Conquest in Connecticut as men’s lacrosse picks up wins against Conn., Wesleyan

The Tufts Lacrosse team plays Colby College on April 10th, 2021. Sophie Dolan / The Tufts Daily

After the second weekend of competition in its 2021 spring season, the Tufts men’s lacrosse team remains undefeated. On Saturday Tufts defeated Conn. College 24–16 in New London, and on Sunday the team defeated Wesleyan 27–11 in Middletown. 

The Jumbos, who were recently ranked by the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association as the No. 3 Div. III team in the country, continued to flex their offensive power a week after setting the school record for goals scored in a game. The Jumbos’ set another team record with their combined 51 goals scored over the weekend, breaking the previous record of 39, which was set during the NESCAC championship weekend in 2014. Sophomore attackman Kurt Bruun thinks the team was locked in during the Connecticut road trip. 

“I think overall this weekend we did a good job staying at the same focus and intensity level and not getting too high, not getting too low,” Bruun said. “When the team started scoring a couple of goals we just played our game and stayed focused. I think that’s a big reason why we were successful.”

Fifteen different players scored against Wesleyan on Sunday afternoon. Tufts shot 70 times (41 on goal), while Wesleyan attempted just 41 shots total (23 on goal).

The Cardinals were first to put a point on the scoreboard, with senior forward Ben Shapiro winning the opening face-off and assisting Jake Sexton on a goal just six seconds into the game. The Jumbos responded with five straight goals and finished the first quarter with an 11–3 lead. The first quarter explosion was more than enough to put the Jumbos comfortably ahead for the remainder of the game. Graduate student Matt Treiber led the way with five goals, senior Max Waldbaum had three goals and three assists, junior Mac Bredahl tallied two goals and three assists and Bruun chipped in with three goals and one assist.

The Jumbos defeated the Camels 24–16 during their match Saturday morning, with 11 Jumbos putting points up on the board. Bredahl led the way with five goals and three assists and junior midfielder Cam Kelleher wasn’t too far behind with four goals of his own. Tufts was actually outshot on Saturday, as the Camels racked up 53 shots (38 on goal), while the Jumbos totaled 48 shots (35 on goal). A strong first half allowed the Jumbos to withstand a solid second half effort by the Camels, in which they outscored the Jumbos 8–7. 

Senior Joe Theure and sophomore Cody Wiebe split time holding down the fort in goal for the Jumbos, saving a combined 21 out of 36 shots. 

Joan Carlo, the grandmother of senior defenseman Taggart Eymer, has attended or watched every game her grandson has played at Tufts. After watching the Jumbos dominate this weekend, she commented on what she saw from the team. 

“The way I saw the team today, I thought it was amazing how they were so in sync with each other and the camaraderie of how they really cared about what the other person was doing,” Carlo said. “When I see [Eymer] play on the field everything he does is full of passion, and I think that’s the way the team plays. And every time I see them I’m in awe because of the camaraderie within the group. I can see how when a good play is made that they go to each other and there’s a gathering, and when it’s not so great there’s a little tap on the back or on the waistline to say ‘It’s OK, you’ll do better next time.'”

The camaraderie that Carlo speaks of has impacted players like Bruun during their time at Tufts, and has led to the team’s fun, unselfish approach to the game.

“I think what we do well that leads to our success is just playing fast and having fun,” Bruun said. “I mean it’s probably some of the most fun lacrosse I’ve ever played. Everyone is just having a good time, sharing the ball, playing fast and it’s honestly just a ton of fun to play with everyone.” 

Bruun also commented on what the players can do to finish out their season strong.

“I think for the remainder of the season we have to keep getting better in practice, in games, just keep doing what we’ve been doing. Keep having fun, keep working hard, keep focusing,” he said. “I don’t think a whole lot of changes [need to be made] … but there’s always room for improvement … even after three wins we know that there are bigger goals at hand.” 

The wins from this weekend place the Jumbos as the top team in the East Division of the NESCAC. With the split division and shortened season, every game counts for each team in the conference. The men’s lacrosse team is scheduled to close out the season with games at Bates on April 24, at Colby on May 1 and home against Trinity on May 2. The NESCAC championship is scheduled for May 8, so the Jumbos have less than a month to secure a spot in that game.