Men’s lax knocks off No. 3 Jumbos

MIDDLEBURY ATTACKER TOM Conley and a Tufts defender look to see if the pass Conley just whipped to the front of the goal will connect. Conley contributed an assist to a 6-0 second-quarter run that proved decisive in the Panthers’ 21-14 victory. Independent photo/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY ATTACKER TYLER Forbes picks a corner for one of his four goals on Saturday during the Panther men’s lacrosse team’s big win over Tufts. The Panthers took over second place in NESCAC with the 21-14 victory.
Independent photo/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team on Saturday picked up its biggest win of the season, knocking off visiting Tufts, 21-14. The Jumbos (6-2, 3-1 NESCAC) entered the game ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III and led D-III in goals per game at 21.

The Panthers improved to 5-3, 4-1 NESCAC (good for second place), heading into a Wednesday game at Hamilton. Next up are games on Saturday and Sunday at Wesleyan and Babson, respectively, both at 1 p.m.

The key stretch in Saturday’s home game came in the second quarter. With the game knotted at 7-7, the Panthers ripped off six straight goals to go into halftime up by 13-7.

Jack Sheehan started the run with a bounce shot at 12:43, and then Russell Thorndike sandwiched two goals around a William Ryan strike. Sheehan made it 12-7 with a missile into the top right corner, and Tyler Forbes, added the final goal in the surge, converting a Tom Conley feed from behind the net.

The margin stayed at six goals by the end of the third frame, as each team found the back of the net three times.

The Panthers killed off a Jumbo man-up situation to open the fourth period, and then gained more momentum when Andrew Ng caused a turnover that led to a Middlebury transition score from Billy Curtis. Tufts came no closer than six goals the rest of the way.

Curtis, who was named NESCAC Player of the Week, had a big game for the Panthers with four goals and three assists. Forbes added four scores and an assist. Ryan chipped in with three and a helper, and Ng scooped a team-high seven ground balls.

MIDDLEBURY MIDFIELDER GORDON Pollock delivers a crunching hit to a Tufts player during Saturday’s game, won by the host Panthers over the Jumbos, 21-14. The Panthers improved to 5-3, and 4-1 in NESCAC play.
Independent photo/Steve James

William Munroe won 11 of 20 faceoffs and Garrett Hawthorne won nine of 18. Goalie Finn O’Connor made 16 saves, as the Panthers outshot Tufts, 62-49, and won the ground-ball battle, 48-39.

Tommy Swank paced Tufts with six goals, and Jack Boyden had a hat trick with two assists. Camden Kelleher led all players with eight ground balls, and goalie Conner Garzone finished with 17 stops.

PANTHER MIDDIE WALKER Stevens looks upfield past a Tufts defender to find a teammate during the Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team’s 21-14 home victory on Saturday. Tufts had entered the game ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III.
Independent photo/Steve James

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