MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University men's lacrosse team will host Wesleyan (Conn.) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship Wednesday at Bello. The Jumbos will look to extend their NCAA tournament home winning streak to 22 games.
Typically, a national tournament matches you up against teams that you don't normally play and are generally unfamiliar with. That could not be farther from the truth for this matchup. This will be the second consecutive season that Tufts and Wesleyan have played three times.
Last season, the Cardinals defeated the Jumbos three times en route to their appearance in the NCAA semifinals. This year, Tufts has won the first two matchups, 14-10 in April and 12-9 in the NESCAC Championship game. They will be looking to complete the sweep when they faceoff Wednesday.
In the first game this season, the Jumbos used a second quarter in which they outscored the Cardinals 4-0 to take a four-point lead into halftime that they never gave up in the second half. Danny Murphy scored two goals and assisted on five others in the game, while Ben Connelly scored four times and Matt Treiber recorded two goals and three assists.
In the NESCAC Championship game, the two sides were tied at five at halftime. Four different Jumbos scored a goal in the third quarter, while goalie Mason Pollack and the defense were able to limit Wesleyan to just two scores in the frame. They led 9-7 after three quarters and never let the Cardinals get closer than that in the fourth. Murphy and Connelly both had big games again and Andrew Seiter contributed three goals and an assist.
Over the two games, Tufts was able to limit the Cardinals' top goal scorer, Ronan Jacoby, to 1.5 goals per game, less than half of his season average. As a team, the Jumbos kept Wesleyan below their scoring average of 12.6 goals per game in both contests. Strong defense will be key in this third matchup as well. Tufts has also been able to exploit a stingy Cardinal defense better than most, averaging 13 goals per game against a squad that has only given up 8.7 a game all season.
The game is set to start at 4 p.m. Ticket prices will be $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Sales will begin at 3 p.m.
If the Jumbos win, they will move on to the NCAA Championship semifinal against the winner of RIT and York (Pa.) The site of the game would depend on the results of the RIT versus York quarterfinal on Wednesday. RIT is the #1 seed in the North and will host the Jumbos if they win. Tufts would welcome York to Medford if the Spartans defeat RIT.
The game would be played this Sunday (May 20). It would be Tufts' fourth semifinal appearance in five seasons.
Written by Curtis Stoychoff, Athletic Communications Intern