By Matt Noonan
MEDFORD, MA – After an enormous non-conference victory earlier this week, Tufts University’s men’s lacrosse team continued their winning ways on Saturday by defeating Amherst College, 15-5.
Sophomore Beau Wood paced the Jumbos with four goals, while senior Kevin McCormick added two goals and two assists.
“We didn’t necessarily see this coming today [because] we have great respect for them, [Amherst] and their entire program, and we just put together a pretty complete effort today, and it went our way most of the days, so like I said, we didn’t really, really see this coming,” said Tufts University head coach Mike Daly.
Tufts (10-2) needed less than five minutes to earn the lead for good, as McCormick connected with senior Ben Saperstein, (one goal, one assist) during a ‘man up’ opportunity, which helped the Jumbos earn a 1-0 advantage.
The Jumbos increased their lead midway through the second when Wood, senior Geordie Schafer, sophomore Peter Bowers, (two goals, two assists), and freshman Cole Bailey each fired shots past the Lord Jeffs’ senior netminder Samuel Jakimo, (nine saves).
“We felt early on, we were getting shots, and we were generating what we want to generate, so we [made sure not to panic],” said Daly. “[We] just stayed with what we were doing [following the opening draw].”
Amherst (8-4) eventually netted their first goal late in the second frame when Cole Cherney whipped the ball past Tufts’ sophomore goaltender Patton Watkins, (14 saves).
The Lord Jeffs then attempted to double their goal total during the closing minutes, but missed opportunities forced them to enter halftime trailing the Jumbos, 5-1.
Entering the third quarter, Tufts exploded for seven unanswered goals, as Wood and freshman Chris Schoenhut each notched two strikes, while Bowers, McCormick and senior Sean Kirwan registered one tally.
“We just really built off what we did in the second quarter,” said McCormick. “It was really just moving the ball a lot, and just taking what the defense gave us. We always say, let the defense decides who scores and not try to force anything, so I think we did a great job of taking what they gave us, and just executing on all cylinders.”
“We were lucky to find [Beau and Kevin] when they were open, and they finished them and it’s a pretty simple game when it’s going your way,” added Daly. “It’s not rocket science.”
McCormick recorded his final goal early in the fourth, which padded the lead for the Jumbos before Amherst tallied an additional three strikes.
“We’ve been having some flashes of a performance like this and like I said, it just all came together today and we can enjoy it for about two seconds and then we’ve got to go to Bates on Tuesday and if you don’t show up with the schedule we play, [then] you’re going to be sorry at the end of the day,” said Daly. “We’ve got to keep the momentum, and the energy and emotion trending how we’ve had it.”
Tufts have now defeated Amherst eight consecutive times dating back to 2005.
“They’re just one of our NESCAC rivals, and there’s something about certain games like playing Amherst – it really gets us going, especially on Alumni Day,” said McCormick. “It wasn’t hard to get up for this game, [but] I guess we always do well against Amherst.”