LM's Best Game of 2011: Tufts 14, Stevenson 13 (MD3)
|Sean Kirwan scored four goals in
Tufts' 14-13 win over Stevenson March 23 at Towson. The top-ranked
Jumbos prevailed over the second-ranked Mustangs despite being
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
It almost didn't happen. Torrential downpours flooded Stevenson's home field and forced the game to nearby Towson. Lightning delays then pushed the game back to a 9:30 p.m. start time. There was no public address announcer, because noise would keep the neighbors up.
But when these two NCAA Division III juggernauts finally took the field March 23, the game was an up-tempo barnburner (neither team ever met a possession it did not like) worth the price of admission. Stevenson dominated nearly every statistical category (the Mustangs outshot Tufts 76-35), except in the net, where Jumbos goalkeeper Steven Foglietta made 24 saves — including 13 in the second half and one with less than two minutes left. Tufts star attackman and prodigal son D.J. Hessler, a graduate of nearby St. Paul's School, returned home to chip in three goals and two assists.
"It was a great measuring stick," Tufts senior defenseman Alec Bialosky told Lacrosse Magazine's Corey McLaughlin after the game in the bowels of Towson's athletic complex, as Wednesday night turned into Thursday morning. "To quote a personal favorite, Ric Flair, 'To be the best you have to beat the best. Woo!' We wanted to come down here and send a message that  wasn't a fluke. We're legit. We're coming down.
"Stevenson was saying, 'We should have played Tufts in the national championship [last season]. Salisbury played bad.' Whatever. We'll show up and play any day of the week."
The Jumbos would earn a return trip to the NCAA championship game, where they were thwarted by Salisbury 19-7.
For more on the Tufts-Stevenson game, check out LaxMagazine.com's coverage from the next day.
LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote, Best Game of 2011
Northwestern 11, North Carolina 10 (WD1)
Shannon Smith scores with 0:18 left in NCAA semifinal
Johns Hopkins 12, Maryland 11 (MD1)
Kyle Wharton ends wild back-and-forth game in OT
Tufts 14, Stevenson 13 (MD3)
Two run-and-gun teams combine for 111 shots
Cannons 15, Outlaws 12 (MLL)
First-place teams duel in front of MLL-record crowd
A version of this article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine as part of LM"s "Best of Lacrosse 2011" package. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 350,000-plus members today to start your monthly subscription.