No. 4 Tufts Holds off No. 13 Middlebury

MEDFORD - Visiting Middlebury controlled the early and late portions of the game, but Tufts dominated more in the middle and came away with a 14-13 victory over the Panthers in a battle of NESCAC top 15 men's lacrosse teams on Sunday at Bello Field.

Junior Dan Leventhal (Chappaqua, NY) scored four second-half goals to lead Tufts, who won their eighth straight. The #4 Jumbos improved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in NESCAC.

Freshman Jon Broome (Mountain Lakes, NJ) finished with three goals and an assist for #13 Middlebury (8-2, 5-2 NESCAC).

The Panthers charged out to a 4-1 lead, with Broome's second goal of the first period giving them the three-goal margin with 2:57 remaining. However, Tufts scored an unlikely goal as time expired in the period. With 5.7 seconds on the clock, senior Matt Callahan (Acton, MA) flung the ball upfield from near the Jumbo goal. As the ball skidded through the Middlebury end, Jumbo sophomore Chris Schoenhut (Mill Neck, NY) retrieved it and scored to pull the Jumbos within 4-2.

The goal seemed to give Tufts some momentum. They scored the first two of the second period and tied it 4-4 with a Cole Bailey (Millersville, MD) tally at 11:02. However, Middlebury responded with three of the next four goals and led 7-5 after sophomore Joel Blockowicz (Potomac, MD) scored with 4:14 on the clock.

The Jumbos would tie the score at 7-7 heading into halftime, starting a 9-1 run that gave the hosts a 14-8 advantage early in the fourth. The Jumbos outscored the Panthers 6-1 in the third quarter as Leventhal scored three times and junior Beau Wood (Sherwood Forest, MD) added two more. Leventhal's fourth of the game gave Tufts the 14-8 lead early in the final quarter.

Middlebury rallied in the final nine minutes, scoring five unanswered goals by five different players to pull within 14-13. The Panthers had a man-up goal by senior Scott Redmond (Essex Fells, NJ) to start the run at 8:42 and then another by senior tri-captain Stew Kerr (Lake Forest, IL) making it a one-goal game with 24 seconds remaining. On the ensuring face-off, Jumbo senior Brian Ruggiero (Huntington, NY) got the win and Tufts was able to run out the clock.

Ruggiero won 16 of 29 face-offs overall in a strong performance. Bailey led Tufts with five points on two goals and three assists. Wood had a four-point game and junior Peter Bowers (Contestoga, PA) scored twice. Senior defenseman John Heard (Greenwich, CT) caused three turnovers and finished with five groundballs. Sophomore Garrett Read (Medfield, MA) also caused three turnovers. Freshman goalie Alex Salazar (Summit, NJ) recorded 13 saves.

Senior Mike Giordano (Ridgewood, NJ) added two goals and two assists to the Middlebury attack. Senior Andrew Metros (Kings Point, NY) had two goals and an assist, while Blockowicz tallied twice. Senior Zach Driscoll (Concord, MA) was excellent defensively causing five turnovers. Junior goalie Nate Gaudio (Cheshire, CT) made 11 saves.

Middlebury had a 47-41 final advantage in shots, though Tufts took groundballs 31-21. The Panthers capitalized on two of seven extra-man opportunities and held the Jumbos scoreless on their two man-up tries.

Tufts plays at Endicott on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm. Middlebury hosts Trinity next Saturday at 2:00 pm.

2013-04-07



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