After Strong Start, Men’s Lax Falls to Tufts Onslaught
In spite of another convincing effort against a NESCAC first-place team, Wesleyan endured defeat on Saturday afternoon at Tufts University. The Cardinals made some noise early on, but could only keep the potent Jumbo offense at bay for so long, as the Tufts stampeded back en route to a 10-6 victory. The result improved Tufts’ record to 8-1 in-conference and 12-2 overall, while Wesleyan dropped to 5-4 in-conference and 9-4 overall.
Saturday’s game promised to be an interesting match-up, as Wesleyan and Tufts came into the day as the NESCAC’s statistically best defensive and offensive teams, respectively. Tufts had the highest goals per game average (Avg/G) at 12.00, while Wesleyan had the lowest points against per game average (GaAvg) at 5.96. However, Tufts was also tied with Trinity as the second-best defensive team in the conference with a 6.96 GaAvg. Thus, the Cardinals knew they would have to be in top form in order to upend the NESCAC juggernauts.
Throughout the first half, Wesleyan played impressively, maintaining a characteristically stalwart zone defense. Even though Tufts possessed the ball longer and managed 23 shots, the Cardinals thwarted the Jumbos with consistency, and tri-captain goalie Grant Covington ’12 contributed seven saves. On the offensive side of things, Wesleyan managed the lone goal of the first quarter, as midfielder Aidan Daniell ’14 scored at 13:09 to put the Cardinals up 1-0. In the second quarter, the Cardinals and the Jumbos posted three goals apiece. Midfielder Teddy Citrin ’12 scored at 11:41 and 5:01, and attacker Graham Macnab ’14 scored at 3:53. At the break, Wesleyan was in the driver’s seat with a 4-3 lead.
However, the persistent Tufts offense worked over the Wesleyan back end and staged an impressive run of seven unanswered goals. After scoring the last goal of the first half, the Jumbos won the third quarter 4-0 and scored twice more in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to put Wesleyan in a 9-4 hole. Tri-captain midfielder John Froats ’12 made a dent at 9:21 with the first Cardinal goal since the first half, and midfielder Quentin DellaFera ’15 scored with 0:25 remaining in the game with help from an assist from attacker Dave Murphy ’15, but the Jumbos added one more of their own as well, taking the contest by a score of 10-6.
On Wednesday, April 25 at 4:30 p.m., Wesleyan hosts Connecticut College in the final game of the regular season. As both teams find themselves in a four-way tie for third place in the NESCAC, the outcome will determine how the teams are seeded in the upcoming conference postseason tournament. Come to Jackson Field to cheer on the Cardinals in what could be their last home game of 2012.