Noonan: Revisiting My First Lacrosse Championship Game

Beau Wood/Tufts Lacrosse

Tufts University’s Beau Wood (No. 18) netted the game-winning goal for the Jumbos against Bowdoin College in the 2012 NESCAC Championship game. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan 

The month of May, in my opinion, will always be associated with the sport of lacrosse.

It is a month that features a slew of college tournaments and championships to NCAA postseason runs that concludes on Memorial Day weekend.

But while the sport of lacrosse, as well as other games, remain sidelined for the moment, memories of games covered, including my first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Final, is on my mind. And it is hard not to think back to that gorgeous day – May 6, 2012, to be exact – when Tufts University outlasted Bowdoin College, 9-8, in double-overtime

At the time, I didn’t know much about lacrosse. I thought it was hockey on grass – maybe basketball, too – but it was a sport I grew to love from watching a talented Tufts team (and program), which had won its first-ever national championship two years earlier against Salisbury University.

I got my first glimpse of these Jumbos in mid-April of 2012 when Tufts rolled past Amherst College, 15-5. It was an impressive win.

Mike Daly, who was the coach of the Jumbos, told me neither he or his coaching staff anticipated his team was going to beat Amherst by ten goals on this particular afternoon. Instead, Daly, who is currently the head coach of the Brown University men’s lacrosse team, told me that his team “just put together a pretty complete effort today.” And that effort would certainly be on display weeks later when I covered Tufts’ dramatic win over a Bowdoin, which would conclude its 2012 campaign in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

Bowdoin was a good team. They had scored some impressive conference wins in 2012, as well as some important non-league victories against Keene State and Springfield College. They beat Wesleyan University in the NESCAC quarterfinals before knocking off Trinity College in the semifinals shortly after Tufts topped Connecticut College.

Tufts had beaten Bowdoin prior to their championship meeting – the Jumbos topped the Polar Bears, 15-7, in Medford, Massachusetts, which made me think the young men who wore the powder blue, brown and white jerseys that day would duplicate that performance on the same field. But I was wrong.

Instead, I, along with fans and friends of each program, was treated to an amazing back and forth affair that saw Bowdoin erase a two-goal deficit during the final minutes of the fourth quarter to force not one, but two extra sessions.

Tufts had a chance to win the game in the first overtime but neither Nick Rhoads and Beau Wood were able to deposit their attempt past Bowdoin’s, Chris Williamson. Bowdoin would also have a chance to clinch the victory but watched Conor O’Toole‘s shot sail wide of the Tufts cage.

So, with the score still knotted at 8-8, we quickly advanced to a second overtime period. And like many, I wondered which team would score that game-winner? Would it be Bowdoin, since they seemed to have all the momentum, thanks to back-to-back fourth-quarter goals by Keegan Mehlhorn and Will Wise, or Tufts, which had not located the back of the net since the final seconds of the third quarter?

That question would be answered during the sixth and final period when Tufts scored on its third attempt of the session with 1:50 remaining. Beau Wood fired home the game-winner after receiving a pass from Geordie Shafer. And once the ball slipped past Bowdoin’s Chris Williamson, the Jumbos rushed the field to celebrate a hard-fought yet exhilarating win.

“We knew we had to just end (the game) it as soon (as we got the ball),” Wood remarked shortly after his team’s one-goal win.

Indeed, the Jumbos did end it, but not until they forced their second turnover of the second overtime.

Tufts would advance to the NCAA semifinals two weeks later but saw their run toward a national title conclude against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons, which beat the Jumbos by a score of 12-10, would end up losing in the finals to Salisbury, who had beaten Tufts in the national title game one year earlier.

Sure, it was disappointing to see a team you had covered fall short of winning the ultimate prize, but I knew eventually this team (and program) would celebrate a championship in the future. And that they did. Tufts would win a pair of titles in the coming years, including their second national championship against Salisbury in 2014. They would also make a third-straight appearance in the championship game in 2016 but lose by one goal to the Sea Gulls of Salisbury.

Tufts will return to the title game again soon. But for now, I consider myself lucky to have covered and chronicled their various campaigns these past few years through NoontimeSports.com. I will always be thankful for the time both Mike Daly and his players provided me after the three contests I covered in 2012 and will continue to look back on this time fondly. I was a young journalist (and blogger), but also someone that wanted to learn more about a sport that I had only played once in my life. And because of Tufts, I am now an avid lacrosse fan, as well as a high school and middle school official here in Massachusetts.

I miss watching and covering games, especially on gorgeous days like today, but I do know better days are ahead for all of us, and they will certainly include exciting and dramatic one-goal victories.

D3 Lacrosse: New England Men’s Lacrosse Top 10 Poll (Monday, March 16th, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

The 2020 New England D-III Lacrosse is over. But despite seasons being cut short due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re still excited to unveil our third and final poll of the season, which is powered by Zelos Athletics, which turns athletes into champions.

Williams College remained in the top spot – the Ephs capped their 2020 season with an impressive 13-11 victory last Wednesday over RPI. The Ephs, who were ranked first last week, scored just two conference wins this spring, along with a solid 11-10 win over Union College earlier this month.

