Men's Lacrosse | Jumbos trample Lord Jeffs in season opener
Flurry of first half goals propels Tufts to 1−0
Published: Monday, March 15, 2010
Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010 08:03
The men's lacrosse team opened its season slate against familiar NESCAC foe Amherst, and for the second straight year, the Jumbos garnered what has become a familiar result against the Lord Jeffs: a resounding victory.
The nationally ninth−ranked Jumbos scored 18 goals on 42 shots Saturday in Amherst, Mass. While the Lord Jeffs' defense committed itself to shutting down Tufts junior DJ Hessler — who in last year's meeting lit up Amherst with four goals and six assists — an array of Jumbos stepped up to propel the team to its seventh consecutive win over Amherst dating back to 2004.
"We had a lot of different players score, which is a testament to how hard we've been working in the off−season," senior tri−captain Doug DiSesa said. "Everyone's still pretty upset about the way last season ended, so we've been training pretty hard and working on our mental toughness."
Saturday's 18 goals were spread out among 12 Jumbos, including a pair each from DiSesa and a pair from junior attacker Ryan Molloy. Molloy contributed two assists as well, leading the team with four total points. Sophomore midfielder Kevin McCormick, junior attacker Brian Donovan, junior midfielder Matt Witko and senior tri−captain midfielder Mike Droesch all chipped in two goals apiece as part of a balanced Jumbo attack.
"I was a little surprised, but I'm really happy that the scoring was spread around," Droesch said. "It shows that the talent on this team is spread out and that everyone is capable of stepping up and making plays."
The game started with two quick Amherst face−off wins and ensuing goals by sophomore midfielders Alex Fox and Evan Redwood, which put Tufts in a 2−0 hole early in the first quarter. But the Jumbos kept their cool and reeled off eight consecutive goals to close out the quarter. Tufts came out strong in the second quarter, scoring four goals and putting 14 of its 16 shots on goal. The lead was 12−2 at the half, and the Jumbos never looked back.
"We've prepared all along to never let the score affect how we play," McCormick said. "We go one goal at a time, so it didn't really faze us to be down 2−0 because we knew we could come back and win."
The third quarter began with a lull in the action, as the Lord Jeffs controlled possession, outshooting the Jumbos 13−1 but failing to capitalize. The lone goal of the quarter — an unassisted score by Amherst freshman midfielder Jeff Izzo — narrowed the lead to 12−3 going into the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter, Tufts stretched its lead out to 16−4. Amherst produced a run of four goals late in the period, but ultimately the Jumbos lived up to their top−10 ranking and were able to cruise to a victory.
While the team is content with Saturday's season−opening rout, there are still some potential problem areas in which the Jumbos can improve as they enter the meat of the season. Tufts spent 10 minutes playing a man down on Saturday after committing 11 penalties. The Lord Jeffs, by comparison, had seven penalties for six total minutes. Still, the Jumbos only gave up one goal while disadvantaged and scored on three of their own man−up opportunities.
For Tufts to maintain its high national ranking, discipline is essential. As the Jumbos start to face tougher offensive teams, staying on the field and out of the penalty box may make the difference in the game.
"We played a lot of man−down, and we did a good job of it, but we need to limit our penalties," Droesch said.
With Saturday's win, Tufts moves to 1−0 on the year. Tomorrow afternoon the Jumbos will host Lasell College in the home opener at Bello Field. In 2009, Tufts trounced Lasell 22−8 in the midst of an eight−game, season−opening winning streak. This Tuesday, the Jumbos hope for a repeat performance.
"We expect to win every game that we go into," DiSesa said. "Lasell is a good program, and we've got to prepare for it like every other game. We need to have all of our focus on Lasell because they are the only team that can affect our season right now."