Emmanuel College has been paired up with defending national champion Tufts University for first round action in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament. The Jumbos (16-2), receiving the No. 2 seed in the North during Sunday night's NCAA selection show, will host the Saints (13-4) on Wednesday, May 6th, at Bello Field in Medford, Mass. Game time is set for 3:30 PM.
The history … The Saints and the Jumbos have met just once in the past, a first round NCAA contest last season. Emmanuel squared off with Tufts on Bello Field back on May 7, 2014 with Tufts cruising to a 24-2 win, before going on to win the program's second national title. The Saints are making the program's second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. This will be Tufts' eighth NCAA bid and the Jumbos' seventh in a row. Tufts has gone 17-5 in NCAA Tournament action, winning national titles in 2014 and 2010.
How they got here … Emmanuel secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning a second-straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title. The Saints went unbeaten at 8-0 during regular season GNAC action, before rolling through the conference tournament and downing Mount Ida College, 13-6, in the GNAC Championship.
Tufts earned an automatic bid after winning the program's sixth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title. The Jumbos, seeded 2nd in the NESCAC Tournament, upset the top-seeded Lord Jeffs of Amherst College, 16-4, on Sunday afternoon on Amherst's Pratt Field.
Players to watch … The Saints' offense is led by junior Chris Curtis (Ashland, Mass.) and sophomore Tony Cibelli (Westboro, Mass.), with the duo combining for 102 points on the year. With his 40 goals and 12 assists, Curtis was voted the 2015 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year. Receiving GNAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, junior Pat Heffernan (Pembroke, Mass.) anchors the Saints' defensive line.
Tufts University junior attack John Uppgren (Stillwater, Minn.) leads the Jumbos in both goals (58) and assists (41) and enters NCAA Tournament play just one point shy of 100 for the season. Uppgren led Tufts to their NESCAC Championship with four goals and an assist for five points in the Jumbos' win over Amherst. Jumbos junior goalie Alex Salazar (Summit, N.J.) has started in all 18 games and his 8.86 goals-against-average leads the NESCAC.
The coaches …Tufts Head Coach Mike Daly is in his 17th season with the Jumbos and owns a 219-80 career coaching record. A graduate of Tufts University in 1995, Daly has led the Jumbos to six-consecutive NESCAC titles and to both of the program's national championships.
Emmanuel College Head Coach Brendan McWilliams has led the Saints to consecutive GNAC titles with 2015 marking the young program's fourth varsity season. McWilliams, the 2014 GNAC Coach of the Year, owns a four-year coaching record of 42-27 at Emmanuel with a 25-11 mark in GNAC action. McWilliams previously worked as an Assistant Coach under Mike Daly for two seasons (1999 and 2000) at Tufts.
Logistics for the 1st round game ... Bello Field is located on the campus of Tufts University at 161 College Avenue, Medford, Mass. DIRECTIONS
NCAA ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens. Ticket sales will commence at 2:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon at Tufts.
The winner of Wednesday's 1st round game will take on the winner of Bates College (10-5) / Keene State College (12-4) in 2nd round NCAA action on Saturday, May 9th. View the complete NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET.