The Middlebury men's lacrosse team led by two at the halftime break, but #2 Tufts outscored the Panthers 13-4 in the second half on its way to a 17-10 NESCAC victory at Bello Field Saturday afternoon. Middlebury (0-1) plays its home opener Tuesday against Plattsburgh State, while the Jumbos remain at home to host Keene State on Tuesday at 3:30 pm.
The defending national champion Jumbos were led by John Uppgren with four goals and two assists, while Cole Bailey had three goals and an assist.
Middlebury, who scored the game's first three goals, was paced by five goals from Jon Broome. He scored two goals in the early going and three in the first half as the Panthers led 6-4 at intermission.
Jake Gillespie scored twice for Tufts in the first half, including a strike with just two seconds left in the first quarter.
Tufts outscored the Panthers 6-2 in the third quarter and 13-4 for the second half overall. A man-up goal, one of four by the Jumbos, was scored by Connor Bilby to cap a three-goal run and give Tufts its first lead at 7-6 with 12:52 left in the third quarter.
Broome scored back-to-back goals giving the visitors the lead back at 8-7, but the Jumbos finished the period with three in a row for a 10-8 margin heading into the fourth. Ben Andreycak scored and assisted during the stretch.
Middlebury closed to within 10-9 when Tim Giarrusso opened fourth-quarter scoring. However, Tufts put the game away with seven in a row. Bailey and Uppgren both scored twice and Kyle Howard-Johnson had a goal and an assist during this game-clinching run.
Garrett Clarke added three goals to the Tufts attack, while Conor Helfrich won 20 of 30 face-offs in the game. Cem Kalkavan caused two turnovers and grabbed three groundballs, while goalie Alex Salazar made eight saves in net.
Middlebury's Will Ernst stopped 13 shots in goal. Joel Blockowicz finished with a goal and two assists, while Cal Williams and Jack DeFrino both caused three turnovers. DeFrino also added four groundballs and won six face-offs.
Tufts finished with a wide 64-36 shots advantage, including 40-17 in the second half. The Jumbos also won the groundball battle 37-22. In addition to the 27 goals, the game also included 17 penalties.