MEDFORD, Mass. — The seventh-ranked Tufts men's lacrosse team avenged its only NESCAC regular-season loss with a 17-6 victory over Williams College in the conference championship semi-finals Saturday at Bello Field.
The No. 1 seed Jumbos (15-2) advance to the NESCAC championship game for the sixth straight year and for the seventh time overall tomorrow at noon. They will play No. 3 seed Amherst (14-3), a 12-8 winner over No. 4 Wesleyan in Saturday's second semi-final.
Fourth-seed Williams (10-7) likely saw its season come to a close, but will hold out hope for an at-large berth into the NCAA Championship. The Ephs were led today by three assists from sophomore Jack Lauroesch. Junior goalie Dan Whittam made 14 saves.
Williams had dealt the high-powered Jumbos a stunning 15-8 setback when the teams played at Keene State College on April 1. However, the Jumbos combined their potent offense with an outstanding 15-save performance from senior goalie Patton Watkins to take care of the Ephs easily today.
Senior Cole Bailey, named NESCAC's Player of the Year on Thursday, assisted seven goals and scored once to lead Tufts. Sophomore John Uppgren added four goals and two assists for six points to the Jumbo attack, while junior Chris Schoenhut tallied four goals.
With their output today, Uppgren and Schoenhut both set new Tufts scoring records. Uppgren now has 99 points on the season (51 goals, 48 assists) to break the previous Tufts single-season scoring record of 95 points set by D.J. Hessler in 2011. Schoenhut increased his goal-total to 69, surpassing the previous mark of 66 held by current assistant coach Sean Kirwan from 2011.
The Jumbos scored the game's first three goals before Williams got on the scoreboard with a Andy Grabowski tally at 9:54 of the first quarter. The Jumbos led 4-1 at the first break led by two goals from Uppgren and two assists by Bailey.
After Tufts opened the second-quarter scoring, Williams' Michael Fahey kept it close with a goal at 13:34 of the period. However, Tufts netted the four of the next five, including two Bailey-to-Schoenhut connections, and led 10-3 with five minutes to play until halftime. Steven Kiesel scored in the final minute for Williams and it was 10-4 at intermission.
The Ephs hung in there, playing an even third period with the Jumbos. After goals by Uppgren and junior Peter Gill put the hosts up 12-4, Williams responded with a pair of goals by Conor Roddy to get within 12-6 at the end of three. They held Tufts scoreless over the final 12 minutes of the period.
The Jumbos would nail it down in the fourth though, out-scoring the Ephs 5-0. Among the goals was the 50th of the season by senior tri-captain Beau Wood and the second of the game (12th of the season) from sophomore reserve Ben Andreycak.
Tufts dominated ground balls in the game, 40-17, as they won 15 of 26 face-offs primarily behind the work of sophomore Conor Helfrich. They also forced Williams into 20 turnovers, 11 that were caused by Tufts. In addition to Helfrich's eight ground balls, sophomore Jake Gillespie picked up four.
The Jumbos also finished with a 64-43 margin in shots. Tufts went two for five on extra-man opportunities and held Williams scoreless on all six of theirs.
Watkins finished with a .714 save percentage as he allowed six goals while making the 15 saves. Sophomore Chris Sawyer led the Jumbos with two caused turnovers.
Junior John Maimone-Medwick caused two turnovers for Williams.
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