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No. 2 men's lacrosse never trails in 19-18 victory over No. 3 Tufts

Senior captain Charlie Fay scored six goals, five in the first quarter, to help propel No. 2 nationally ranked Bates to a 19-18 victory over No. 3 Tufts Tuesday night. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

MEDFORD, Mass. -- First-year Matt Chlastawa and senior captain Charlie Fay scored a combined 12 goals and the No. 2 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team made a crucial final defensive stand to defeat No. 3 Tufts 19-18 Tuesday night.

"I am just really proud of how hard our team played under some adverse conditions," head coach Peter Lasagna said. "They got another victory over a really good team."  

With the victory, Bates (11-0, 8-0 NESCAC) remains undefeated and matches the program record for wins in one season with their 11th victory of the year. Over the last three years, Tufts (11-2, 6-2 NESCAC) has an overall record of 52-7, but their record against Bates in that span is now 1-3.

Although the Bobcats never trailed in the contest, the game turned into a thriller down the stretch.

The Jumbos cut the Bates lead to one with 4:42 remaining when Lucas Johnson scored an unassisted goal. But senior captain Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) tallied a huge insurance goal with 3:29 left to put Bates up 19-17.

Tufts trimmed the score to 19-18 when Ben Connelly found the back of the net with 2:57 to go in regulation. 

Bates won the ensuing faceoff but they turned the ball over and Tufts cleared the ball into the offensive zone. Sophomore goalkeeper Mitchell Drake (Annapolis, Md.) made a huge save on a Frank Hattler shot with two minutes left. 

The Bobcats cleared the ball and called timeout with 1:35 remaining. But two Bobcat shots missed and then Bates turned the ball over. The Jumbos cleared the ball and called timeout with 28 seconds left in the game. 

Senior captain Fred Ulbrick (Fairfield, Conn.) and the Bobcat defense held strong, denying the Jumbos any shooting lanes, and the Bates players swarmed the field in jubilation when the clock expired.

The Bobcats scored a remarkable nine goals in the first quarter to take a commanding lead early in the contest.

Fay (Falmouth, Maine) scored the first of his six goals to put Bates up 1-0 with 12:25 left in the first. Junior Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) extended the lead to 2-0 on an assist from senior Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) with 11:39 remaining in the quarter. Melvin finished the night with a game-high five assists.

Michael Mattson got Tufts on the board on an assist from Lucas Johnson with 10:51 left in the first to cut the Bobcat lead to 2-1.

Fay answered with an unassisted tally and Danny Murphy, the Jumbos' leading scorer, responded with a goal of his own, making the score 3-2 in favor of the Bobcats.

But the Bobcats scored the next three goals to open up a 6-2 advantage. 

Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) took advantage of a man up situation to get his first goal of the game with an assist from Melvin. Then Weber tallied an unassisted goal and Fay took advantage of another man up situation to complete the 3-0 run with 6:39 to go in the first. Senior Jake Walsh (Baltimore, Md.) notched an assist on the play. He finished with three assists in the game.

The Jumbos scored back-to-back goals to cut the Bobcat lead to 6-4 with 5:15 left in the first. 

They wouldn't get to within two goals again until the fourth quarter.

Despite the Bobcats facing a man down situation, Chlastawa scored again. Melvin once again notched the assist and Bates went up 7-4. With 2:01 remaining, Fay notched his fourth goal of the quarter on an assist from junior Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio.). And the senior captain capped off his remarkable first quarter with another tally, this one on an assist from sophomore Dahnique Brown-Jones (New Britain, Conn.) with 1:14 remaining. 

The Bobcats led by five at the end of the first quarter and they led by five at the end of the second quarter as both teams scored four goals.

Chlastawa had a monster second quarter, scoring three of his career-high six goals on the night. His man up goal with 12:57 left in the half with an assist to Walsh put the Bobcats up 10-4. Then he scored again on another assist from Melvin with 8:51 left to make the score 11-5 in favor of Bates.

The Jumbos scored the next three goals to make the score 11-8. But Bates answered with another Chlastawa goal, this one on an assist from Fay, to extend the lead to 12-8. Weber capped off the second quarter with an unassisted tally with 47 seconds left, making the score 13-8 in favor of Bates at halftime.

The Jumbos outscored Bates by one in the third quarter before making a big push in the fourth.

However, before Tufts made their run, Bates took their biggest lead of the night when Walsh, Weber and Brown-Jones scored three consecutive goals midway through the third to make the score 16-9 with 8:41 left in the quarter.

Tufts scored five consecutive goals after that, three to end the third quarter and two to open the fourth quarter of action.

A Nick Katz unassisted tally with 13:16 remaining trimmed the Bates lead to 16-14. But as they did all night, Fay and Chlastawa came up huge.

Fay scored with 11:56 to go on an assist from Melvin and Chlastawa netted his sixth goal of the night just 30 seconds later, making the score 18-14 in favor of Bates. The Jumbos scored three goals in a row before Weber answered and Bates hung on for the victory. 

Bates fired 54 shots on the night to 39 for Tufts, forcing the two Tufts keepers to make a combined 17 saves. The Bobcats successfully cleared 21 of 25 balls and won 24 of 40 faceoffs.

The Bobcats are back in action this Saturday at Connecticut College. The contest gets underway at 1:00 p.m.