MEDFORD - Junior Zach Richman scored eight goals as the Tufts men's lacrosse team advanced to the NESCAC championship game for the ninth time with a 19-11 win over Williams College in a semi-final match-up Saturday at Bello Field.
The Jumbos (15-2), the #1 seed in the tournament, will play #4 seed Middlebury College (12-5) in the conference championship game on Sunday at noon. Middlebury defeated Bowdoin 10-9 in Saturday's other semi-final. Seventh-seed Williams College, which upset #2 seed Amherst in the quarterfinals, saw its season end with a 10-7 mark.
Tufts charged to an 11-2 lead five minutes into the second quarter today before the Ephs rallied to within three goals (11-8) early in the second half. A stretch during which the Jumbos scored seven of eight goals from the third quarter into the fourth allowed them to pull away.
Richman's second goal of the game followed by a face-off win and goal by Conor Helfrich put Tufts up 3-1 early. Tanner MacIvor tallied for the Ephs at 5:18 of the first pulling the visitors within 4-2.
The Jumbos would score the next seven goals to lead 11-2 with 9:52 remaining in the second quarter. Richman scored the first three goals of the run and John Uppgren assisted three straight later. In all, Tufts scored the seven goals in 7:23 of playing time.
Impressively, Williams would get back into the game. Starting at 8:51 of the second period and continuing until 13:40 of the third, the Ephs scored six straight goals to close the gap to 11-8. Junior Michael Fahey tallied three goals with an assist during the stretch.
The Jumbos put an end to Williams' momentum with four straight making it 15-8 on a Richman goal at 6:25 of the third. Fahey scored for Williams at 3:38 of the third, but Tufts ran off three more in a row and led 18-9 on Austin Carbone's strike 29 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Jack Lauroesch scored twice for Williams in the final 5:21, but the Jumbos closed out the win to move on to their eighth straight conference final appearance.
Richman's eight goals tied a NESCAC Championship record for a game. Carbone with three goals and an assist, and Uppgren with four assists followed Richman in the Jumbo scoring column. Carbone also caused three turnovers, as did defenseman Tyler Olney (six groundballs). Helfrich dominated face-offs with 23 wins in 28 attempts. Alex Salazar stopped 16 shots in the Tufts net, five in the opening period.
Fahey finished with five goals and an assist for the Ephs, while Bryson Gilbert-Bono had three assists. Ryan Hamilton and Riley Hoffman both caused three turnovers with Hoffman adding four groundballs. MacIvor had four groundballs as well as two goals. Miles McCarthy made 13 saves in the Eph net, six coming in the first quarter.
The Jumbos finished with advantages of 58-48 in shots and 43-39 in groundballs.
Tufts will attempt to win its seventh straight conference title against Middlebury tomorrow. The Panthers are aiming for their eighth conference championship overall. It will be the fourth time the teams have met in the NESCAC final.