NCAA Third Round: Tufts 18, Ithaca 11

NCAA Third Round: Tufts 18, Ithaca 11

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University men's lacrosse team defeated Ithaca College, 18-11, in the third round of the NCAA Championship Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.

The Jumbos (18-1) were led by an outstanding performance by goalie Mason Pollack who made 19 saves on the day. He also picked up three ground balls and caused one turnover. It was a team effort on offense with six different players scoring at least two goals. Nick Shanks led the way with four goals and two assists. Danny Murphy had a big day as well with two goals and four assists. Andrew Seiter and Matt Treiber each had three goals and two assists, Ben Connelly had four goals, Frank Hattler had two, and Griffin Johnson and Nick Katz each picked up one assist. Both of Tufts' faceoff men played well. Hattler gave Ithaca fits while going 17-of-23 in his opportunities and his relief, Evan Cunningham held his own as well going 5-for-9.

The Bombers (16-4) kept it close for much of the game in big part thanks to Connor Brumfield's four goals. Jake Cotton chipped in with two goals and an assist and Dan Lee scored twice as well. Greg Drillock added a goal and an assist. Stephan Morrell and Kaelan Fitzpatrick each scored once and Keith Morrissey and Steven Landspurg both assisted on one goal apiece. Aaron McCartney caused two turnovers on defense.

The Jumbos started fast in this one. After trading goals over the first five minutes, the score was 2-2, Tufts would finish the quarter on a 5-0 run to take the 7-2 lead at the end of the first frame. Four of those goals came during a two minute locked-in man up opportunity that the Jumbos certainly made the most of. Connelly and Murphy connected twice in that stretch, while Seiter fed Treiber and Hattler one a pair of goals as well.

The Bombers would keep the Jumbos from getting farther ahead over the next two quarters, playing to a 3-3 tie in the second 2-2 in the third.

The fourth quarter would begin with Tufts up, 13-7. Shanks scored in the first minute of the quarter to stretch the lead to six, but Ithaca would answer back with two in a row, one from Drillock and another from Lee, to get within four for the first time since the opening quarter. But over the next three minutes, Treiber, Shanks, and Seiter would combine for four goals for Tufts to put the game out of reach.

Twice in the game the Jumbos had to play two men down on defense due to penalties and both times, came away unscathed. That and the ability of Pollack to make stop after stop swung the momentum in favor of Tufts so far that Ithaca was never able to fully recover.

Up next for the Jumbos will be an NCAA Quarterfinal matchup against Wesleyan, who Tufts has already beaten twice this year. The Cardinals are the ones who knocked the Jumbos out of the NCAA Championship last season in the third round, so Coach Casey D'Annolfo's squad will certainly be looking forward to the opportunity to return the favor.