Score: Wesleyan 17, Tufts 2
Records: Wesleyan (16-1, 9-1 NESCAC); Tufts (12-5, 6-4 NESCAC)
Location: Lewiston, Maine (Garcelon Field)
Date: Saturday, May 6
Time: 3 p.m.
The Lead: The nationally-ranked No. 8 Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team, seeded No. 2 in the NESCAC Championships, routed 10th-ranked and fifth-seeded Tufts University in the semifinals Saturday, 17-12. The Jumbos streak of seven-consecutive NESCAC titles comes to an end, while the Cardinals advance to the NESCAC Championship game behind a stellar 14-goal first half performance, and will play sixth-seeded Middlebury for the title tomorrow at 12 p.m.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was all Wesleyan in the first half as the Cardinals came out hot and never slowed down, jumping out to a commanding 6-0 lead less than nine minutes into action.
- Tufts ended the run at the 5:40 mark with its first goal of the game, and after another Wesleyan goal by Christian Barker '19 just over two minutes later, the Jumbos scored two unanswered to close out the quarter as the Cardinals led 7-3 after one.
- Frank Hattler capped off the 3-0 run by Tufts at the 11:49 mark of the second quarter to get within three, but it was all Wesleyan the rest of the way.
- The Cardinals dominated the majority of the second quarter and scored seven unanswered goals to close the half, taking a commanding 14-4 lead at half.
- Carter Hawthorne '19 led all players with six points (3g, 3a) in the first 30 minutes of action, while Harry Stanton '18 added five (3g, 2a), Barker registered four (2g, 2a) and Cole Turpin '18 and Taylor Ghesquiere '18 each scored two goals.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The second half was a different story.
- After back-to-back goals by Wesleyan to begin the third quarter, the Cardinals took a decisive 12-goal lead. However, Tufts went on a 7-0 run to get within five with 10:04 to play in regulation.
- A goal by Tom Dupont '17 with 7:13 on the clock put Wesleyan back up by six, 17-11.
- Ben Connelly cut the Jumbos' deficit to five once again with 3:25 left to play, however, the deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Cardinals held on for the five-goal victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Hawthorne finished with a game-high eight points on three goals and five assists. Stanton finished with six points (4g, 2a), and Dupont scored three times. Barker and Turpin each registered two goals and two assists, while Stanton added a team-high six ground balls and Ted Bergman '17 made nine saves in net as the Cardinals held the league's highest scoring offense to 12 goals.
- Tufts' offense was led by three goals each from Michael Mattson, Zach Richman and Connelly. Mattson added an assist as well, while Danny Murphy tallied a team-high five points on one goal and four assists. Henry Hollen recorded a game-high seven ground balls, and Tyler Carbone and Tyler Olney each finished with two caused turnovers.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- With the win, the Cardinals advance to the NESCAC Championship game for the first time since 2013 and the seventh time overall.
- Wesleyan improves to 4-3 all-time against the Jumbos in conference tournament play.
- The victory extends the Cardinals' winning streak to 16, and marks its second-straight win against Tufts.
- Wesleyan will play Middlebury for the NESCAC title tomorrow. The last time the two teams met in the conference tournament was 2013, in which the fourth-seeded Cardinals defeated top-seeded Middlebury in the semifinals, 9-8.
- Sunday's final will mark the fifth meeting between the Cardinals and Panthers in the title game, as the two rivals met four-straight years from 2004-07, with Middlebury winning each game.
- Earlier this season, Wesleyan defeated the Panthers on the road, 17-15 on March 18th.
- Wesleyan will play in the NESCAC Championship game tomorrow against sixth-seeded Middlebury on the campus of Bates College. The game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m.