Men’s Lacrosse Wins Second Straight NCAA Title

With 19-11 victory over Lynchburg, Jumbos take third trophy in five years

Tufts lacrosse players celebrate goal

The Tufts men’s lacrosse team overcame a slow start to earn a 19-11 victory against Lynchburg College as the Jumbos won the NCAA championship for the second straight year and third time overall on May 24 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Tufts (21-2) trailed 4-0 early, but rallied to take a 5-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Jumbos outscored the Hornets 5-2 in the second quarter to lead 10-6 at halftime. A 6-2 third-quarter advantage allowed the Jumbos to pull away.

Junior Conor Helfrich was selected as Most Outstanding Player after winning 23 of 31 faceoffs. Junior John Uppgren scored four goals with four assists, while senior co-captain Cole Bailey added three goals and four assists.

Head coach Mike Daly’s team added this 2015 national championship to titles won by the 2014 team over Salisbury and by the 2010 squad, also against Salisbury. Tufts was playing in the NCAA final for the fourth time, including 2011.

“It’s special,” Bailey said about winning back-to-back titles. “It speaks volumes about this program, Coach Daly and the rest of the coaching staff, the alumni and the support we have. Without them, none of this is possible. Just a great group of guys. I’ve grown so much being around them for four years.”

Lynchburg (21-3) could not maintain the momentum from a tremendous start. The Hornets had the first 14 shots on goal and scored four times in the opening 8:26 of play. Back-to-back goals by senior Todd Galvin gave Lynchburg a 4-0 lead at 6:34 of the first.

But like the flick of a switch, Tufts turned the momentum. The Jumbos scored five times in a 4:25 span to take a 5-4 lead on sophomore Zach Riman’s goal, with 1:18 remaining in the period. Uppgren had two goals and an assist during the stretch.

“We didn’t need a timeout,” Daly said about his team trailing 4-0. “We were nervous, but we didn’t need a timeout. And these guys, as they have all year long, they just kept grinding, and obviously we went on a pretty nice run from that point on. I have so much respect for these guys and how tough they are.”

The Jumbo advantage continued into the second quarter, but not before Lynchburg junior Austin Stewart set a new NCAA Division III record by scoring his 108th goal of the season. That opened the second-quarter scoring and tied the game at 5-5.

Back on the Attack

But the Jumbos tallied five of the next six goals in the second for their four-goal halftime lead. Goals by Helfrich, sophomore Tyler Carbone and senior Charlie Rubin came within 39 seconds. Uppgren broke his own school record for points in a season (he netted 76) with the 10th Tufts goal at 5:20 of the second quarter.

After scoring the first three goals of the second half to lead 13-6, Tufts had outscored the Hornets 13-2 since the early 4-0 deficit. Bailey had two of those goals. Lynchburg’s Aaron Murphy made it 13-7, but the Jumbos tallied the next three for their largest lead of the game, at 16-7, with 5:29 remaining on the third-quarter clock. Uppgren’s over-the-shoulder goal at 5:29 of the third was worthy of ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 Plays of the Day.

“Coach Daly just lets us play, which is awesome,” Uppgren said. “We have the freedom to do what we want to do out there, be creative. I just went for it. Kind of a free shot.”

Lynchburg earned a 4-3 advantage over the final 15:39 of the game, but it was too little, too late. Murphy had two of the goals and an assist, while Stewart also scored to finish the season with 109 goals.

Senior Peter Gill, junior Garrett Clarke and sophomore Zach Richman each scored twice for Tufts. Junior Alex Salazar made 11 saves in the Tufts net, while senior long-stick midfielder Jeff Chang came up with six groundballs. 

With the four goals and four assists in the championship game, Uppgren finished the season with 76 goals and 53 assists for 129 points, breaking his own single-season scoring record. He also edged Stewart for the NCAA Division III scoring title; his 129 points were three better than Stewart’s 126.

Tufts tied the school record for victories set last season, giving the team a 42-4 mark during that span.

“A lot of guys who came before us set this standard, and we have to live up to that every day,” Helfrich said.

Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at

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