Mens Lacrosse

Cards Rally for Late Lead but Tufts Pulls out NESCAC Win to End Wes Season - Gabe Kelley '11 is A-A

Climbing out of a 4-0 first-period hole, Wesleyan stayed within range of host Tufts in a NESCAC semi-final Sat., May 8 before rattling off four unanswered goals to take its first lead of the contest, 10-9, with 2:59 remaining. Teddy Citrin '12 did the honors for the go-ahead goal, his second of the contest, after Max Rosenman '13 had tied the game at the 3:59 mark.

But Tufts tied the game with 1:24 left and got the game-winner with :25.5 showing on the clock as the Jumbos, seeded second in the tournament and ranked sixth nationally in Division III, advanced to the finals for the second straight year. Wesleyan, playing in its eighth consecutive semi-final, came within a whisker of Sunday's championship game and an opportunity to defend its 2009 title. The Cardinals posted an 8-8 final record. Tufts went on to win the NESCAC crown over Middlebury, 13-12, then run the table in the NCAA Championship, defeating perennial NCAA power Salisbury, 9-6, in the National Championship game.

Leading the Wesleyan offense vs. Tufts were D.J. Bernatavitz '12 (#21, main photo upper left) and Jon Killeen '10 (#7, photo insert upper right). Bernatavitz picked up a hat trick in the contest and added an assist while Killeen also had a four-point outing with two goals and two assists. He ended the season as Wesleyan's top scorer with 25 goals and 26 assists for 51 points, giving him 148 career points, which ranks ninth all-time at Wesleyan.

After the Cardinals cut the Tufts' first-quarter lead in half at 4-2 following 15 minutes of play, the Tufts lead varied between one and three goals entering the final stanza. The score stood 9-7 in favor of the Jumbos at the beginning of the fourth quarter. But Bernatavitz finished his three-goal output at the 8:47 mark off a great feed from Killeen before Rosenman and Citrin gave the Cardinals an advantage with 2:59 left. Citrin ended the season with 21 tallies, third on the team.

After Tufts took the lead, Matt Ward '10 (#28, photo insert lower left) won his 13th faceoff of the game, giving Wesleyan a chance but a good defensive play by Tufts knocked the ball free at the top of the box and Tufts threw the ball into the Wesleyan end with the final seconds ticking down. Wesleyan did not have an opportunity after that. Ward had a great season, winning 61.5 percent of his faceoffs.

On defense for the Cardinals, Gabe Kelley '11 (#9, photo insert lower right) and Bo Pratt '10 (#22, photo insert lower right) had strong games as Kelley had four caused turnovers and four grounders while Pratt had three of each. Pete Modera '11 led the squad with eight ground balls, mostly to complete faceoff wins by Ward. Kelley went on to be named a USILA Division III honorable-mention All-American, becoming the ninth Cardinal this decade to be selected an All-American.

In the goal, Mark Simmons '13 played the first half, making nine saves with six goals against. Grant Covington '12 played the second half with six stops and five goals allowed.

Additional post-season honors came to a pair of Cardinal seniors as Killeen and Ward were selected to play in the annual New England East/West senior all-star game at Endicott College Sun., June 6. Players from Divisions I, II and III participate in the event.

(Photos courtesy of Tony Pratt P'10)