MEDFORD -- The Tufts University men's lacrosse team will play in the 2010 NCAA Division III Championship Game next Sunday (May 30) after overcoming a 6-3 halftime deficit and winning 10-9 at Cortland State University in the NCAA semi-finals this afternoon. The Jumbos (19-1) will play for the NCAA title against Salisbury University, a 14-13 overtime winner against rival Stevenson University in today's other semi-final. The game will be played at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland with a noon start.
Tufts sophomore Kevin McCormick (Laytonsville, MD) scored with three minutes remaining in regulation and sophomore goalie Steven Foglietta (Oceanside, NY) stuffed Cortland senior Brandon Misiszek's (New Hartford, NY) last-second shot as the nationally sixth-ranked Jumbos knocked off the defending national champion and third-ranked Red Dragons, 10-9, at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. The Red Dragons had their 16-game winning streak come to a close and finished 17-3 overall.
Cortland had appeared to take control of the game early on, grabbing a 3-1 lead after the first quarter on goals from Brian Krol (Niskayuna, NY), Mike Tota (Webster, MA) and Greg Wright (Irondequoit, NY), and stretching the advantage to 6-2 at the 6:02 mark of the second quarter as Krol, Tom Burke (Massapequa, NY) and Jay DiStefano (Huntington, NY) found the back of the net. Tufts, however, took some momentum into the half when junior Ryan Molloy (Setauket, NY) assisted on junior Matt Witko's (Chappaqua, NY) man-up goal at the 1:00 mark to make it a 6-3 game.
Krol quickly gave Cortland back a four-goal lead on a man-up goal, his third score of the game, off Wright's assist just 1:32 into the third quarter. The Jumbos, however, went on a six-goal run to turn the tide and take a 9-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Junior Sean Kirwan (Boonton Township, NJ) got the rally started with three straight goals at 9:00, 2:44 and seven seconds of the third. His first score was a man-down goal just as a Tufts penalty was expiring.
Junior D.J. Hessler (Monkton, MD) then tied the game at 7-7 with a goal at 11:51 of the fourth quarter and assisted on junior Alec Bialosky's (Moreland Hills, OH) goal 16 seconds later as the Jumbos earned their first lead of the game. McCormick pushed the lead to 9-7 with a man-up goal at 10:37. Cortland answered on Burke's second goal at 7:18 and Wright's score at 3:48, setting up the final hectic minutes.
Tufts senior Jamie Atkins (Concord, MA) sent a pass to McCormick from the left side of the cage and McCormick put a 15-yard shot past Kaminski for what proved to be the game winner. The Red Dragons won the ensuing face-off, but lost possession. After a successful clear, Tufts turned the ball back over to Cortland with 1:48 remaining. The Red Dragons then gave the ball back to the Jumbos at the 1:12 mark. The trading of turnovers continued when Justin Schneidman (Katonah, NY) forced a Tufts turnover at 1:00, but Cortland lost possession on its clear attempt on a hard check at midfield by Tufts senior tri-captain Doug DiSesa (Wynnewood, PA).
Burke then forced another Jumbo turnover with 43 seconds remaining and the Red Dragons were able to successfully clear the ball. Cortland squeezed off two shots, one by Misiaszek at 12 seconds and another by Hayes at nine seconds, setting up Misiaszek's final attempt at sending the game into overtime. Misiaszek worked the ball from behind the cage on the right side, moved in on goal but his point-blank shot from the right side of the crease was denied by Foglietta's stick and the horn sounded ending Cortland's four-year run in the NCAA Div. III championship game.
Foglietta stopped 16 shots for Tufts, including eight in the first period. Kirwan and McCormick both scored three goals, while Hessler finished with a goal and two assists. Witko added two goals. Senior tri-captain and defenseman Eytan Saperstein (Hewlett, NY) led the defense with five ground balls, while Bialosky recorded four ground balls to go with a goal and an assist. Sophomore Nick Rhoads (McLean, VA) won 13 of 23 face-offs and collected a game-high 12 ground balls. The Jumbos won the ground ball battle 46-30.
Krol tallied three times to lead Cortland, while Burke was the leading scorer with two goals and three assists for five points. Wright had two goals and an assist in the game. Misiaszek and Schneidman were two of the four Red Dragons who finished with three ground balls. Mike Kaminski made seven saves in goal.
Tufts, which had never been to the NCAA Quarterfinals prior to this year, continues its historic 2010 season in Baltimore next Sunday.
|Tom Burke||(2, 3)|
|Greg Wright||(2, 1)|
|Brian Krol||(3, 0)|
|Mike Tota||(1, 0)|
|Jay Distefano||(1, 0)|
|Mike Kaminski||7 (0.412)|