Division what? Tufts lacrosse teams clean up NH woods

A collage of Tufts women's and men's lacrosse are pictured side by side. Lydia Richardson / The Tufts Daily

On Sunday the Tufts men’s and women’s lacrosse teams hopped on Interstate 93 North to the Everett Turnpike before getting on Interstate 89 and shooting up to Hanover, N.H. for a pair of games against Div. I Dartmouth College.

The women’s game started at 11 a.m., and less than 15 minutes later, the Jumbos were up 5–0. Senior attacker Emily Games scored the first two goals, junior midfielder Anna Clarke tacked on the next two and junior midfielder Kathryn Delaney punched in the fifth.

Dartmouth got on the board with a goal from Nina Nesselbush midway through the half, but Tufts responded less than a minute later with a score from senior attacker Kirsten Grazewski to make the score 6–1. 

Games secured a first-half hat-trick on a score with three minutes to go in the first half and senior attacker Catherine Lawliss scored on a free position shot less than a minute later to give the Jumbos an 8–1 lead heading into halftime. 

Lawliss and Games added two quick goals in the second half to give the Jumbos their largest lead of the day. After a Dartmouth goal five minutes into the half cut the lead to eight, Lawliss picked up a hat-trick of her own to give Tufts an 11–2 lead. 

Lawliss’ third goal was Tufts’ last of the day, but the Jumbos had more than enough of a cushion to win easily and sleep peacefully on the ride back to Medford. Dartmouth put in a few junk time goals to make the final score a slightly more respectable 11–5. 

Junior goalie Molly Laliberty anchored the Tufts defense for all 60 minutes, saving 14 of 19 shots. 

“The defense came up huge with so many stops, shot clock violations, interceptions [and] ground balls. I think it was just a really great team win where the attack came out firing from the get-go, and everybody else was ready to go with them,” Laliberty said. 

It was Dartmouth’s first game of the season, and the team’s roster was partially limited by campus COVID-19 restrictions and injuries, but they did play 15 members of their 2020 team that was 5–0 and ranked in the top 10 of the Div. I Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll. 

“Today was absolutely electric,” first-year Meg Hatton said. “Getting the opportunity to play a Div. I team was such a great test for this team, and I think this score is such a big testament to all the hard work we’ve put in throughout the fall and spring.”

For the Jumbos, the unusual Div. I-vs.-Div. III matchup served as a silver lining in the midst of their bizarre shortened season. The team enjoyed Dartmouth’s facilities, the field and some high quality trash cans that have a special slot for pizza boxes. 

“We were joking by saying ‘hashtag Div. I check,’ talking about how fancy it was … how they had an indoor locker room and … a trash can with pizza boxes. We had a ton of fun up there,” first-year Caroline Sapir said. 

The undefeated Jumbos, currently ranked third in the Div. III IWLCA poll, will host the NESCAC championship game next Saturday against Wesleyan. As for the Big Green, they can lean on the wisdom of alum Robert Frost who said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” 

In the men’s game, Dartmouth jumped out to a 3–1 lead behind goals from Spencer Warezak, Ben DiGiovanni and Peter Lapina. Tufts rebounded quickly, putting together a dominant 7–0 run to close the half, with three goals from senior Bryce Adam, two goals from junior Cam Kelleher and a goal a piece from sophomore Sam Sturim and graduate student Matt Treiber

Dartmouth opened up the second half with a goal from Henry Bonnie before Tufts went on another run. Goals from first-year Mac Bredahl, Kelleher, Treiber and senior Garrett Samuelson put the Jumbos up 12–4 going into the final frame. Dartmouth outscored Tufts 5–3 in the final frame, but it was too little too late, and Tufts won 15–9. 

Tufts controlled the pace of play and possession for much of the afternoon, recording 74 shots to Dartmouth’s 37. Senior Joe Theuer manned the net for the Jumbos, saving 11 of the 20 shots he faced. 

Sunday’s matchup with Dartmouth marked the Tufts men’s lacrosse team’s first game against a Div. I opponent since 1986, when they defeated Holy Cross 11–9. The 5–0 Jumbos, currently ranked second in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Div. III poll, will wrap up their regular season with a game against Colby on Saturday.