Tufts vs. Colby
April 26, 2009
The Game Story:
MEDFORD -- The eighth-ranked Tufts University men's lacrosse team put together a four-goal run during a 10-minute span late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, spacing itself from visiting Colby College and going on to a 12-8 victory over the Mules in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament at Bello Field on Sunday afternoon.

Tufts (12-3), the third seed in the conference tournament, moves on to the semi-final round, where they face #2 seed Bowdoin College at Middlebury College next Saturday (May 2). The host Panthers and #4 seed Wesleyan will meet in Saturday's other semi-final. Upstart Colby, the tournament's sixth seed, finishes its 2009 season with an 8-7 record.

Sophomore D.J. Hessler (Monkton, MD) scored the game's first goal, but Colby had a 3-1 lead after sophomore Mark Squicciarino (Titusville, NJ) scored twice during a three-goal stretch that gave them a 3-1 advantage at 9:20 of the second period. Tufts used its own three-goal run and took a 4-3 lead into halftime, including the go-ahead goal by freshman Kevin McCormick (Laytonsville, MD) at 3:13 of the second.

Tufts senior tri-captain Clem McNally (Far Hills, NJ) and Colby junior Whit McCarthy (Darien, CT) traded goals early in the third quarter before Tufts mounted its game-changing run. Both Hessler and McNally scored man-up goals as Tufts scored four unanswered to take a 9-4 lead at 12:28 of the fourth quarter. Colby still had life, scoring three of the next four goals, including two by Squicciarino giving him four on the day, and it was a 10-7 Tufts lead with 6:46 remaining. Tufts was seven for 10 on face-offs in the fourth quarter, and two wins by freshman Nick Rhoads (McLean, VA) led to goals by Hessler and sophomore Matt Witko (Chappaqua, NY) that gave Tufts a 12-7 margin with 6:01 to play. Junior Patrick Briody (Hopewell, NJ) scored the game's last goal for Colby at 2:31.

Hessler had three goals with two assists to lead Tufts, tying the team's single-season scoring record in the process. He now has 36 goals and 40 assists for 76 points, matching Bryan Griffin's 2004 campaign of 76 points on 41 goals and 35 assists. With three goals against Colby, McNally pushed his total to 48 on the year, one shy of the team record (49) set by Dan Kollar in 2000. Witko and sophomore Ryan Molloy (Setauket, NY) scored twice each for Tufts, which leads the conference with 220 goals. Rhoads won eight of 14 face-offs and senior goalie Matt Harrigan (Darnestown, MD) finished with 11 saves.

Squicciarino added an assist and two ground balls to his four goals for Colby. McCarthy scored twice, sophomore Craig Bunker (Topsfield, MA) won 10 face-offs and had five ground balls, and senior middie Jason Forino (Sudbury, MA) also scooped up five ground balls. Mules senior goalie Alex Farmer (Madison, CT) stopped nine shots.

The final statistics were remarkably even, with Tufts taking a 37-36 edge in shots and 31-29 in ground balls. Each squad won 12 face-offs, and both were successful with man-advantages. The Jumbos were three for four with an extra man and Colby was two for five.