While many college students spend their spring breaks traveling, having fun with friends or relaxing at school or home, the No. 2 men’s lacrosse team continued their season of hard work and impressive results with another set of blowout wins against some of the nation’s top squads. First, on March 19, Tufts took on No. 20 Stevens in Hoboken, N.J. where they came away with a 21–7 victory. Then, on March 21, the squad took on No. 18 Cabrini in Radnor, Pa., and conquered the Cavaliers 24–7. Finally, on Saturday, the Jumbos hosted a NESCAC matchup against Trinity, in which they walked away from Bello Field with a 23–9 victory.
Early on in the Stevens game, it was a close matchup as the Jumbos exited the first quarter up 4–3 behind two goals from senior midfielder Jack Boyden, including one only eight seconds into the contest as senior faceoff specialist Mason Kohn won the faceoff and assisted Boyden. Throughout the second quarter, the Jumbos began to pull away, leading 9–5 at halftime. Yet, it was not until the third quarter that the team’s utter dominance displayed itself on the scoreline. The squad’s 11–0 third quarter, which seemed to put the game away, marked the second time this season that the Jumbos refused to allow a goal defensively while simultaneously scoring 10 or more goals themselves.
This monstrous performance propelled the team to the 21–7 win that was headlined by five goals and an assist from senior attackman Kurt Bruun, three goals and an assist from senior attacker Tommy Swank and three goals and a school record-tying 10 assists from Boyden, whose 13 total points also tied his own school and career record. Boyden’s spectacular play in this game along with his four assists in the windy and snowy matchup against No. 8 Lynchburg on March 14 was enough to earn him his second consecutive NESCAC Player of the Week.
“I honestly think it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with our culture and teammates and coaches,” Boyden said. “Everyone works incredibly hard in the fall, and the way we play is a lot of run-and-gun style, which gives our offensive guys and our attackmen a lot of opportunities to score goals and make plays. So honestly, it’s our defense, making great stops and breaking the ball out fast and giving us great transition looks.”
As the squad took on Cabrini, this run-and-gun style of play along with a certain flashiness was apparent. With the Jumbos’ focus and preparation, they came out hard and took it to the Cavaliers early, scoring eight in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter while letting up four and zero, respectively. By putting Cabrini away early with this strong start, it seemed as if the Cavaliers never had a chance. By the end of the game, the 17–4 halftime score became 24–7. The team’s offensive efforts were led by Swank, who recorded six goals and two assists, and Boyden, who recorded four goals and six assists. Swank commented on the importance of getting an early lead against high-level teams.
“Some of these teams that we’ve played, they have every right to be able to play on the same field as us. But we believe if we get out early, and we assert ourselves right from the first whistle, it sets ourselves up really well for the rest of the game and allows us to really focus on ourselves as a team and playing the way that we want to play and the way that we know that we can play,” Swank said.
It also helps the squad to have such a supportive fan base, which was showcased in the Cabrini game. Despite being in the Philadelphia area, the game had a very packed Jumbos fan section.
“It’s awesome. We travel really well. We have a lot of people that come to even our away games, which is great. So having that atmosphere, game in and game out, it’s obviously a lot of fun to play in front of, especially when a big part of that crowd is Tufts supporters,” Boyden said.
Finally, as the squad returned to Medford to take on Trinity, these same principles carried it to victory. The Jumbos’ ruthless attack helped them get out to an 8–1 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 16–3 lead at the half, which gave them the momentum to capture the 23–9 win. The team was again led by Bruun with four goals and two assists, Swank with three goals and Boyden with three goals and seven assists.
The Jumbos’ performance in these games, along with the rest of the season, exhibits how strong they can be. The team’s top-notch talent, coaching, preparation, culture and attitude are simply a recipe for success.
“We talked a lot about just getting a little bit better every day,” Boyden said. “It really comes down to having good days of practice, and just being better the next day than we were the day before, and we think that if we do that we’re going to put ourselves in a really good position.”
“Particularly this year, I do truly believe that every single guy in the locker room has really bought in and really has our goals and our core values in mind,” Swank said. “Everyone buying in, being ready to perform when they’re asked to and doing every single job they get assigned to the best of their abilities has been our greatest strength thus far.”
On Tuesday, the team once again proved that they are elite, defeating No. 6 Union 14–7 after shutting them out in the second half and putting up seven goals of their own. While the Jumbos maintain a ‘one game at a time’ mentality, if they keep up with this level of play, it would be unsurprising to see them back in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field on May 28 with an NCAA Championship on the line.