MEDFORD – Senior co-captain Ben Connelly scored a career-high seven goals as the fourth-ranked Tufts University men's lacrosse team defeated #12 Bates College, 19-14, in a NESCAC showdown Tuesday night at Bello Field.
|Stewart Stockdale caused two turnovers and had five groundballs defensively.|
The Jumbos and Bobcats entered the game tied for first place in the conference with 6-1 records. The visiting Bobcats led just once after scoring the first goal, but they twice came back from big deficits and were within 16-14 with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Connelly scored two of Tufts' three goals from there for the 19-14 final.
Sophomore face-off man Kyle Helfrich won 22 of 33 draws for the Jumbos, who improved to 12-1 overall and 7-1 in the league. They are now alone atop NESCAC. Bates (9-3, 6-2) was led by five goals and three assists from senior Matt Chlastawa.
Junior Curtis Knapton scored the game's first goal set up by Chlastawa 40 seconds in. The Bobcat lead was short-lived though, as Tufts scored eight of the next nine goals and was up 8-2 with 10:15 remaining in the second quarter. Tufts had six different goal scorers during the stretch, with Connelly and junior Nick Shanks scoring two each.
Bates rallied to score the final five goals of the second period making it a one-goal game. Chlastawa had two goals and an assist during the run, including a goal with two seconds left until halftime. Bates junior goalie Rob Strain made a save, fired a pass up the middle to Chlastawa and he outran the Jumbo defense and scored to pull Bates within 8-7 at the half.
The Jumbos would regain control with a strong third quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 6-2. Connelly and sophomore Max Waldbaum both scored twice during the third as the Jumbos took a 14-9 advantage.
Tufts led 15-10 after a goal by sophomore Garrett Samuelson at 13:19 of the final quarter before Bates gave it one last push. They out-scored the hosts 4-1 during an eight-minute stretch to close within 16-14. Chlastawa had two of the tallies. However, Connelly answered 11 seconds after the final Bates goal and the Jumbos were able to finish off the victory.
Connelly's seven goals are tied for the sixth-most in a game in Tufts history. Shanks added three goals and an assist to the Jumbo attack, while Waldbaum scored three times. Senior long-stick midfielder Stewart Stockdale caused two turnovers and grabbed five groundballs. Senior goalie Mason Pollack finished with 14 stops.
Senior Andrew Small added three goals and an assist for Bates. Strain made 16 saves in goal and caused two turnovers. Freshman Jack Golden finished with five groundballs. The Bobcats scored twice on four man-up situations and did not commit a penalty in the game.
Tufts out-shot the Bobcats 63-50 and won the ground-ball battle 40-27.
The Jumbos host Middlebury College on Seniors Day Saturday at Bello Field. Bates is at Amherst on Saturday for a 1 pm start.