MEDFORD - Senior Michael Mattson scored five goals, including three during the game's decisive stretch, as the #3 Tufts University men's lacrosse team opened its NESCAC campaign with a 16-13 victory against #12 Middlebury College on Friday night at Bello Field.
|Michael Mattson scored a career-high five goals|
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was moved due to cold weather concerns. Despite snow in Medford on Friday, the field was cleared for game time and the first half was played under good conditions. However, a squall came in at the start of the second half and the final 30 minutes were played in snow, cold and wind.
The teams were tied 9-9 after Middlebury's A.J. Kucinski scored with 5:19 remaining in the third quarter. However, the Jumbos would net the next five goals including three by Mattson to lead 14-9 at the end of the third. They scored twice in the final 13 seconds of the quarter, one by Mattson and then a face-off win and goal by senior Tucker Mathers.
Middlebury would score four of the next five goals to pull within 15-13 and 10:21 still remained. Junior Henry Riehl, who had seven goals versus Endicott on Tuesday, started the Panther run with a pair of strikes less than a minute apart. A man-down goal by Kucinski got Middlebury within two, but they would not score again.
The Jumbos, who improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the league, also received three goals and an assist from sophomore Ben Connelly. Senior Lucas Johnson added two goals and two assists. The goaltending tandem of sophomore Ben Shmerler (12 saves) and junior Robert Treiber (5 saves) combined for 17 stops in the Jumbo net. Treiber earned the win as Tufts emerged out of a 6-6 tie at the half.
Riehl's four goals led Middlebury (2-1, 0-1 NESCAC), while Kucinski finished with three goals and an assist. Freshman Jake Madnick won 21 of 30 face-offs for the Panthers, who also had a 53-49 advantage in shots. The visitors played a pair of goalies as well, with starter Will Ernst making four saves and Will Perry stopping eight in the second half.
Middlebury opened a 4-2 lead early, but the Jumbos scored twice in the last 1:12 of the first quarter to tie the score at 4-4 after 15 minutes. Included among Tufts' goals was a man-down tally by junior Holden Rosen Grupp. The teams also traded goals in the second quarter with two each for the 6-6 halftime score.
The Jumbos and the Panthers continued to go back and forth early in the third. Johnson assisted a pair of Tufts goals that put them up 8-6, but Middlebury answered with the next two and tied it 8-8 on a Riehl goal at 7:30. After Jumbo sophomore John Cordrey and Kucinski traded goals, Tufts went on its run that would give the hosts the lead for good.
Joseph Zelkowitz scooped six groundballs for Middlebury.
The Jumbos play next at home against Endicott College on Sunday at 3 p.m. Middlebury is at St. Lawrence on Tuesday at 5 p.m.