ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Over the last decade, the RIT men’s lacrosse team has taken a perfect record into the NCAA tournament four times. On three of those occasions, their season ended at the hands of the Tufts Jumbos on RIT’s home turf.
On Sunday, the Tigers flipped the script defeating Tufts 18-16 to advance to the NCAA Division III Championship Game.
“This feels awesome. They’ve definitely had our number,” said senior attack Dawson Tait, who scored five goals. “This goes out to all our alumni, too. They’re part of this program as much as we are. This just feels good.”
The Jumbos got out to a fast start, scoring the first three goals of the game. RIT answered with two goals and the game entered the second quarter 4-2 in favor of Tufts.
The game started to turn midway through the quarter as the Jumbos scored four of five goals to take a 9-5 lead. But the Tigers found their groove and netted the next four to tie it at 9 heading into the second half.
“I think there may have been some nerves, there was a big crowd here today. Overall, I think we just got our legs under us and figured it out,” said junior midfielder Marley Angus, who scored four goals in the game. “That’s when we started pouring some goals on, our D locked it down, and we just figured it out.”
Tufts scored to open the third quarter, then the Tigers went on another big run. RIT scored six straight goals, including two by Larson Sundown and two by Quinn Commandant.
RIT held a 16-11 lead heading into the fourth quarter but gave up the first three goals cutting the lead to just two.
Ryan Rosenblum promptly stepped up with goal to put the lead back to three. After another Tufts goal, it was Tait netting another to give RIT a 18-15 lead. One consolation goal by Tufts made the final 18-16.
“You get down like that against a team like that, a lot of teams would have a real tough time finding their way and battling back,” said head coach Jake Coon. “Our guys really stuck to the game plan and stuck through it. I’m just so, so proud of my guys.”
RIT (13-0) advances to play Salisbury (17-1) in the national championship game next Sunday, May 30 at Rentschler Field in East Harford, Connecticut. The Sea Gulls defeated visiting Christopher Newport, 18-8, in the day’s other semifinal.
The game is a rematch of the 2017 championship game which Salisbury won 15-7.