Teams: Men's Lacrosse: Press
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
HISTORIC WIN OVER MIDDLEBURY ALLOWS MEN'S LACROSSE TO HOST NESCAC
MEDFORD -- With its first victory over Middlebury College in 40
years on Saturday, the Tufts University men�s lacrosse team clinched
its first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
|The Jumbos celebrate their first-ever NESCAC
regular-season title following Saturday's 7-6 overtime victory against
Middlebury, the program's first win against the Panthers in 40 years
The Jumbos will host the semi-final and championship games of the
2007 conference tournament this weekend at Bello Field in Medford.
Tufts gets Middlebury again in the first semi-final on Saturday (May
5) at noon. Wesleyan University and Williams College will play in
the other semi at 3:00. Saturday�s winners will meet in the
championship game on Sunday (May 6) at noon.
Head coach Mike Daly�s Jumbos finished the NESCAC season with an 8-1
record and are currently 12-2 overall with a #7 ranking in the
United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll. Wesleyan
also finished 8-1 in NESCAC, but Tufts defeated the Cardinals 9-6 back
on March 24 in their first conference game of the season.
In their last conference game on Saturday, Tufts got the monkey off
its back against Middlebury. The Panthers had won 29 straight games
against the Jumbos dating back to 1969. The last Tufts victory was
by an 8-5 score during the 1967 season. Among the setbacks dealt to
Tufts by Middlebury include a 12-11, triple-overtime game in last
year�s NESCAC tournament semi-finals and a 15-10 final in the 2004
NESCAC Championship game.
When Middlebury�s Mike Stone scored while lying on the turf to tie
Saturday�s game at 6-6 with 47 seconds remaining in the fourth
quarter, it seemed as if their nemesis would get the better of them
again this year. However, after Tufts was awarded the overtime
face-off on a Middlebury infraction, Jumbo junior Chase Bibby
(Marblehead, MA/St. John�s Prep) fired home a shot 1:45 into the
first overtime period for the victory, one of the biggest in Tufts
Tightly-contested wins were the norm for the Jumbos this year. The
team started the year without much fanfare, but caught the attention
of the lacrosse world one week in late March. They traveled to
Roanoke for a March 20 game and beat the Maroons, 13-12, on a man-up
goal by senior Chris Connelly (Wilton, CT/Wilton) with 1:19
remaining in the fourth quarter. Four days later, their win at
Wesleyan would eventually make the difference in winning the NESCAC
regular-season title. As the season moved into April, the Jumbos
made a habit out of winning close games during the competitive
"This team does not have many stars," head coach Mike Daly said. "We
do have a great group of guys who work hard and love lacrosse. So
many guys have stepped up for us this year and at different times.
"They have been a joy to be around. Going all the way back to the
fall when our seniors run and organize everything, it became clear
that this group was special," Daly continued. "The seniors are
proactive with everything, they are great communicators, and they
have just been great mentors to the entire team. That leadership and
closeness has allowed us to deal with injuries, conflict, and
adversity in such a positive way."
The Jumbos are currently fifth in NESCAC with 9.43 goals a game,
while defensively they are fourth with 7.86 goals allowed per game.
They feature NESCAC�s leading goal-scorer in sophomore Clem
McNally (Farhills, NJ) with 34. Senior tri-captain Mark
Warner (Wading River, NY/Shoreham Wading River) is one of the
league�s best all-around on attack, and is currently tied for third
in the NESCAC scoring race with 44 points. Connelly has 30 points,
including 19 goals.
Two-time NESCAC Player of the Week Matt Harrigan (Darnestown,
MD/Landon) is the backbone on defense in goal. He is second in NESCAC with
12.57 saves per game, and is also in the top five for the league
with a 7.86 goals against average and .613 save percentage. He has a
veteran group of defenders in front of him led by starters Wiley Dornseif
(Littleton, CO/Phillips Exter), Alex Bezdek (Duxbury,
MA/Duxbury) and Tucker Merrigan (Greenfield,
MA/Loomis-Chaffee). The rest of the team, numbering 44 in all,
has come together as a whole during this special season.
The NESCAC champion will gain an automatic berth into the NCAA
Division III Championship. The other three teams this weekend will
be aiming for Pool C berths into the tournament. Tufts is attempting
to qualify for its first NCAA Tournament.
NESCAC's Tournament Preview