NESCAC Final: No. 1 Tufts 17, No. 3 Williams 16 (OT)

NESCAC Final: No. 1 Tufts 17, No. 3 Williams 16 (OT)

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. - Capping a dramatic conference championship weekend during in which it won twice in overtime, the Tufts University men's lacrosse team captured its ninth NESCAC championship on Sunday with a 17-16 victory over Williams College at Bello Field.

Max Waldbaum scored with 2:05 remaining in the overtime period to help the Jumbos earn their second consecutive league championship. Tufts (17-1) receives the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Williams (15-3), which erased a 15-11 deficit in two minutes during the fourth quarter to tie the game at 15-15, will await a probable at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Yesterday against Middlebury in the conference semifinals at Bello, Tufts had come back from down 13-8 late in the third quarter to win in overtime, 14-13. Today the Jumbos never trailed, but had to survive an overtime opportunity for the Ephs before scoring the game-winning goal. This weekend's games were the first two overtime contests Tufts has played all season.

The Jumbos led 15-11 today when Waldbaum and Nick Shanks scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter. However, the Ephs tied it quickly with four goals from the 7:38 mark to 5:36 of the period. John Hincks scored twice during the run for Williams and Jake Haase had a goal and an assist.

The teams then traded goals just 10 seconds apart with Jumbo goalie Mason Pollack scoring for the third time this season and Kevin Stump tallying for the Ephs making it 16-16. Both teams had good opportunities in the final four minutes, including a Williams shot by Haase that hit the post and a pair of Jumbo shots that were saved by Eph goalie Harry Gahagan, and the game went to overtime.

Alex Kitt won the overtime faceoff for Williams and the Ephs called time out. A shot by Jared Strauss went wide, but then Williams turned the ball over on a crease violation. After the Tufts clear, a shot by co-captain Danny Murphy went wide before Waldbaum scored his 60th goal to win it.

The Jumbos led 4-1 on a goal by John Cordrey with 1:55 on the first-quarter clock. Haase assisted the next three goals for Williams, two scored by Brendan Hoffman as the Ephs tied it 4-4 early in the second quarter.

A face-off win and goal by Kitt tied the game at 6-6 with 7:10 to go in the half before the Jumbos opened up a 10-7 margin with four of the next five goals. Bryce Adam scored a goal with an assist during the stretch and Ben Connelly's strike put the Jumbos 10-7 with 1:32 to go until halftime. Cory Lund scored for Williams with 14 seconds to go in the second quarter pulling the Ephs within 10-8 at the break.

A Hoffman goal barely a minute into the second half had Williams within 10-9. However, the Jumbos were again able to take over for a stretch as they outscored Williams, 5-2, for an 18-minute stretch to lead 15-11. Shanks scored twice with an assist and Matt Treiber had one of each during this time.

Williams stormed back, but the Jumbos would edge the Ephs by one goal for the second time this year. The Jumbos held off Williams 15-14 on April 3. Today was Tufts' fourth one-goal win of the season.

Adam, Treiber and Waldbaum all had three goals and an assist for the Jumbos. Defenseman Jack Walton caused two turnovers and picked up four ground balls while Pollack recorded nine saves.

Haase (five goals) and Hoffman (five assists) both had seven-point games for Williams and Lund finished with three goals and two assists. Defenseman Chris Burdick finished with two caused turnovers and three ground balls. Gahagan made 12 saves. Kitt was 22 for 36 on face-offs.

The Jumbos posted a slight 50-46 edge in shots, while Williams was up 41-34 on ground balls. Tufts killed three man-up chances by the Ephs who were 0-1 themselves.

Tufts has won its nine NESCAC titles in the past 10 seasons (2010-16, 2018-19). The Ephs were vying for their second conference crown.