Furious Comeback Bid Falls Short as No. 5 Amherst Falls to No. 6 Tufts, 15-14

Furious Comeback Bid Falls Short as No. 5 Amherst Falls to No. 6 Tufts, 15-14

AMHERST, Mass. – Showing heart and fortitude to battle back from a 10-1 deficit midway through the second period and deadlock the score at 14-14 with four minutes to play, the Mammoths were unable to counter a Jumbos' goal late as the No. 5 Amherst College men's lacrosse team fell to No. 6 Tufts University, 15-14 Saturday afternoon at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium on Senior Day.

With the setback, Amherst falls to 11-2 on the season and to 6-2 in league play, while Tufts improves to 11-1 overall (6-1 NESCAC). Amherst returns to the field on Saturday, April 20 when they travel to No. 12 Bates for a 1 p.m. clash. 

Looking to make a statement out of the gate, the Jumbos shut out the Mammoths in the first quarter while adding five goals to the board to take a 5-0 lead after 15 minutes of action.

Mason Pollack kicked off scoring for the visitors 28 seconds into the game, sending an unassisted dagger into the nylon before Ben Connelly dished out back-to-back assists to Nick Katz and Danny Murphy in a 42 second span to push Tufts' advantage to 3-0. 

Finding the back of the net at the 5:01 mark, Max Waldbaum capitalized on a feed from Blake Sommi, before Kyle Helfrich closed out scoring in the stanza with an unassisted marker with 4:48 on the clock. 

Continuing their unanswered run to open the second quarter, Waldbaum and Brian Powers added goals to set the score at 7-0. 

Breaking through at the 13:18 mark, Evan Wolf '19 got the home team on the board off a dish from Colin Minicus, however that score was countered with a 3-0 run by the Jumbos that featured goals from Waldbaum, Matt Treiber and Garrett Samuelson. 

Looking to get some momentum going before the break, Trenton Shore '19 potted a man-up score at the 7:32 mark with an assist from Matt Solberg '20 before Minicus powered a feed from Wolf into the nylon two minutes later in what stood as the final goal of the first half to make it 10-3 at intermission. 

First to strike in the third quarter, a score by Jon Coffey '19 with 12:57 on the clock cut the Mammoths deficit to six, before Waldbaum, Bryce Adam and Connelly each beat the Amherst netminder to extend Tufts' lead to 13-4 with 24:45 remaining.   

Clawing back into contention in the latter half of the period, Amherst put together a 5-1 run to get back within five entering the fourth quarter.

Jack Norton '19 sparked the momentum change for the Mammoths with an unassisted strike at the 12:57 mark before Solberg found Jackson Herrick '20 for the score two minutes later. Potting his second and third goals in the stanza, Coffey sandwiched a goal from Solberg, while a dagger from Connelly with 1:08 on the clock made it 14-9.

Looking to return the favor from the first quarter, the Mammoths shut out Tufts through the first 11:45 of the fourth period to erase a nine-goal deficit and deadlock the game at 14-14. 

Getting within four at the 11:39 mark, Herrick dished out a helper to Coffey, before Wolf teamed up with Minicus 29 seconds later to make it 14-11. A crank shot from 15 yards out from Luke Mallette '20 brought the Mammoths within two, while Solberg made it a one score game with an unassisted marker with 8:12 to play. 

Completing the comeback effort at the 4:02 mark, Minicus took the restart from the left corner, got the angle on his defender and sent a diving shot over the goal line to tie the contest at 14 all and set up a thriller down the stretch.

Recording what stood as the game winner less than a minute later, Samuelson drove as pass from Treiber from 10 yards out into the top right corner. 

The Mammoths made a bid to even the game with time winding down, however a wrap-around attempt by Wolf was met with a clutch stop from the Jumbos keeper with 50 seconds remaining as the visitors held on for the 15-14 win.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • In between the pipes, Gib Versfeld '21 (0-1) made 12 saves in the loss for Amherst in his first start of the spring, while Mason Pollack (9-1) registered 19 stops for Tufts in the winning effort.
  • Coffey headlined the Mammoths' offense with four goals, while Wolf tallied two scores and dished out three assists. Logan Lair '20 went 15-for-29 at the face off X for Amherst, while James Crovatto '21 and Robinson Armour '22 posted team highs in caused turnovers and ground balls with three and four, respectively.
  • Waldbaum netted four goals and dished out an assist to lead the Tufts' attack, while Connelly added two scores and four helpers. Kyle Helfrich paced the Jumbos on face offs, going 10-for-22, while Stewart Stockdale, Jack Walton, Connelly and Arend Broekmate picked up five ground balls each. Both Stockdale and Broekmate also added three caused turnovers to lead the team.
  • The Mammoths owned the edge in shots (56-52) and face offs (17-33) and went a perfect 1-for-1 up a man, while the Jumbos held a 47-38 advantage in ground balls and finished 0-for-1 on man-up opportunities.

SENIOR DAY

  • Today's game marked Senior Day for the Mammoths who will graduate 11 seniors following the 2019 season, including: Gab Goncalves, Jamie Smith, Austin Park, midfielder Jack Norton, midfielder and captain Trenton Shore, midfielder and captain Brogan Mahon, defender Kyle Petrillo, midfielder Jack Wolff, attackman and captain Evan Wolf, defender Brendan Routh and midfielder Andrew Ford. As a class, this year's seniors have compiled an overall mark of 53-16 to own a .780 winning percentage, with a 31-7 NESCAC record and a 27-5 ledger at home. During that time, the Mammoths have outscored opponents 1123 to 803, ranked second in the nation in points per game (2018 - 32.32), qualified for three consecutive NESCAC Championship tournaments and advanced to three straight NCAA Sweet Sixteens, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2016.