wesleyan University in the third round on Saturday.

Keene State, which saw senior Rob Hart become the program's all-time leading scorer this afternoon, finished its year at 14-4. Both Hart and junior Hunter Arnold finished today with three goals and three assists for six points.

The Jumbos built a 7-1 lead after 15 minutes of play behind three goals and an assist from Murphy. Tufts was 2-for-3 on man-up situations in the opening period as Mattson and Connelly both had extra-man strikes. Richman set up Murphy for a goal with four seconds left in the period.

A long-stick goal by senior Tyler Carbone got Tufts started in the second quarter. Connelly, Murphy and Hattler all scored and assisted goals that helped Tufts to a 12-2 advantage at the eight-minute mark. Keene State senior Bryan Rotatori assisted Arnold's goal and then scored a man-down goal making the score 12-4, but Hattler finished the half with a score in the final minute that gave Tufts a 13-4 lead at intermission.

Tufts was able to maintain a comfortbable lead in part because of stellar goaltending by sophomore starter Ben Shmerler. He had eight saves in the first quarter and seven more in the second for 15 at halftime. Shots were just 38-33 in favor of Tufts at the break.

Richman then had two of the Jumbos' three goals to open the second half and the hosts led 16-4. Hart scored at 10:24 for the Owls, but the Jumbos ran off the next four - two each by Mattson and Richman - and the lead was at 20-5 with 5:27 still remaining in the third quarter. A man-up goal by Arnold and another strike by Hattler put the score at 21-6 Jumbos heading into the fourth.

Keene would out score Tufts 8-5 in the final quarter. Hart broke the Owl scoring record with an assist on a goal by senior Tyler Reilly at 11:53 of the frame. He surpassed the previous mark of 281 points (210 goals, 71 assists) held by Tyler McKelvie (2013-16). By the end of the game, Hart had 284 career points on 186 goals and 98 assists.

Sophomore Griffin Johnson scored a goal with two assists in the fourth for Tufts, while junior Andrew Seiter tallied twice. Freshman Matt Treiber added a goal and an assist.

During the regular season when Tufts defeated Keene 24-16 on March 8, the teams combined for 40 goals and 20 penalties. The teams combined for an incredible 132 shots this afternoon, including 75 by the Jumbos. Tufts also won the ground ball battle 42-23 and had a 27-16 advantage on faceoffs.

Richman had seven points in all, while Murphy, Mattson and Hattler all totaled six for Tufts. Sophomore Henry Hollen won 18 of 29 faceoffs, while junior Robert Treiber made four saves in 21 second-half minutes. Jumbo goalies had 19 in all.

Sophomore Steve Hamel caused four turnovers on defense for Keene, which also received three goals and two assists from Rotatori. Reilly and junior Frank Bacarella both scored twice. Junior goalie Mat Howe made 17 saves in the game.