Men’s Lax Loses Overtime Battle Against No. 3 Tufts

By BOBBY SULLIVAN

In by far the most exciting game of the year, the Middlebury Panthers were outlasted by Tufts University 14-13 in the NESCAC semifinals. On a day full of ups and downs and twists and turns, the Panthers left it all out on the field. Despite the loss, Midd held their heads high and were proud of how well they played throughout the game. 

Simply put, the first quarter was wild. After Tufts opened up the scoring early in the first, the Panthers answered with three goals of their own. Contributions came all from different players, including sophomore Pierce Frick, his second of the year. The teams really just answered one another right away, with Tufts scoring twice again. However, Midd answered with three more goals of their own, two from sophomore Will Brossman. It was exciting to see all these new guys step up to the challenge and really balance out the team dynamic. At the :34 second mark left in the first, Freshman Jack Sheehan got on the board in  big spot to put the Panthers up 7-5. On a firing shot in the latter seconds, star Chase Goree netted one to take a pretty sizable 8-5 lead going into the second. The second quarter was not like the first. As the defense began to settle in and goalies started to feel more comfortable in net, the scoring came to a halt. Each team netted two of their own, pretty evenly dispersed throughout the quarter. First-year phenom, Tyler Forbes scored one of his own, while Brossman added to his total for the game. Going into the half, Midd maintained a sizable 3 goal lead. 

The Panthers came out firing in the third quarter. Jack Sheehan scored from a good distance away to open up what was a great quarter for the Panthers. Tyler Bass made some great saves in goal, while the Panthers got two more goals from Goree and Feldman. In a quarter completely dominated by Middlebury’s attack, the Panthers had a demanding 13-8 going into the last stretch. However, the Jumbos knew what had to be done to avoid the upset. 

Unfortunately, Tufts showed what they were really capable of in the fourth quarter. By really going on the attack and playing aggressive, stifling defense, Tufts was able to hold the Panthers scoreless, while scoring five goals of their own. The heartbreaker was a goal in the last five seconds of the game to force overtime. In overtime, it really was anyone’s game: first goal to score wins. While Middlebury played great defense throughout, the Jumbos found a way to put it in the back of the net, again in the late seconds. 

Contributions came from many new faces in the game. Brossman led the scoring with three goals, Jake Madnick had 14 ground balls on the game, and Bass had 12 saves on 26 shots. It was a fantastic effort by the Panthers and a sad way to end their season, but it was a quite impressive showing on their part. The Panthers end their season at 8-9 and miss the NCAA tournament. 

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