Repeat Performance

Men’s lacrosse advances to NCAA semifinals after edging Cortland State, 10–9

Tufts attacker Andrew Fiamengo

The Tufts men’s lacrosse team built a 10–4 lead early in the fourth quarter and then withstood a furious Cortland State comeback for a 10–9 victory in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals on a raw afternoon at Bello Field on May 18. The Jumbos defeated Cortland by the same score in the quarterfinals last year.

Marching toward a defense of their 2010 national championship, the Jumbos (17–2) advanced to the NCAA semifinals and will play the undefeated laxmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology on May 22. The winner will advance to the NCAA championship game in Baltimore on May 29.

The eight seniors on the team will miss commencement on Sunday, but President Lawrence S. Bacow has decided to repeat last year’s special ceremony for graduating players. Bacow will host a private graduation ceremony for the seniors on Friday morning in the Coolidge Room in Ballou Hall, with their teammates in attendance.

In the quarterfinal, the visiting Red Dragons scored the first two goals and led 2–0 after the first quarter during which the Cortland defense did not allow a Tufts shot on goal.

But the Jumbos stormed back and outscored Cortland 6–1 in the second quarter, featuring three goals by Ryan Molloy, A11. He tied the score at 3–3 with a behind-the-back goal on a man-up situation at the 8:07 mark. Geordie Shafer, A12, gave Tufts the lead for good at 4–3, with 4:33 on the clock. The Jumbos led 6–3 at halftime.

Tufts continued to add to the margin, with back-to-back goals by Kevin McCormick, E12, putting the hosts up 10–4 at 14:36 in the fourth quarter.

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View photos from the Jumbos’ May 18 game against Cortland. Photos: Kelvin Ma

But the momentum turned dramatically after Cortland senior Chris DeLuca scored three consecutive goals to make it a 10–7 game with 7:38 on the clock. Senior Jay DiStefano then netted two straight goals, and all of a sudden the Red Dragons were down one, 10–9, with 1:23 to go.

Cortland’s Justin Battino won the ensuing face-off, and the Red Dragons worked through a hard ride by the Jumbos to get the ball into the box and call time-out with 42 seconds remaining. Cortland worked the ball around, trying to get a good shot, but couldn’t come up with much. An attempt was saved by Patton Watkins, A14, with less than 10 seconds remaining. Watkins hurled the ball out of the Tufts end, and the clock expired.

Watkins, who was seventh in the nation with a .635 save percentage entering the game, finished with 15 saves, including six in the second quarter. Molloy led Tufts with three goals and an assist, while McCormick posted two goals with two assists, and attacker D.J. Hessler, E11, had four assists.

Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at

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