Sports

No. 7 men’s lacrosse tops Minutemen in New England’s oldest rivalry

Tills ’16, Molloy ’17 lead well-rounded attack against Minutemen as Gural ’16 dominates at face-off X

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 7, 2016

If the No. 7 men’s lacrosse team wanted to prove that it belongs with the best of the best, Saturday’s dominant win over a strong UMass (2-3) side was a great result. The Bears (3-0) came out firing on all cylinders, rolling over the Minutemen from the opening whistle en route to a 15-7 victory.

“It’s a great team win. We’re all really happy we did so well,” said Bailey Tills ’16. “It means a lot to our team to take another step forward.”

Beating a UMass team that already has three losses may not seem that significant, but a closer look at the Minutemen’s resume shows why the win holds some weight. Earlier this season, UMass took down then-No. 11 Ohio State and lost an overtime battle to No. 12 Harvard, a team that just bested No. 4 Duke.

On Saturday, it was a different story for Brown’s old-time New England rival. The Bears gave the Minutemen no openings to stage an upset in a game that Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90 called particularly satisfying.

The Bears were paced by Tills, who netted four goals on four shots. Also contributing were Henry Blynn ’16, who scored three times and added an assist, and Dylan Molloy ’17, who found the back of the net twice and tagged on two assists.

But the real difference-makers were face-off specialists Will Gural ’16 and Ted Ottens ’17.5, who combined to win 18 of the match’s 25 face-offs. Their successes allowed the Bears to keep their high-octane offense in full swing, Tills said.

“Without (Gural and Ottens) having that success, I think it would have been a lot closer of a game in the first,” he added. “We really kept the ball out of UMass’s sticks.”

Also critical to the team’s success were Alec Tulett ’17 and Larken Kemp ’17, who each picked up six ground balls and collectively caused two turnovers. Though they might not post the flashiest stats as defensive-minded players, the pair made it extremely difficult for the Minutemen to get things going on the offensive end, Tiffany said.

“Larken and Alec, they are like vacuum cleaners,” Tiffany said. “Anything around them, they are pulling it in. And then it’s our possession.”

It did not take long for the Bears to stake out a commanding position Saturday, as they raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, which they built into a 9-1 lead at the half. The selflessness of the offense was on full display, as six different players scored the first six goals. The fourth of the day was also Molloy’s 100th career goal.

There was no slowing down for the Bears in the second half. The team tacked on three more goals right off the bat to push the lead to 12-1. At that point, the rest of the game was a formality. In the fourth quarter, UMass started to find a bit of a rhythm. But it was far too late, as the final score settled at 15-7.

The Bears now face a quick turnaround with Holy Cross on the docket for Tuesday. Though the Crusaders are winless on the year, they have a pair of one-goal losses to top-15 teams this season.

“We are definitely not going to take Holy Cross lightly,” Tills said. “If we can execute our game, we can control and dictate the outcome no matter who we play.”