The Tufts men’s lacrosse team will face off against Wesleyan at Bello Field on Saturday for the teams’ first matchup of the 2018 season. Last year, the team from Middletown, Conn. defeated the Jumbos three times. With Tufts (8–0) currently ranked third in Div. III and Wesleyan (8–1) right behind them at No. 4, the game is bound to be neck-and-neck. The Jumbos have amassed 137 goals this season, averaging more than 17 per game, while the Cardinals (113 goals) are averaging over 13 per game.
In their 2017 season, Tufts got off to a promising start with a 11–0 record. The team then dropped four close games to conference opponents to close out its regular season schedule with a 6–4 NESCAC record. In the Jumbos’ contest against the Cardinals on April 22, they were edged 17–16.
Tufts’ second clash with Wesleyan came in the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament, where the team lost 17–12. Then, in the Jumbos’ third and final matchup of the 2017 season, the Cardinals took a 17–8 victory in the third round of the NCAA tournament ending the Jumbos’ season. Tufts finished with a 13–6 overall record after losing six of its last eight games — including three to their rivals from central Connecticut.
The Jumbos have been preparing for their chance at revenge all year and are very excited to finally take on the Cardinals.
“We feel really confident going into this game,” senior midfielder and co-captain Cam Irwin said. “I honestly didn’t know what they were ranked. We don’t look at rankings often because what matters is how we play our game. Our offense and defense always come out strong and play to the best of their ability. We’re just excited to get out there and play them. We’ve been waiting 12 months for this game, and finally it’s here.”
Tufts and Wesleyan have been on fire this season, with both in the midst of multi-game winning streaks. On Wednesday night, Wesleyan barely defeated No. 7 Amherst, 12–11, taking home Little Three honors for the second straight season. The same night, Tufts won 11–8 at Williams, marking its eighth consecutive win to start the season.
The Jumbos have been working very hard to get to where they are now in their season and feel prepared to take on a competitor of the Cardinals’ caliber.
“I think we spent a long time over the summer reflecting on how the Wesleyan games ended up and how we, individually and as a team, played in those games,” Irwin said. “I think we are more prepared mentally for this game than we were for our three matchups last year.”
The Jumbos will seek to flip the script and avenge last year’s losses to the Cardinals on Saturday at 1 p.m.