MEDFORD – The 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship is heating up as the tournament heads into third-round action on Saturday (May 9). Tufts' Bello Field will host one of the more intriguing match-ups as the Jumbos play the Stevenson University Mustangs in a 5 pm start.
In the annually scheduled Tufts versus Stevenson game in Pikesville, Maryland back on March 19, the Jumbos led 18-4 after three quarters and won 19-7. However, the Mustangs have gone 12-1 since then and will bring plenty of confidence with them into Saturday's tilt.
Tufts (18-1) is in its 11th straight NCAA appearance and 12th overall after winning the program's ninth New England Small College Athletic Conference title. The Jumbos moved on to the third round with a 24-7 win over New England College in the second round at Bello Field on Wednesday night. The heavily-favored Jumbos got points from 15 different players including three goals and four assists by freshman Cam Kelleher.
Stevenson (13-7) traveled to Franklin & Marshall for their second-round game Wednesday and won 12-9. Trailing 7-4 with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter, the Mustangs reeled off seven straight goals to build an 11-7 lead on their way to the victory over the Diplomats. Senior JT Thelen tallied four goals with two assists to lead Steveson.
The Mustangs are also making their 11th straight NCAA appearance after earning the MAC Commonwealth automatic berth with a commanding 23-4 win over Lycoming in the championship game.
Saturday's meeting will match a pair of teams who have won recent national championships. Tufts, now 30-8 in NCAA play overall, won NCAA titles in 2010, 2014 and 2015. Stevenson is 18-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and captured the 2013 national title.
For the first six years, the annual games between the teams went back-and-forth. Tufts has now won the last two, including 16-13 in 2017 to lead the series 5-3. The 2018 contest was canceled due to weather.
Prior to last night's game, Tufts was ranked 10th nationally scoring 17.39 goals per game. The Mustangs were at 14.47 goals per game, ranked 37th in Division III. Defensively, the Jumbos give up 11.10 goals per game and Stevenson allows a 9.40 mark.
Tickets for Saturday's game are $8 for adults, and $5 for students, children, and senior citizens. Tufts students are free with ID. Tickets will be on sale one hour prior to game time.
Saturday's winner will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals next Wednesday and face the winner of the Amherst versus Wesleyan third-round game.