No. 6 Tufts Scores Two in Final 1:24 to Edge Wesleyan

MEDFORD -- Sophomore Sean Kirwan (Boonton Township, NJ) scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the final 1:24 of the fourth quarter as the sixth-ranked Tufts University men's lacrosse team advanced to the NESCAC Championship final with an exciting 11-10 win over Wesleyan University on Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.

Wesleyan, the #8 seed in the tournament who had defeated #1 seed Connecticut College in the quarterfinals, positioned themselves for another upset against two-seed Tufts. The Cardinals scored four straight goals from late in the third into the fourth quarter to turn a 9-6 deficit into a 10-9 lead.

After taking their first lead of the game at 10-9 on a tally by sophomore Teddy Citrin (New Canaan, CT), the Cardinals won the face-off. However, they turned the ball over and Tufts junior D.J. Hessler (Monkton, MD) fed Kirwan from behind the net for a goal that tied the score 10-10 at 1:24 of the fourth. Tufts sophomore Nick Rhoads (McLean, VA) won the ensuing face-off, and after a time-out Kirwan scored off a feed from junior Ryan Molloy (Setauket, NY) with 26 seconds on the clock.

The Jumbos had scored the game's first four goals in a span of 2:52 during the first quarter. Kirwan got the first at 7:03 and senior Jamie Atkins (Concord, MA) tallied the fourth at 4:11. The Cardinals were able to cut the gap to 4-2 by scoring twice in the final 1:43 of the first. Senior Jon Killeen (Derry, NH) scored one and set up the other.

After more than 12 and a half minutes of scoreless play in the second quarter, the teams split four goals late in the period. Sophomore Kevin McCormick (Laytonsville, MD) had a goal and an assist for Tufts. Sophomore DJ Bernatavitz (Orlando, FL) had both of the Cardinals' goals, including one to make it 6-4 with just 1.8 seconds on the clock.

Wesleyan scored two of the first three goals in the second half and was within 7-6 on a strike by junior Graham Gnall (Morristown, NJ) at the 7:45 mark. The Jumbos got the next two to go up 9-6 with 2:57 remaining in the third, but the visiting Cardinals owned the next 15 minutes of play. Citrin started the four-goal run at 2:14 of the third and freshman Max Rosenman (Montclair, NJ) tied the score with a goal at 3:59 of the fourth.

However, Tufts prevailed, with Kirwan providing the heroics as the Jumbos advanced to their second straight conference final and their third overall.

Kirwan's four goals led the Jumbos, while McCormick finished with three goals and an assist. Hessler set up four goals. Five ground balls by senior tri-captain Eytan Saperstein (Hewlett, NY) led the Jumbos defensively. Sophomore Steven Foglietta (Oceanside, NY) finished with seven saves.

Bernatavitz's three goals paced Wes, and he added an assist. Killeen had two goals and two helpers for the visitors. Junior Pete Modera (Piedmont, CA) led the Cardinals with eight ground balls, while senior Matt Ward (Boxford, MA) won 13 of 22 face-offs. Freshman Mark Simmons (East Hampton, NY) and sophomore Grant Covington (Gloucester, MA) split the goaltending chores, recording nine and six saves respectively.

The Jumbos (15-1) will face the winner of Saturday's other semi-final between Bowdoin and Middlebury in the championship game on Sunday at noon. The Cardinals finished their season with an 8-8 record.

2010-05-08



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