Recovering from a 3-0 deficit after the first quarter, Wesleyan rattled off five straight goal in the second period, taking the lead for good with 3:53 to go before halftime on the second goal of the game by Mike Giambanco '14 (#21, photo), and went on to secure an 8-7 NESCAC men's lacrosse victory over visiting Tufts Sat., April 20. Tufts came into the game ranked seventh nationally in Division III and second in New England, having won 10 of its last 11 contests. Wesleyan is ranked sixth regionally and ended a four-game losing streak vs. Tufts while closing out its regular-season home schedule with an 8-0 mark.
Scoring three goals in a span of 2:06 early in the second stanza, Wesleyan erased Tufts' 3-0 advantage as the Jumbos did all the scoring during the opening 15 minutes. Wesleyan Graham Macnab '14 made it 3-1 by cutting through the Tufts defense and scoring a low shot at 13:20. Giambanco got his first of the game 1:10 later with a hard bouncer from the right side. Max Rosenman '13 tied the game at 11:14 by spotting a low bouncer just inside the right post. Macnab got his 20th of the year. Rosenman picked up his third.
When Giambanco bounced in another long-range shot from the right at 3:53, his 13th of the season, Wesleyan had the lead for good. Remy Lieberman '14 finished off the five-goal run, taking a pass from Sam Stanton '13 and completing a fast-break rush right off the faceoff at 3:42. Jeff Giocondi '13 won 11 of 19 faceoffs for the Cardinals in the contest.
Tufts got one back before halftime on a goal with just :19 on the clock to go along with its three first-period goals to make it a 5-4 contest at intermission.
Wesleyan led by one or two goals throughout the second half as the teams traded goals three times with Wesleyan opening the scoring at 11:27 on Quentin DellaFera's '15 cut from behind the net around the crease and tuck-in shot. Tufts responded at 9:12 before Lieberman got his second at 7:51, followed by another Jumbo marker at 6:37. The teams entered the fourth quarter separated by a goal, 7-6.
Long-pole middie Brendan Hanley '13 got his eighth goal of the season at 10:16, giving Wesleyan a much-needed two-goal cushion as he caught an outlet pass from goalie Mark Simmons '14, who had nine saves, at the midfield line and motored inside the box to unleash a bouncer. Wesleyan nursed the lead into the closing minutes, but a fast-break by Tufts at 1:25 made it 8-7.
Tufts won the ensuing faceoff but lost control in its own end. The teams gave the ball back and forth into the final minute in the Tufts zone before Wesleyan regained control for good and drew a Tufts slashing penalty with just :12 to go. Wesleyan ended the game with possession.
Heading into the final regular-season games of the NESCAC season Wed., April 24, Wesleyan need a victory at Conn. to secure the second seed in the NESCAC tournament. A loss would put the Cardinals fourth. Wesleyan moved out to a 6-1 lead after 17 minutes of action, led by Lieberman with two goals and two assists, before the Camels got the last three goals of the half to cut the difference to 6-4. Each team scored three times in the third quarter as they took the turn for home with Wesleyan ahead, 9-7. Three straight Camel goals spotted the home team its first lead of the game with 10:53 to go. DellaFera finsihed off his hat trick with a tying goal at the 7:14 mark. Conn got the only goal down the stretch, coming at the 5:04 mark, and Wesleyan was unable to come up with the equalizer, despite a one-minute man-advantage 21 seconds after Conn took the lead.
Seeded fourth in the NESCAC tournament, Wesleyan hosts fifth-seeded Bowdoin Sat., April 27 in a 1 p.m. game that will be webcast. Bowdoin knocked off the Cardinals, 6-5, in Brunswick, Me. during the regular season. Middlebury is the top seed while Conn is second and Tufts, which dismantled Bowdoin, 21-8, to get the final first-round home game, is third.