NESCAC Championship: No. 1 Tufts 20, No. 3 Amherst 13
Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. - Peter Bowers scored three goals during a 6-1 Tufts run that broke a 9-9 tie in the third quarter and sent the Jumbo men's lacrosse team on to a 20-13 victory against Amherst in the NESCAC final Sunday afternoon at Bello Field. Tufts won its fifth consecutive conference title.
Beau Wood scored five goals and Patton Watkins made a career-high 24 saves as Tufts extended its streak of NESCAC titles that began in 2010. They had to overcome a serious challenge from a Lord Jeffs squad that was playing in its first NESCAC final. Amherst received four goals from Kane Haffey and two goals with two assists from Devin Acton.
The Jumbos (16-2) received the NESCAC's automatic berth to earn their seventh NCAA Championship appearance. Amherst (14-4) will look to receive an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament. The men's lacrosse selections will be announced on Sunday night at 10 p.m.
Like it has so often against its conference opponents this spring, Tufts looked like it would run away with the game today. The Jumbos led 6-1 as they received goals from long-sticks Curt Townshend and Kane Delaney along with another from face-off man Conor Helfrich in the early-going.
However, Amherst had an answer, scoring four of the next five goals to cut the margin down to 7-5 early in the second period. They would out-score Tufts 4-2 in the second period to pull within 9-8 at halftime. Seven different Lord Jeffs scored in an overall 7-3 run that was capped by Dylan Park's tally with 46 second remaining until intermission.
The Lord Jeffs picked up where they left off in the second half, tying the score at 9-9 on Haffey's goal at 12:57 from Acton. Tufts showed its ability to rebound though, as Bowers scored the next two goals to give the hosts an 11-9 advantage. After Haffey brought it back down to one for Amherst (11-10), the Jumbos netted the next four to lead 15-10 on a man-up goal by John Uppgren at 8:04 of the third quarter.
Charlie Gill scored for Amherst at 7:34 of the third making it 15-11, but that's the closest Amherst would get.
Watkins was tremendous as Amherst out-shot the Jumbos, 54-51. Ground balls were close as Tufts took a 39-35 total. Likewise, face-offs were nearly even with 20 wins for Tufts by Helfrich and 17 for Amherst's Johno Gibbons. Twenty penalties were whistled in the game, so both extra-man units were active. Tufts finished three for nine while Amherst was two for seven.
Uppgren posted three goals and three assists for the Jumbos, suprassing 100 points for the season. Chris Schoenhut finished with four goals. Jumbo defensemen Cem Kalkavan and Delaney both had four ground balls.
Quinn Moroney had a goal and two assists for Amherst, which got 10 saves from goalie Greg Majno. In addition to scoring, Park caused two turnovers and picked up three ground balls for Amherst.