NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 3 Tufts 16, No. 6 Middlebury 12

NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 3 Tufts 16, No. 6 Middlebury 12

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University men's lacrosse team defeated Middlebury College, 16-12, in a NESCAC Quarterfinal matchup Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.

The Jumbos (14-1, 9-1 NESCAC) entered the tournament as the three seed after finishing the year with identical 9-1 conference records with Amherst and Wesleyan. All three teams could not be separated with tiebreakers so a random action was used to decide the top three seeds. The Panthers (9-7, 5-5 NESCAC) were the sixth seed.

Danny Murphy and Ben Connelly both had big days for Tufts. Murphy recorded eight points on three goals and five assists and Connelly scored five times and assisted once. Other Jumbos to record points include Andrew Seiter (three goals, one assist), Frank Hattler (two goals, three assists), Nick Shanks (one goal, one assist), John Cordrey (one goal, one assist), and Matt Treiber (one goal). Stewart Stockdale and Henry Hollen each had seven ground balls, while Murphy and Connor Lansdale both caused two turnovers. Mason Pollack had a big day in net coming up with 13 saves.

Middlebury was led by Henry Riehl's two goals and three assists and Danny Jacob's two goals and two assists. A.J. Kucinski had a team-high three goals on the day. Other Panthers to record points were Michael McCormack (two goals, one assist), Frank Cosolito (one goal), Chase Goree (one goal), John Beatty (one goal), and Stephan Clarke (one assist). Jake Madnick had ten ground balls and Riehl caused two turnovers. In goal, Charles Midgley recorded 15 saves for Middlebury.

Tufts started out hot in the first quarter, opening the game on a 3-0 run with goals from Hattler and two from Connelly. The Panthers' Cosolito would sneak one by Pollack before the Jumbos went on another 3-0 run to increase their early lead to 6-1. Riehl would record his first goal of the game for Middlebury with just 24 seconds remaining in the frame.

The two sides traded goals in the second quarter, bookended by two Panther scores by Kucinski and Beatty to shrink Tufts' lead by one to make it an 8-5 halftime deficit.

In the second half, Middlebury was never able to bring the score within four, even though they ended the game on a 4-1 run. Before the run, the Jumbos had stretched their lead to 15-8, after Seiter and Murphy connected on their fourth goal of the afternoon. And although the Panthers collected four goals over the final three minutes, it was too little too late as the Jumbos had built too large of a cushion.

Tufts will now play second-seeded Amherst in the conference semifinals next Saturday. Both teams will travel to Wesleyan, since as the highest remaining seed, the Cardinals have earned the right to host the final two rounds of the NESCAC tournament.