Created: 05/18/2014 11:39 PM WHEC.com
ROCHESTER, NY – The No. 1 RIT (20-1) men's lacrosse team had its undefeated season end on Sunday in the NCAA Division III Semifinals, losing to No. 6 Tufts (20-2), 21-11 in front of a record 2,318 fans from Tiger Stadium on the campus of RIT. The Jumbos advance to the National Championship Game to face the winner between Salisbury and Washington College from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
RIT is now 1-3 all time versus Tufts. It is the fourth straight season the Tigers and Jumbos met in the NCAA Tournament. In 2011, Tufts ended RIT's undefeated season with a 16-12 win in the national semifinals on RIT's Turf Field. In 2012, Tufts defeated RIT, 15-13 in the quarterfinals. Last year, The Tigers defeated the Jumbos by a score of 14-5 in the quarterfinals from Tiger Stadium.
"Tufts has so much firepower and it showed today," said RIT head coach Jake Coon, who is 88-14 in five seasons at RIT. "Their goaltender made some great saves early on that changed the momentum, and we couldn't make a run."
Tufts outshot RIT 51-47. RIT won the ground ball battle 52-45 and were 17-of-20 on clearing attempts. Each team won 18-of-36 face-offs, while RIT went 4-of-7 on man-up chances, and Tufts finished with one goal on four man-up chances.
Casey Jackson (Victoria, BC/Claremont) and Allister Warren (Toronto, Ontario/Malvern Collegiate Institute) led RIT with five points apiece. Jackson had three goals and two assists and Warren tallied a goal and four helpers, while Kyle Aquin (Hamilton, Ontario/St. Jean De Brebeuf) finished with three goals. Ryan Lee (Sharon, Ontario/The Hill Academy) added a pair of goals and Pat Johnston (Long Beach, CA/Norwell (MA)) took the loss in net, making 15 saves. Tyler Brooks-Lambert (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) won 17-of-33 face-offs and had 10 ground balls. Matt Hossack (Port Perry, Ontario/Port Perry) caused five turnovers and had five ground balls.
Beau Wood led Tufts with eight points on seven goals and an assist. Cole Bailey added five goals, while John Uppgren and Bend Andreycak each had three goals. Patton Watkins was brilliant in net for Tufts, making 20 saves, including several big stops early on the swung the momemtum in the Jumbos favor.
RIT jumped out to a 4-2 lead at 1:54 of the first quarter when Alec Sulesky (Medina, OH/Medina) took a feed from Jackson and scored his seventh of the season. Warren, Lee and Aquin each had goals in the early stages of the quarter.
The Jumbos scored two straight in the final 1:10 of the first quarter, tying the score at 4-4 on Uppgren's 61st goal of the season with 14 seconds to play in the opening stanza.
Tufts took the momentum into the second quarter, taking a 5-4 lead on Bailey's 48th goal of the season. Aquin and Jackson hooked up for a man-up goal at 11:30 of the second quarter, as Jackson fed Aquin on the doorstep, tying the score at 5-5.
After a Bailey goal made it 6-5 Tufts, Jackson scored off a fast break, taking a feed from Hossack and burying his second goal of the game, tying the score at 6-6.
Tufts took control of the game from there, closing out the first half with four straight goals, taking a 10-6 lead into halftime. Bailey scored twice and Woods and Peter Bowers each scored another for the Jumbos.
Wood opened the third quarter scoring with his third goal of the game and 68th of the season, giving the Jumbos an 11-6 edge. Aquin took a feed from Warren at 12:05 of the third quarter on the man-up, breaking the Tufts run, cutting the Jumbos lead to 11-7.
Braden Wallace (Oakville, Ontario/Abbey Park) and Jackson added goals for the Tigers, but the Tufts' offense was clicking, as Bailey and Wood closed out the quarter with consecutive goals, giving the Jumbos a 15-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Lee and Jackson scored the only two RIT goals in the fourth quarter, while Tufts scored six times to put the game away.
The last time RIT gave up 20 goals in a game was on March 3, 2010, a 20-10 loss to Stevenson. It was Coon's first game as RIT head coach. The loss Sunday snapped RIT's 30-game home winning streak over the last three seasons.
RIT is in the NCAA Tournament for the 16th time in school history. Overall, RIT is 16-16 all time in NCAA Tournament games. It was the third time RIT advanced to the NCAA Semifinals over the last four seasons. Overall, RIT has made the NCAA Quarterfinals five straight times.
The Tigers ended the season with school records of 20 wins and 347 goals scored.