MEDFORD – The fifth-ranked Tufts University men's lacrosse team begins its 2018 post-season on Saturday by hosting the Middlebury College Panthers in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Quarterfinal at Bello Field. Game time is 3:30 p.m.
Head coach Casey D'Annolfo's Jumbos finished the conference season in a dead heat with Amherst College and Wesleyan University, all with 9-1 records. The three teams were even in all of the tie-breaker procedures, so it came down to names being pulled out of a hat. Tufts came out as the third seed with Wesleyan taking #1 and Amherst second.
The Jumbos are seven-time conference champions, with only this weekend's opponents from Vermont matching that amount. The Jumbos and the Panthers are the two most successful teams in the NESCAC Championship. Tufts is the only team in the conference to appear in all of the 17 tournaments since it started in 2001 and has recorded a 28-10 record with two runner-up showings in addition to their titles. Middlebury, one of four squads with 16 NESCAC Tournament appearances, has a 26-9 mark along with four runner-ups.
The Jumbos (13-1 overall) overcame a 7-3 deficit in the second half to defeat the Panthers 13-10 just last Saturday in Vermont. Tufts is second in the league scoring 16.5 goals per game, while they rank fourth allowing 10.52 per contest. The Panthers (9-6, 5-5 NESCAC) are eighth in both categories, scoring 11.07 and giving up 11.33.
Tufts is led in scoring by junior Danny Murphy with 31 goals and 39 assists for 70 points, fourth-most in the league. Middlebury's offensive leader is sophomore AJ Kucinski, who has tallied 29 goals with 21 assists for 50 points.
The winner will advance to the semi-finals at the site of the highest remaining seed next Saturday (May 5).