Men's Lacrosse Opens Defense of NCAA Title with 21-6 Victory over Emmanuel

MEDFORD - Tufts University scored nine second-quarter goals to pull away from Emmanuel College and earn a 21-6 victory in the first round of the NCAA Div. III Men's Lacrosse Championship at a sun-drenched Bello Field Wednesday afternoon.

In the second round on Saturday, Tufts (17-2) will face the winner of tonight's Bates versus Keene State first-round match-up. The start time is to be announced. The Jumbos opened their defense of last spring's NCAA title today, improving to 18-5 overall in their eighth NCAA appearance.

Emmanuel College, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference champs two years in a row, saw their season end at 13-5.

This was the second straight year that Tufts and Emmanuel met in the first round. Last year the Jumbos took a 12-1 lead in the first quarter and went on to a 24-2 win. This year was a different story in the early going. Tufts led just 2-1 at the end of the first quarter. Goals by Jumbos Austin Carbone and Charlie Rubin were sandwiched around an Emmanuel tally by Tony Cibelli.

However, Tufts would out-score the Saints 9-1 in the second period today to take an 11-2 halftime lead. Junior John Uppgren scored two goals with three assists in the second stanza while junior Kyle Howard-Johnson recorded two goals with an assist and sophomore Zach Richman tallied twice.

The Saints would score two man-down goals in the game, and the first came during the second quarter when Cibelli netted his second of the game and 40th of the year at 8:27.

The Jumbos would add seven more goals in the third quarter, countered by three for Emmanuel, for an 18-4 Tufts advantage after 45 minutes. Six different Jumbos had goals in the third with only Richman scoring twice. 

Junior Chris Curtis scored twice and defenseman Pat Hefferman netted the Saints' second man-down goal in the third period. The visitors would get their third long-stick point of the game when senior Cody Gallagher assisted on Donnie Litzelman's goal early in the fourth.

Tufts senior face-off man Ryan Le and junior Sawyer Dew both scored their first goals of the season for Tufts in the fourth while sophomore Lucas Johnson added his second.

The Jumbos finished with big advantages of 61-25 in shots and 47-14 in groundballs. The hosts won 25 of 30 face-offs. 

Uppgren led the winners with six points overall (2g, 4a), reaching 60 goals and surpassing 100 points for the season. Richman scored four times and Carbone had three goals with two assists. Howard-Johnson totaled two goals with three assists as 13 Jumbos scored goals overall.

Sophomore Jon Conley got his first career start in goal for Tufts and made nine saves. Senior Brian Droesch played the fourth quarter and made three saves. The Jumbos caused 15 turnovers including two each by sophomore Tyler Olney, Uppgren and senior Jeff Chang. Olney also had five groundballs. Junior Conor Helfrich won a remarkable 15 of 16 face-offs.

Cibelli and Curtin both finished with two goals and an assist for Emmanuel. Sophomore defenseman Chris Baglivi had a good game with two caused turnovers and three groundballs. Senior goalie Austin Lauzier had 15 saves, caused two turnovers and came up with five ground balls.

Game Photos by Kelvin Ma / Tufts

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