No. 6 Men’s Lacrosse Downs No. 3-Ranked Tufts, Improves to 13-1 Overall
Issue   |   Tue, 04/21/2015 - 22:36
Rob Mattson
Men’s lacrosse beat Tufts this weekend for the first time in over 10 years, giving the team momentum as they head into postseason.

The Amherst men’s lacrosse team improved to 13-1 on the season after a forceful 12-6 win over No. 3 Tufts University on Saturday, April 18. The victory at Pratt Field secured the Jeffs’ leading position in the NESCAC before their upcoming final game of the season against Trinity on Wednesday, April 22.

The Jeffs took the lead from the start and didn’t look back. Dylan Park ’16 put the first goal away off a feed from Charlie Gill ’16 with 11:18 to play in the first quarter. Eric Grein ’15 and Quinn Moroney ’16 followed with two unassisted goals before Kane Haffey ’16 received a pass from Mike Litner ’16 to give the purple and white a 4-0 lead after the first 15 minutes.

More than eight minutes into the second quarter, Tufts put their first tally on the board. Amherst responded two minutes later when Gill dished to Litner to bring the lead back to four, followed shortly by a feed from Litner to Haffey which resulted in a man-up goal. With 2:47 left in the first half, Max Keeley ’18 found the back of the net off a feed from Gill, giving the Jeffs a 7-1 lead heading into halftime.

The third quarter proved to be a back and forth contest. Chris Albanese ’17 fired in the first goal of the third quarter off a pass from Gill, who notched his fourth assist of the game on the play. Tufts answered with a quick goal, but Park found Haffey soon after who recorded his third goal of the game.

The Jumbos responded with a goal at the 10:07 mark before Gill netted his first of the game on a dish from Moroney on the man-up opportunity. Tufts replied yet again, followed by an unassisted goal by Kevin Curry. With 2:25 left in the third quarter, the Jumbos managed one more goal to make the score 11-5 before entering the fourth quarter.

Tufts couldn’t close the gap in the last 15 minutes of play. Litner tallied the Jeffs’ final goal of the game with 8:42 left in the game. The Jumbos put their only score of the quarter on the board with just six seconds left of play, and the game ended at 12-6, Amherst.

An outstanding fourth quarter by Cody Tranbarger ’17 proved crucial in the big win. The goalie stopped seven shots in the last 15 minutes of play, contributing to his total of 21 saves on the day.

Tranbarger earned NESCAC player of the week honors for his impressive performance, after allowing just six goals to one of the most formidable offenses in the country this year. He currently leads the league in saves with 208 on the year, also accounting for a 64.2 save percentage. His goals against average also places him at the top of the NESCAC, sitting at a mere 8.52 goals per game.

The sophomore goaltender also led the team with six groundballs, while Matt Virgilio ’15, Ian Kadish ’18 and Rob Butko ’16 notched four groundballs each. Connor Crump ’16 tallied four caused turnovers in the Jeffs’ defensive efforts. The purple and white outshot the Jumbos 66-40 and allowed only nine turnovers throughout the contest.

“The win last Saturday was huge for us because it showed the kind of results we can get when we play a full 60 minutes of Amherst lacrosse and play with a sense of desperation,” tri-captain Virgilio said.

“Although it was a great win, we still have a lot of work to do to accomplish the goals we set and have to turn our attention to a dangerous Trinity team this week.”

The team’s 8-1 conference record now situates them at the top of the conference, guaranteeing them a strong ranking heading into the NESCAC playoffs, scheduled to begin the weekend of Saturday, April 25 with a start time and opponent to be determined.

The Jeffs face the Bantams in their final game of the regular season on Wednesday with a 4:30 p.m. start time.