The E-News site has been inactive since February 2011 and may contain outdated information and/or broken links. For current and up-to-date Tufts news and information, please visit Tufts Now at
Tufts University e-news

Search  GO >

this site people
Tufts University Logo Bottom Search Bottom  
left side photo

One Goal at a Time

One Goal at a TimeThe 18-1 men's lacrosse team heads to the Final Four of the NCAA Div. III tourney.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.21.10] This season, the Tufts men's lacrosse team has rallied around the concept of "one more," whether it's a rep in the weight room or a playoff victory.

"We try to stay focused on the next step, the next battle," says Coach Michael Daly (A'95), a two-time NESCAC Coach of the Year who is in his 12th year at the helm of the Jumbo squad.

For the 18-1 Jumbos, the next battle comes this Sunday, May 23, when the team will face defending national champion Cortland State on its home turf in New York in the semifinal of the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament. The Jumbos earned the trip to the Final Four with their 11-9 defeat of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Middlebury in the quarterfinal round on May 19 at Tufts' Bello Field.

The winner on Sunday heads to the championship game in Baltimore on May 30.

Seniors on the team, who will miss their graduation to compete in the big game, participated in an early Commencement ceremony with Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow on Friday morning. They include James Atkins, Darius Bittle-Dockery, Evan Crosby, Patrick Devine, tri-captain Douglas DiSesa, tri-captain Michael Droesch, Zachary Groen, Matthew Hacker and tri-captain Eytan Saperstein.

"The entire Tufts community is proud of these athletes who have worked so hard and performed so well on the lacrosse field and in the classroom," says Bacow. "We want to recognize them as they continue to honor Tufts on the playing field."

Daly points to the senior players, particularly the tri-captains, as the heart and soul of the team. "Our entire senior class is really the reason for our success," says Daly, a two-time NESCAC Coach of the Year who is in his 12th year at the helm of the Jumbo squad.

The season began with visits from members of the Army Rangers, Force Recon Marines and other special ops members of the armed services, setting a tone of focus and determination that hasn't let up throughout the spring.

"We're never satisfied or complacent with what we've accomplished," says Saperstein. "We're always looking ahead to the next challenge."

This year, the team was led by junior D.J. Hessler, the NESCAC Player of the Year and one of four Jumbo laxmen to earn All-NESCAC First Team accolades. The Jumbos' 18 victories are a program best.

Tufts vs. Middlebury Highlights - 2010 NESCAC Finals from Tufts Lacrosse on Vimeo.

The men's lacrosse program has been nationally ranked in the top 20 for six straight years-and as high as #3 in 2007 and #2 in 2006. In 2009, the Jumbos' season ended in the NCAA tournament against Western New England. While this is the Jumbos' third NCAA tournament berth, it is the first time they have made it to the quarterfinal or semifinal round.

No matter what happens, Daly says the Jumbos are already winners, in one respect.

"The wins are great, the success is great, but knowing that we love what we do and who we do it with is way more important and more special to us."

That said, the Jumbos are confident that a chance at championship glory could be just one more game away.

"I think that when we play our game, no one can play with us," says Saperstein. "We're the best team in the country."

Story by Georgiana Cohen, Office of Web Communications

Photos by Alonso Nichols, Tufts Photo

Related Stories
Related Links
Featured Profile


For More Information

Paul Sweeney