The Jumbos eight-goal second half pushed them past the Conn. College Camels, 13-2 on Saturday in the NESCAC Semi-Finals! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan)
By Matt Noonan
MEDFORD, MA – For the fourth consecutive year, Tufts University’s men’s lacrosse team will attempt to earn some additional NESCAC hardware, as the Jumbos defeated the Connectuicut College Camels, 13-2 on Saturday at Bello Field.
Senior co-captains Kevin McCormick and Sean Kirwan each registered a hat trick, while sophomore netminder Patton Watkins recorded nine saves between the pipes.
“I’m really proud of our entire team, and freshman [Ryan Le], who scored a goal at the end of the game,” said Tufts head coach Mike Daly. “He’s a freshman, like I said, they just keep showing up, working every day, and just real happy that he got that goal, got that opportunity and I think that’s why we won because we’ve just got so many guys on our team, top to bottom, who just show up, work and get it done.”
Added Daly, “I’m real proud of our entire team, it’s a team win and I’d never bet against these guys any day of the week.”
Following the opening draw, Tufts needed roughly six minutes to earn their first lead of the contests, as McCormick rifled a shot past senior goaltender Rob Moccia, (15 saves) before Conn. College evened the score with a ‘man up’ strike by junior John Lyons, (two goals) at 5:24.
The Jumbos regained the lead late in the opening period when junior Andrew Fiamengo notched his only goal of the afternoon, which provided Tufts with a one-goal advantage heading into the second quarter.
Lyons once again evened the score at 10:09 in the second frame before the Jumbos produced an 11-0 run, which started after the Camels final strike and concluded with an unassisted tally by Le at 1:21 in the fourth quarter.
“We [needed] to make plays on both sides of the field, [but] at the end of the day we kept winning face-offs, we kept competing and we just needed a little bit of that breathing room to get going, and luckily we got it,” said Daly. “Even in that first 30 minutes, they scored a ‘man up’ goal, and a goal right after a ‘man up’ had released, so we felt pretty good about hanging in there and doing what we do defensively and not letting them get away from what we wanted to do.”
Tufts’ Second Half: Entering the second half with a 4-2 advantage, Tufts ballooned their lead with four additional tallies by McCormick, sophomores Peter Bowers and Beau Wood, and freshman Tim LaBeau, which preserved their second conference tournament victory.
“I guess we start a little slow, and then we’re able to rally at halftime and learn from what we’ve done in the first half,” McCormick said. “We were just able to come out firing and keep it going [because] we’ve got the right people and we get it done.”
Coach Daly agreed with McCormick, and complimented his senior co-captain by saying, “We’ve got unbelievable senior leadership, great freshmen, great sophomores, great juniors, and it helps when you win face-offs, you get great goalie play, and we’re blessed [because] we’ve got a lot of great parts.”
Tufts padded their lead in the third and fourth quarters with 28 shots, 20 ground balls, 13 clears and seven face-off wins.
Kirwan’s Fourth Quarter: Once the fourth quarter commenced, freshman Cole Bailey connected with Sean Kirwan twice in a span of two minutes, which resulted in two back-to-back strikes.
“We knew that if we just kind of stuck to the game plan the whole game, [we knew] that we’d ware them down, they’d get a little lazy, and we’d get some good looks, and that’s what happened,” Kirwan said of his team’s offensive strategy.
The senior co-captain continued by saying, “Credit to everybody on our team for getting us ready – scout team getting us ready for practice, guys on the field today executing our game plan – it was great, it was great to see things click at the right time.”
Next Up: On Sunday, Tufts will attempt to earn its third consecutive conference crown against Bowdoin College, who defeated Trinity College on Saturday, 10-8.