Baltimore, Maryland – The Tufts Jumbos take home their second title in four years as they defeated the Salisbury Sea Gulls by a score of 12-9. The offense started slow, but the record day was marked by a third quarter run in which Salisbury failed to catch up. With the win, the senior class finishes their careers just where they ended their freshmen season, hosting the championship trophy.
Tufts Jumbos struck first when Peter Gill scored in the first minute. Salisbury’s Greg Korvin was active early for the Gulls as he scored the first goal and assisted on the second. Salisbury’s second came when Sean Fitzgerald scored. The Gulls were not done when Tom Cirillo scored, assist to Brendon Kendrick giving Salisbury a 3-1 lead to end the first.
The second quarter opened with Salisbury pushing the lead to three when Luke Phipps scored unassisted. Tufts was unable to break into the scoring column until Cole Bailey took it upon himself to make a difference. He drove to the front of the cage and put one past Salisbury goalie Alex Taylor. Following a Tufts turnover and attempted Salisbury clear, Bailey got possession of the ball. He found Beau Wood and he got Tufts within one, 4-3.
Salisbury got one back when the Tufts shot led to a transition opportunity for the Gulls and Mike Kane found Rhett DePol alone for a goal. Salisbury led 5-3. Tufts answers quickly in an unsettled opportunity as Bailey found leading scorer John Uppgren to again bring the lead to one. After a timeout, Tufts tied it when Uppgren got his second straight with the assist again to Bailey.
As each team’s offense found their groove, Tufts goalie Patton Watkins made a few crucial saves to keep his team within reach and Salisbury’s defense held Tufts at bay. When Tufts was able to tie, it was the result of errors in clearing mostly that gave the Jumbos chances. At the half, both teams were tied at five and Tufts was in possession of the ball, as they needed to erase a penalty.
Tufts continued to run with momentum as the second half opened after erasing their early deficit. Their first lead since 1-0 came with Ben Andreycak scored unassisted. On their first extra man opportunity found Andreycak getting his second, assisted by Uppgren. Salisbury would counter with Donovan Lange getting his first to bring the score 7-6 in favor of Tufts.
Tufts would score the next five in a row to take a commanding lead at 12-6. First, Bailey found CJ Higgins after a bad shot went wide. Next the Jumbos Dan Leventhal got his first of the afternoon. On the ensuing face off, Conor Helfrich made the score 10-6. Tufts closed with Peter Bowers and Peter Gill, which was Gill’s second of the game.
The fourth quarter opened with Salisbury cutting into the deficit with goals from both Lange and Mike Kane. Both goalies played very well, stopping in close shots and making acrobatic saves to try to propel their respective teams.
Salisbury got to within three when Sean Fitzgerald got his second of the game, this time on a man advantage. Salisbury committed a one-minute slashing penalty with exactly a minute remaining. With there being no timer on situation during extra man situations, Tufts did not need to even stay within half field.
This is Tufts second National Champion, both times defeating the Gulls. Tufts set a few records during the contest. The Jumbos set the record for goals in a season in all of NCAA lacrosse with 423 and the Jumbos set the record for assists in a tournament (D3) with 45. The most outstanding player named by the media was Cole Bailey who ended the day with one goal, five assists.
Tufts used a run that Salisbury could not overcome to take home the title. At 4-1, Tufts would outscore the Gulls 11 to 5 and in the process scored five straight to double Salisbury at 12-6. Patton Watkins did an incredible job of keeping his team ahead when the Gulls put the pressure back onto Tufts, finishing with seventeen saves. Tufts is now 2-1 against Salisbury in the championship game.