Tufts slip past Union
Jumbos start defense of the title
MEDFORD, Mass. - Junior Sean Kirwan scored two goals with an assist, and freshman goalie Patton Watkins made 18 saves as the Tufts men's lacrosse team opened the defense of its 2010 national title with a 6-5 victory over Union in the NCAA Championship second round on Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.
With the game tied 2-2 at the end of the first quarter, Tufts out-scored Union 3-1 in the second and third quarters to take a 5-3 lead. The Dutchmen twice pulled within one goal in the fourth quarter. However, Tufts held on and advanced to the quarterfinals where they will play either Cortland or Stevens on Wednesday.
Union, making its first NCAA appearance, gave the Jumbos all they could handle. They were led by two goals from junior Ted McKenna and 19 saves from junior goalie Sean Aaron.
Tufts scored a long-pole, man-down goal by senior co-captain Alec Bialosky to lead 1-0 early in the first. However, Union wasn't phased and tallied the next two to lead 2-1 on McKenna's first at 10:38 of the opening period. A man-up goal by Kirwan at 1:24 of the first tied the score at 2-2.
The Jumbos scored another man-down goal by sophomore Sam Diss at 6:01 of the second quarter, but again Union had a response with senior Derek Mayer's goal a minute later to tie it at 3-3.
Senior midfielder Matt Witko figured in the next two goals by Tufts that put the Jumbos ahead for good. He scored with 2:30 remaining until halftime to give the hosts a 4-3 lead at intermission. Then in the third quarter, he drove to the net and passed to Kirwan for a goal with one second remaining in the period for a 5-3 Tufts advantage.
The Dutchmen continued to fight back. Freshman Rob Santangelo scored a minute into the fourth quarter to pull the visitors within 5-4. Kirwan set up senior Ryan Molloy for Tufts' sixth goal with 9:01 on the clock. With Tufts unable to increase its lead to three despite a few chances, McKenna's second of the game for Union had them within 6-5 at the 2:05 mark.
The Jumbos won the ensuing face-off, but turned the ball over. Union took two off-target shots before turning the ball over, and Tufts ran out the clock to get the win.
Both goalies played well as defense ruled the day. Watkins made seven of his 18 saves in the second quarter. Bialosky and Diss finished with four ground balls each, while freshman defenseman Dan Alles (Rockville Centre, NY) had three. The Jumbos did not allow a goal in seven man-advantage situations by Union.
For the Dutchmen, Aaron recorded six of his 19 saves in the second quarter. Mayer finished with a game-high six ground balls, while junior Matt Livingston had three. Santangelo had a goal and an assist in the game.
Union, focusing on controlling possession, had a 44-35 advantage in shots and edged Tufts 32-31 in ground balls. The Jumbos, behind junior Nick Rhoads won eight of the 14 faceoffs.