-- Preview courtesy of the NESCAC --
HADLEY, Mass. – Wesleyan, the defending NESCAC Champion, will host the remaining rounds of the 2018 NESCAC Men's Lacrosse Championship on Jackson Field. The top-seeded Cardinals will face No. 4 Williams in one semifinal on Saturday, May 5, while No. 2 Amherst meets No. 3 Tufts in the other semifinal. The winners will square off in the championship game on Sunday, May 6 at noon.
All three games will be streamed online via the Northeast Sports Network (NSN), links can be found at NESCAC.com. Streams are also available through Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV (search for NESCAC).
The first semifinal between Wesleyan and Williams features two strong defensive teams, while the second semifinal pits the top two scoring offenses against each other in Amherst and Tufts.
Wesleyan (13-2), which is the top seed for the first time in program history, has won five straight games and advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row following a 16-11 win over No. 8 Bates in the quarterfinals. The Cardinals own the top defense in the conference, allowing 8.63 goals per game. Sophomore goalie Otto Bohan (Westlake, Ohio) anchors the defensive unit for Wesleyan. He leads the league with a 7.67 goals against average and ranks second in save percentage (.565). He is 11-1 in 12 starts in net this season. The attacking trio of junior Carter Hawthorne (Massapequa, N.Y.), rookie Ronan Jacoby (Glastonbury, Conn.) and senior Harry Stanton (New Canaan, Conn.) are the top offensive threats for Wesleyan. Hawthorne has 65 points to lead the Cardinals and is tied for the league-lead in assists (49). Jacoby's 46 goals rank fifth among the NESCAC leaders and Stanton, Wesleyan's all-time leader in goals, has 43 goals and 51 points this season.
No. 4 Williams (9-7) enters the tournament having won five of its last six games as it pursues a spot in the championship game for the first time since 2008 when the Ephs won their only NESCAC title. The Ephs handed No. 5 Connecticut College a 10-4 loss to advance to the semifinals for the third time in five years. Sophomore attack Kevin Stump (Allentown, Pa.), who has started every game, leads the Ephs in scoring with 56 points on 42 goals and 14 assists. Sophomore midfielder John Hincks (Newtonville, Ma.), who led the Ephs with six points in the win over the Camels, has a team-high 27 assists and 41 points. Sophomore George Peele (Norwalk, Conn.) is the top net minder for Williams, having played all but 74 minutes this season. Peele carries a 10.55 goals-against average into the contest versus Wesleyan and owns a .526 save percentage.
Wesleyan is 4-0 against Williams in the NESCAC Championship series. The Cardinals posted a 15-8 victory in the quarterfinal round last season. Wesleyan edged Williams, 9-8, in the season opener on March 3.
No. 2 Amherst (14-2), which is seeking its first NESCAC title, has won six straight contests and 10 of its last 11, including a 24-16 victory over No. 7 Bowdoin, to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2015. The Mammoths are the top scoring team in the NESCAC, averaging 19.50 goals per game. Amherst also leads the league in ground balls (40.0 pg) and caused turnovers (167) this season. Junior Evan Wolf (Wynnewood, Pa.) and sophomore Colin Minicus (Darien, Conn.) are the top scoring duo in the conference, ranking 2-3 among the scoring leaders. Wolf leads the Mammoths with 84 points and has netted a league-leading 53 goals. Minicus has registered 82 points on 39 goals and a team-high 43 assists. Sophomore Chad Simons (Warren, N.J.) is 8-1 in goal and owns a .537 save percentage in over 500 minutes of action this season.
The Mammoths will have to get past No. 3 Tufts (14-1) to earn a spot in the championship game for the third time in program history. Tufts will get a chance to atone for its lone loss of the year, a 20-16 setback to Amherst on April 14. Tufts, which has won seven NESCAC titles, has the second-best offense in the NESCAC, netting 16.47 goals per game. Junior Danny Murphy (Hauppauge, N.Y.) paces the attack, ranking fourth in the conference in scoring with 78 points on 34 goals and 44 assists. Murphy registered eight points in a 16-12 win over No. 6 Middlebury in the quarterfinals. Junior Ben Connelly (Winnetka, Ill.) is another offensive weapon for the Jumbos, his 45 goals rank sixth among the NESCAC leaders. Sophomore Mason Pollack (Arlington, Va.) is 11-1 in net for Tufts and owns a .551 save percentage on the year.
Tufts holds a 3-1 advantage over Amherst in the NESCAC tournament. The teams last met in the 2015 championship game with the Jumbos earning a 16-4 victory to claim their sixth NESCAC title.
Results for the NESCAC Men's Lacrosse Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.