Both Amherst College and Tufts University capped their respective seasons on high-notes last week with wins over Endicott College and Ithaca CollegeWesleyan University remained in the fourth position while Western New England and Middlebury College switched positions, checking-in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Babson CollegeCoast Guard Academy, and Trinity College remained in the same positions from one week ago while the Gulls of Endicott secured the tenth and final position.


New England D-III Men’s Lax Top 10 Poll | Monday, March 16th, 2020 

1. Williams College

4-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Tufts University 4-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. Amherst College 3-1, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3
4. Wesleyan University 3-1, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4
5. Western New England 4-1, 0-0 CCC Last Week: No. 6
6. Middlebury College 3-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 5
7. Babson College  3-3, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 7
8. Coast Guard Academy 2-4, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8
9. Trinity College 3-1, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 9
10. Endicott College 2-3, 0-0 CCC Last Week: Not Ranked

On The Rise: Bates College, Hamilton College, Keene State, MIT, Salve Regina, and Springfield College


Previous Polls: Week One Poll | Week Two Poll

 

D3 Lacrosse: New England Men’s Lacrosse Top 10 Poll (Monday, March 9th, 2020)

NSZelosTop10MLAXD32020

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Another week of New England D-III Men’s Lacrosse is in the books, which means its time to unveil our second Top 10 Poll of the 2020 season.

This spring, our New England D-III Lacrosse Polls are powered by Zelos Athletics, which turns athletes into champions.

This week, Williams College secured the top spot after checking in second one week ago while Tufts University moved up one spot while Amherst College dropped two spots. Trinity College became the newest member of our weekly poll – they topped tenth-ranked Bates College this past weekend.


New England D-III Men’s Lax Top 10 Poll | Monday, March 9th, 2020 

1. Williams College

3-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2 
2. Tufts University 3-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3
3. Amherst College 2-1, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
4. Wesleyan University 2-1, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4
5. Middlebury College 2-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
6. Western New England  3-1, 0-0 CCC Last Week: No. 7
7. Babson College  3-2, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 5
8. Coast Guard Academy 2-4, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8
9. Trinity College 2-1, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: Not Ranked
10. Bates College 1-4, 0-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 9

On The Rise: Endicott College, Keene State, MIT, Salve Regina, and Springfield College


Previous Polls: Week One Poll 

D3 Lacrosse: New England Men’s Lacrosse Top 10 Poll (Monday, March 2nd, 2020)

NSZelosTop10MLAXD32020

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

A brand new D-III lacrosse season has officially arrived – it actually started for some New England teams last month, but as of this past weekend, most teams have now played at least once, twice or three times.

And with a brand new season comes a new Noontime Sports & Zelos Athletics New England D-III Lacrosse Men’s Poll, which finds Amherst College in the top spot followed by Williams College (second) and Tufts University (third).


New England D-III Men’s Lax Top 10 Poll | Monday, March 2nd, 2020 

1. Amherst College

2-0, 1-0 NESCAC

2. Williams College

1-0, 1-0 NESCAC

3. Tufts University 1-0, 1-0 NESCAC
4. Wesleyan University  1-0, 1-0 NESCAC
5. Babson College 2-1, 0-0 NEWMAC
6. Middlebury College 1-0, 1-0 NESCAC
7. Western New England  2-1, 0-0 CCC
8. Coast Guard Academy 2-2, 0-0 NEWMAC
9. Bates College  0-3, 0-1 NESCAC
10. Springfield College 0-2, 0-0 NEWMAC

On The Rise: Clark University, Endicott College, Keene State, and MIT

 

D3 Basketball: Women’s Top 10 Poll (Monday, Feb. 17th, 2020)

WBBTOP102020SOCIAL

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

The Tufts University women’s basketball team remained our top team for yet another week – the Jumbos concluded their regular-season slate this past weekend with back-to-back wins over Middlebury College and seventh-ranked Williams College to secure the top spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament.

Amherst College secured the second position for the second-straight week, as well as the second spot in the NESCAC Tournament. Bowdoin College remained the third team in our weekly poll for the second-straight week while Western New England moved-up to the fourth position after they scored their fifth-straight win this past weekend over the University of New England.

Rhode Island College rounded out the top five, checking-in fifth, thanks to back-to-back wins last week over sixth-ranked Eastern Connecticut and Keene State.

Babson College moved up one spot while Springfield College and Smith College secured the final two spots, checking-in ninth and tenth, respectively. Babson and Springfield will meet on Wednesday, February 19th with first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) on the line.


New England D-III Basketball Women’s Top 10 Week 12 Poll| Monday, Feb. 17th, 2020

1. Tufts University 24-0, 10-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Amherst College  21-3, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. Bowdoin College 22-2, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3 
4. Western New England 20-4, 13-2 CCC Last Week: No. 5
5. Rhode Island College 20-4, 12-3 LEC Last Week: No. 6
6. Eastern Connecticut 19-4, 12-2 LEC Last Week: No. 4
7. Williams College 17-7, 6-4 NESCAC Last Week: No. 7
8. Babson College 17-6, 8-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 9
9. Springfield College 16-7, 8-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 10
10. Smith College 19-4, 5-3 NEWMAC Last Week: Not Ranked 

ON THE RISE: Framingham State, Emmanuel College, Hamilton College, and Trinity College 


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week OneWeek TwoWeek Three|Week Four Week FiveWeek SixWeek Seven |Week Eight|Week Nine Week Ten |Week 11