Jumbos close out regular season with four losses, gear up for NESCAC quarterfinals

First-year Midfielder Nick Shanks competes with a Williams player to capture the ball during a game against Williams College in Bello field on April 5. Seohyun Shim / The Tufts Daily

The Jumbos closed out the regular season on Wednesday with a 19-15 loss against the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Last Saturday, Tufts also lost to Wesleyan in a thrilling 17-16 game in which Wesleyan took the lead in the last 30 seconds of the game. Despite a four-game losing streak to end the regular season, the Jumbos posted a winning record of 11-4 on the season and 6-4 in the NESCAC.

The Polar Bears opened up the scoring on Wednesday night in heavy rain. Thirty two seconds into the contest, junior midfielder Matthew Crowell pulled off a shot from the right side of the field that found its way past sophomore goalkeeper Ben Shmerler.

However, it was only a minute before senior midfielder Lucas Johnson equalized. Tufts was briefly behind again before pulling ahead thanks to goals from junior midfielder Griffin Johnson, junior attackman Andrew Seiter and sophomore midfielder Nick Katz. Crowell brought the Polar Bears within reach at 4-3 before Seiter made it 5-3. However, the Polar Bears closed out the quarter with four straight goals to take a 7-5 lead and maintained their lead for the rest of the game.

The second quarter was 3-3, with two goals from senior attackman Michael Mattson and one from sophomore attackman Ben Connelly. Early in the third quarter, the Jumbos leveled the score at 10-10 after successive goals from junior attackman Frank Hattler and another from Katz. However, the rest of the quarter saw five Bowdoin goals and only two more from Tufts.

The Polar Bears went into the last 15 minutes with a three goal advantage that grew to a four goal lead by the end of the game. The Jumbos got close early in the quarter after Connelly and junior midfielder Zach Lesko brought them within one, but three successive goals by the Polar Bears to close out the game made the win out of reach for the Jumbos.

Noticeably absent on Wednesday was Tufts and NESCAC leading point scorer sophomore attackman Danny Murphy, who has 46 goals and 32 assists on the season so far.

The Polar Bears had four man-up opportunities, but the Jumbos ran out the clock on all four penalties.

Junior goalkeeper Robert Treiber explained that communication is key for the team.

“Communication is huge, [as is] staying packed in and not expanding out to leave the middle open,” Treiber said. “We did a good job communicating on the cuts and picks inside.”

According to Hattler, despite Tufts giving away seven full minutes of penalties compared to only 1:30 by Wesleyan, the team was happy with its performance.

“Our team philosophy is to play as hard as we can and let the referees do what they want to do,” Hattler said. “We are going to play our brand of lacrosse, and whatever happens in terms of penalties happens, and we’re okay with that.”

On Saturday, the Jumbos maintained the lead until the final two minutes of the game. The Cardinals got a man-up opportunity less than 30 seconds into the game and quickly took advantage of it. However, Tufts answered with three straight to go 3-1 in the first five minutes. Each team scored twice more, and the Jumbos had a two-goal advantage into the second quarter.

The second quarter mirrored the first in that Wesleyan opened the scoring with a man-up goal, followed by three Tufts goals. Each team scored one more, and the game continued into halftime at 9-5 to the Jumbos.

The third quarter saw the Cardinals close the deficit to 12-11, with three Wesleyan goals by junior attackman Harry Stanton. In the final quarter, the Jumbos led by three goals at one point. Of the last six goals, however, the Cardinals took five. Stanton alone scored three more goals, totaling eight in the game and earning NESCAC Player of the Week for his performance.

With 2:32 remaining, the score was 16-16, and both teams fought desperately to pull ahead. Finally, after several back and forth plays, senior attackman Tom Dupont netted a goal for the Cardinals with 19 seconds remaining, and the Jumbos couldn’t get back the lead before the final whistle blew.

Hattler netted two and assisted one in the final quarter, scoring four goals overall and assisting two. Following this week, Stanton is now tied with Murphy for first place in points in the NESCAC with 78 each.

Robert Treiber made six saves against Bowdoin and seven against Wesleyan.

“Anything outside of 12 yards I like to think that I should save,” Robert Treiber said. “If my guys can keep people outside the 12, which we do a great job of every time, it means that I can have a good chance of making those saves. Defense did a great job of staying on hips, delivering the slides and giving me the best chance of stopping the ball.”

The Jumbos move to 6-4 in the NESCAC and sit at fifth place. Tufts will play Bowdoin again in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament tomorrow in a heated rematch.

Meanwhile, the Jumbos dipped in the national rankings from No. 3 to No. 9 after four consecutive losses.

“Our mentality is that we’re on to the next one,” Hattler said. “In terms of what we’re looking to do going into this weekend, we’re going to play confidently. We know that we’re a great team and capable of beating anyone in the country. We’re going to go out and show that this weekend.”

With seven straight victories in the NESCAC tournament over the last seven years, the Jumbos must win tomorrow’s game if they want to go for an eighth consecutive title.