MEDFORD – One of 15 Jumbos honored post-game on Seniors Day, Danny Murphy scored seven goals with two assists to lead the fourth-ranked Tufts University men's lacrosse team to a 23-14 win over Middlebury College in NESCAC action Saturday at Bello Field.
|William Pasik was one of 15 Jumbos honored on Seniors Day.|
The Jumbos, who also got four goals and two assists from senior Ben Connelly, improved to 13-1 overall and 8-1 in the conference. Tufts can lock down the #1 seed in NESCAC with a win in their final regular-season game at Bowdoin on Wednesday night.
Middlebury, led today by five goals and two assists from junior A.J. Kucinski, fell to 7-7 and 4-5. They finish their regular-season at Williams on Wednesday.
This was a close game into the fourth quarter. Middlebury pulled within 17-14 when Kucinski scored at 13:06 of the fourth. However, it would be the Panthers' final goal as the Jumbos netted the last six including three by Connelly for the 23-14 final.
The teams went back and forth in the first half when the margin never exceeded two goals. The Panthers had their lone lead 3-2 at 5:08 of the first after Kucinski tallied back-to-back goals. Sophomore Bryce Adam and Murphy had the next two for Tufts 23 seconds apart making it 4-3 Jumbos and they would not trail again.
The game saw seven ties, including 7-7 when Middlebury sophomore Will Brossman scored at 9:38 of the second period. Murphy had two goals in the last nine minutes of the quarter helping the hosts to a 10-8 advantage, but Kucinski scored with 30 seconds remaining until halftime to close the gap to 10-9.
The trend continued into the second half. Tufts scored the first two, both by junior Matt Treiber. However, the visitors answered with two straight including sophomore Alderik van der Heyde's at 11:44 returning the difference to one goal (12-11).
The Jumbos would open up a little bit of breathing room by scoring four of the next five to lead 16-12 at the five-minute mark of the third. Murphy scored two of them. Kucinski continued to produce with one late in the third and early in the fourth keeping Middlebury within 17-14 before the Jumbos pulled away.
Today marked the second time this season that Murphy has scored seven goals in a game. He did it against Trinity on March 23 as well. It's the second game in a row that Tufts had a player score seven as Connelly hit that mark against Bates at Bello Tuesday night. Treiber (3 goals, 3 assists) and sophomore Max Waldbaum (3 goals, assist) also made healthy contributions to the Jumbos' offense today.
On defense, senior Brian Powers caused two turnovers and junior Jack Donohue collected four ground balls. Junior goalie Mason Pollack stopped 18 shots before he was relieved late by senior Ben Shmerler (2 saves). Sophomore Kyle Helfrich had a slight edge on face-offs, winning 21 of 39.
Freshman Tyler Forbes also scored five goals for Middlebury with one assist. Senior defenseman Clay Hunt caused a pair of turnovers and scooped up two groundballs. Sophomore Tyler Bass made 13 saves in goal.
Shots were dead-even at 54, while the Jumbos won groundballs 48-39.