All three men’s championships – D-I, D-II, and D-III – will take place both years at the home of the New England Patriots while the D-I women’s title games will occur each year, as well.
Gillette Stadium has been the host site for all three men’s lacrosse championships five times, including in 2018 when Yale University captured its first-ever national title by defeating Duke University by a score of 13-11.
One year earlier – 2017, to be exact! – Maryland defeated Boston College in Foxborough, Massachusetts in the first championship game held in Foxborough, Massachusetts by a score of 16-13.
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.
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.
Another week of New England D-III Women’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, Middlebury College and Tufts University remained in the top two positions while Wesleyan University moved into the third position followed by Amherst College and Bowdoin College in the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.
New England D-III Men’s Lax Top 10 Poll | Monday, March 9th, 2020
1. Middlebury College
3-0, 2-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 1
2. Tufts University
3-0, 2-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 2
3. Wesleyan University
2-0, 1-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 4
4. Amherst College
3-1, 1-1 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 3
5. Bowdoin College
2-1, 1-1 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 6
6. Colby College
3-1, 1-1 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 7
7. Trinity College
2-1, 2-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 5
8. Endicott College
3-0, 0-0 CCC
Last Week: No. 9
9. Springfield College
2-3, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 8
10. Babson College
2-3, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 10
On The Rise: Coast Guard Academy, Framingham State, MIT, and Roger Williams
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @NoontimeLax
With another season of New England Division III men’s lacrosse in the books – the 2019 season concluded this past weekend with Cabrini University defeating Amherst College in the championship game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – it is time to unveil our All-Noontime Sports team, including our player, rookie, and coach of the year.
All-Noontime End of Season Awards
Coach of the Year: Jon Thompson | Amherst College: Thompson’s Mammoths made history this spring by advancing to the program’s first-ever NCAA Division III championship game. Despite falling to Cabrini, Thompson’s crew matched the 2015 Amherst squad with 18 wins, while scoring some impressive victories over a trio of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCASC) squads in the NCAA Tournament, including Williams College, which beat Amherst twice this season. Amherst concluded its 2019 campaign with an 18-4 record, 386 goals scored, and 244 assists.
Player of the Year: Evan Wolf | Amherst College: Wolf enjoyed his best season with the Mammoths, tallying career-highs in goals (75), assists (43) and points (118) while leading Amherst to its first-ever NCAA Division III Championship appearance. Additionally, Wolf and the Class of 2019 helped Amherst match its win total from 2015 with 18 victories this spring. Wolf departs Amherst with a slew of postseason honors while becoming the first-ever Division III student-athlete to earn a spot on the Tewaaraton Watch List.
Rookie of the Year: Jake Haase | Williams College: The 2019 NESCAC Men’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Year enjoyed a very successful first season with Williams College, tallying 99 points on 67 assists and 32 goals to lead the Ephs to their best season in program history. Haase posted a season-high 10 points in a late March win over Colorado College while netting a season-high four goals in Williams’ 16-9 win over MIT. Haase’s 99 points were the most recorded by any member of the Ephs this spring.
Three rounds of the 2019 NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse tournament are in the books, which means its time to turn our attention to the quarterfinals.
This year, three of the eight teams competing in the quarterfinals happen to hail from Massachusetts and compete in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).
Amherst College, which defeated last year’s national champion Wesleyan University, will face Tufts University, while Williams College secured a date with RIT. Both games, along with the two other quarterfinals – Salisbury University versus Denison University and York College (Pa.) versus Cabrini University – will be played Wednesday, May 15th.
The four quarterfinal winners will advance to next Sunday’s (May 19th) semifinals followed by the championship game one week later (Sunday, May 26th) at 4 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Let’s learn more about the three Massachusetts teams that will be competing this week in the quarterfinals.
Amherst College (16-3, 8-2 NESCAC)
The Mammoths advanced to their first quarterfinals in three seasons with back-to-back postseason wins over Wesleyan (16-13) and Elizabethtown College (21-9).
Amherst will enter Wednesday’s meeting with the Jumbos with a 16-3 overall mark, including a 5-1 record on the road. Their lone road loss of the 2019 season came against Williams in April.
Evan Wolf leads the Mammoths with 107 points on 69 goals and 38 assists, while Colin Minicus ranks first on the team with 44 assists.
Juan Gonzalez leads the unit in face-off wins (171), while Dylan Finazzo is second on the team with 83 victories at midfield.
Rod Castro has recorded the most caused-turnovers this spring, tallying 36 in 17 contests.
Gib Versfeld secured his third win between the pipes on Saturday against Wesleyan – he will enter Wednesday’s contest with a 3-2 mark between the pipes, along with a 56.4 save percentage.
Through 19 games this spring, Amherst has averaged 18.37 goals per game.
Tufts University (19-1, 9-1 NESCAC)
The Jumbos secured a date with the Mammoths on Wednesday by cruising past New England College (24-7) and Stevenson University (19-4).
Tufts will enter Wednesday’s clash with the Mammoths riding a nine-game winning streak, which includes a pair of NESCAC Tournament overtime wins against Middlebury College (14-13) and Williams (17-16).
As a team, Tufts has netted 356 goals, including 74 markers in the month of May.
Tufts is averaging 18.5 goals per game in May, which is roughly one more than their season average of 17.80 goals through 20 games.
Danny Murphy has enjoyed a successful final season with the Powder Blue and White, tallying 88 points on 47 goals and 41 assists, while Max Waldbaum has contributed 78 points on 67 goals and 11 assists.
Kyle Helfrich has scooped an impressive 148 ground balls this spring while winning 248 of 441 face-offs.
Mason Pollack and Joe Theuer have combined for 19 wins between the pipes and 260 saves, which is an average of 13.68 saves per game between the two goalies.
Tufts edged Amherst, 15-14, earlier this season, which helped the Jumbos go onto secure the top spot in the NESCAC Tournament a few weeks later.
Saturday’s win over the Cardinals was the team’s 17th victory of the 2019 season, which is the most games any Ephs squad has won in a single-season.
Williams defeated Keene State (21-10) last Wednesday in a second-round meeting before scoring a 17-12 win over St. John Fisher three days later.
Williams will visit RIT this Wednesday – the Tigers needed its defense down the stretch to defeat Union College, 10-9, in their third-round meeting. With their one-goal win against the Dutchmen on Saturday, RIT has now beaten Union three times this season, including once during the Liberty League (LL) playoffs.
RIT and Williams have met just once on the lacrosse field with the Tigers scoring a 15-10 win over the Ephs on March 28, 2014. The game was played at Johns Hopkins University.
Williams is currently 2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games – their first win in program history came against Keene State last Wednesday.
Williams’ first appearance in the NCAA Tournament occurred in 2008 when they lost to Ithaca College, 17-10.
Jake Haase leads the Ephs with 93 points on 62 assists and 31 goals, while Cory Lund ranks first on the team with 63 goals.
Alex Kitt has won 248 of 422 face-offs while scooping a team-high 132 ground balls.
Harry Gahagan has won 17 of 20 games between the pipes this spring. He currently boasts a 10.07 goals allowed average, along with a 53.4 save percentage.