MEDFORD, Mass. – Senior Rob Hart scored three goals and added three assists to become the Keene State men's lacrosse all-time leading scorer, as the Keene State men's lacrosse program battled to a 26-14 loss to No. 12 Tufts in the Second Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Bello Field.
- Keene State: 14-4
- No. 12 Tufts: 13-5
How It Happened
Ten different players scored for the Jumbos, as Zach Richman registered a team-high six goals with one assist, followed by Danny Murphy and Michael Mattson each adding four goals and two assists.
The Jumbos owned a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter, before tallying a man-up goal with 8:29 on the clock for a 3-0 advantage. Despite the quick Tufts lead, Keene State was eager to find the back of the net, as the Owls fired off five successive shots to hold possession in the middle of the quarter, capped off by a shot from Hart that hit the crossbar with 6:37 to go.
From there, Arnold found an open Anthony Marcella in front of the goal, as the freshman found the back of the net with 4:54 to go in the first quarter to cut the Owls' deficit to two. The Jumbos responded by scoring three consecutive goals to push the score to 6-1, Tufts, before adding a final tally with 3.7 seconds on the clock to extend their lead, 7-1, at the end of the first stanza.
The Jumbos continued their scoring run into the second quarter, as Tufts scored three straight goals to earn a 10-1 lead with 12:38 remaining. Rotatori broke the Jumbos' scoring burst less than a minute later, as he fired off a shot from the right into the left side of the net, but Tufts tacked on two more goals to make it 12-2 with 8:02 remaining.
After a four minute scoring drought for both teams, Rotatori earned the ball and fed a scoop pass to Arnold, who sent it easily past Schmerler with 4:22 remaining. Rotatori added one one more for Keene State with an unassisted man-down goal with 1:06 to go, but Tufts would score one final goal in the second quarter to send the two teams into halftime with a 13-4 Jumbos advantage.
In the third quarter, Tufts continued their powerful offense, scoring eight goals to the Owls' two, as Keene State received a strike from Hart from the top of the circle with 10:24 remaining and a man-up goal from Arnold with 3:25 to go.
The Owls outscored the Jumbos 8-5 in the fourth quarter, but Tufts was able to hold on for a 26-14 triumph.
Inside the Crease
- This is the final game for the 13 seniors, as the class of 2017 will finish as the first group of Owls to have never lost a regular season (28-0) or postseason (8-0) Little East Conference (LEC) contest.
- With Hart's six-point performance today, the attackman now has 186 goals and 98 assists for a total of 284 points. Hart, the LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, passed all-time leading goal scorer Tyler McKelvie, who earned 281 points from 210 goals and 71 assists during 2012-2016. Hart finished the 2017 campaign with 83 points (57 goals, 26 assists), which ranks as the fourth-highest for single season.
- Rotatori, the LEC Offensive Player of the Year, will finish his illustrious career as the Keene State all-time assists leader with 112.
- Junior goalkeeper Mathew Howe played all 60 minutes of action with a season-high 17 saves, while Jumbos' keeper Shmerler recorded 15 stops in the first half. Robert Treiber and Jon Conley also saw time between the pipes for the home team, with Treiber stopping six.
- Tufts held a 75-57 advantage in shots over Keene State, and also held a 42-23 edge in ground balls.
- This was the fourth straight NCAA berth for Keene State, as the Owls now hold a 2-8 record in the NCAA Tournament.
- With the loss, Keene State's 2017 campaign comes to an end.
- With the win, No. 12 Tufts will advance to the Third Round and play Wesleyan (Conn.) on Saturday, May 13th in the Third Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.