May 01, 2019
HADLEY, Mass. – Tufts, the defending NESCAC Champion, will host the remaining rounds of the 2019 NESCAC Men’s Lacrosse Championship. The top-seeded Jumbos will face No. 7 Middlebury in the first semifinal at 12 p.m., while No. 3 Williams faces No. 4 Amherst at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. The winners will square off in the NESCAC Championship game on Sunday, May 5 at 12 p.m.
All three games will be streamed online via the Northeast Sports Network (NSN), links can be found at NESCAC.com. The broadcasts will also be available through Roku, AppleTV, and Amazon Fire. Search for and download the ‘NESCAC Network’ channel.
The top-seeded Jumbos are hosting the final rounds of the NESCAC Championship for the seventh time in the last 13 years. Tufts (15-1) extended its win streak to five games and advanced to the semifinals for the 11th consecutive year following a 17-8 victory over No. 8 Trinity. Tufts ranks second in the NESCAC in scoring, averaging 17.63 goals per game and owns a goals against average of 11.00. Senior Danny Murphy (Hauppauge, N.Y.) leads the attack for Tufts with 78 points on 43 goals and 35 assists, while teammates Max Waldbaum (Denver, Colo.) (54-9-63) and Ben Connelly (Kenilworth, Ill.) (45-17-62) have contributed 63 and 62 points, respectively. Junior Mason Pollack (Arlington, Va.) has started 14 games in net for Tufts and ranks second in the league in saves (183) while owning a goals against average of 11.38 and .560 save percentage.
Middlebury (8-8) upset No. 2 Wesleyan, 11-7, to reach the semifinals for the fourth time in five years. The Panthers, who won seven straight NESCAC titles from 2001-07, are the first No. 7 seed to advance to the semifinals since 2016 and last played in the championship game in 2017. Rookie Tyler Forbes (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) (47-9-56) and junior A.J. Kucinski (Cohasset, Mass.) (28-24-52) lead a Panther offense that is averaging 13.19 goals per game. Sophomore Tyler Bass (Atlanta, Ga.) has started the last six games for the Panthers and ranks fourth in the conference with a goals against average of 10.45 and a .554 save percentage.
Tufts, which won its eighth title last season, owns a 5-3 edge over Middlebury in the NESCAC postseason series. The Jumbos defeated the Panthers, 16-12, in the 2018 NESCAC Quarterfinals and also earned a 23-14 win over the Panthers on April 20.
Another chapter will be added to the Amherst (14-2)/Williams (14-2) rivalry when the two teams square off in the second semifinal on Saturday. The Ephs have put together a historic season. Their 12-9 victory over No. 6 Colby marked the eighth NESCAC postseason win in program history and was the team’s 14th victory of the year, setting a school record for most wins in a single season. The Ephs’ No. 3 seed is the highest in program history and sophomore Cory Lund (El Segundo, Calif.) became the first Williams player to score 50 goals in a season since the 2000 campaign in the win over the Mules. Williams has reached the semifinals for the second straight season and fourth time in the last six years and looking to add to its 2008 title. Rookie Jake Haase (Wayland, Mass.) leads Williams in scoring with 73 points (27-46-73) and Lund is second with 70 points (50-20-70). Sophomore Harry Gahagan (Glen Cove, N.Y.) is the leading goalie for the Ephs and carries the second-best goals against average in the NESCAC at 9.70 along with a .542 save percentage. As a team, Williams ranks second among NESCAC teams with a goals against average of 10.00.
Amherst, the No. 4 seed, posted its third straight 20-goal game in a 23-9 victory over No. 5 Bates to advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive season. The Mammoths are looking to reach the championship game for the first time since 2015. Senior Evan Wolf (Wynnewood, Pa.) and junior Colin Minicus (Darien, Conn.) lead the Amherst offense. Minicus leads the Mammoths in assists (40) and ranks second on the team in points (30-40-70). Wolf is the leading scorer in the NESCAC and on the cusp of registering a 100-point season with a league-leading 62 goals and 34 assists for 94 points. Junior Chad Simons (Warren, N.J.) has 11 wins in the Amherst net and ranks third in the league in goals against average (10.19), but sophomore Gib Versfeld (Langhorne, Pa.) earned his first playoff start against the Bobcats and responded with 20 saves in the victory.
Williams improved to 2-1 against Amherst in the NESCAC Championship series with an 11-10 win in the 2016 quarterfinals. The Ephs also won the regular-season meeting, 13-11 on April 6, snapping a 10-game win streak for the Mammoths.
Results from all the NESCAC Men’s Lacrosse Championship games will be posted on NESCAC.com at the end of each day.