Thursday, May 13, 2004

GRIFFIN, DALY LEAD MEN'S LACROSSE NESCAC HONOREES

2004 All-NESCAC Team & Yearly Honors

MEDFORD After a season that brought the first top 10 national ranking in the program's history, the Tufts University Men's Lacrosse team was strongly represented when the 2004 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) honors were announced today.

For the second year in a row, Tufts junior Bryan Griffin (West Islip, NY/West Islip) was voted the conference's Player of the Year. Mike Daly, who for the second straight year led Tufts to a school record for victories, was chosen NESCAC Coach of the Year. Junior Devin Clarke (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) joined Griffin on the All-NESCAC First Team, while sophomore Mike O'Brien (Concord, MA/Middlesex) and senior Dave Richman (Baltimore, MD/Friends of Baltimore) were named to the Second Team.

Griffin was the focus of every team in the league this spring after he was Player of the Year in both NESCAC and New England last year. He topped that performance with a school-record 76 points this spring on 41 goals and 35 assists. With Middlebury College still playing in the NCAA Tournament, Griffin's scoring total is the most in the conference by 15 points. His 2.56 goals per game is also the conference's top mark. A two-time NESCAC Player of the Week this season, he excelled despite taking a pounding around the net every game. He scored 22 goals in nine NESCAC games.

The emergence of several players alongside Griffin brought Tufts to a new level offensively. Clarke and O'Brien were both among the conference's top midfielders this spring. Clarke scored 28 goals and 13 assists for 41 points. His 1.75 goals per game is fifth in the NESCAC. O'Brien scored 24 times with nine assists for 33 points. O'Brien had four goals in a win over Bowdoin on April 7. With the top trio's leadership, Tufts is second in NESCAC with 11.83 goals per game.

Richman was one of three senior defenders who played most of the minutes protecting the Tufts goal. Along with classmates Jesse Miller (Falmouth, MA/Falmouth) and Charles Savicki (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury), Richman helped the Jumbos allow just 8.15 goals per game this season. He was a team tri-captain and four-year starter.

Daly, the sixth-year coach whose teams have improved every season, earned his first conference Coach of the Year award. In addition to increasing the talent on the team, he's established an attitude based on toughness and commitment that has turned the team around. Tufts won three games total in the two seasons before Daly was promoted to head coach in 1999. The Jumbos are now 25-8 in the last two seasons combined.

Tufts' season was literally seconds away from who knows what. Their lone NESCAC loss was 11-10 at Middlebury College on a goal with seven seconds remaining in overtime. With that win they would have been undefeated in league play and hosted the conference tournament. They were knocked out of the NESCAC Tournament with a 10-9 loss to Wesleyan on a goal with four seconds left in the fourth quarter. A win there would have sent them to their second conference championship game and would have made it difficult for the NCAA Tournament selection committee to ignore them.

Tufts finished 13-3 overall, topping last year's12-5 mark for the most victories in a season. The 2004 Jumbos shared first place in the conference for the regular season with Middlebury.

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