On Sunday, March 5, the Colby men’s lacrosse team fell to the Tufts University Jumbos, 27-9, in the first game of the 2023 season. The game, which was rescheduled from the prior day due to inclement weather, was played in Harold Alfond Stadium in front of a large crowd. The Mules, who went 6-7 a season ago, looked to upset the reigning NESCAC Champion Jumbos, a side that was only two wins away from a national championship last spring.
Colby came out of the gates quickly, with a Jack Goller `23 shot being blocked and Ryan Darby `23 shooting off the post before Max Solmssen `24 scored the first goal of the season to put the Mules ahead 1-0. Solmssen, who saw action in all 13 games last season and accounted for 27 points, is set to be a crucial piece of the Mules attack this season.
The Mules’ lead was short lived, however, as the Jumbos opened their 2023 scoring with a Kurt Bruun strike 13 seconds later. Once the Tufts offense shifted into gear, the goals poured in, and the Jumbos added four goals in the next five minutes. The Mules returned the ball to the offensive zone behind a turnover forced by senior midfielder Matt Savage, but failed to muster a result. In the closing minutes of the first period, Mules goaltender Matt Suffredini `24 made a pair of incredible saves, stifling a high shot before sprawling to deflect another chance moments later. Unfortunately, these efforts were not enough to take the momentum away from the relentless Tufts offense, and the first quarter ended with the score 9-1 in favor of the Jumbos.
Tufts opened the second quarter by adding a tenth tally on Charlie Tagliaferri’s first goal of the season, but Colby’s Jake Surrette `23 responded, forcing a turnover before scoring the Mule’s second goal. Both sides played solid defense for the remainder of the quarter, with Suffredini and Tufts’ Connor Garzone trading saves. The Jumbos’ offense found its stride again late in the frame, making a four goal run, but Solmssen’s second score of the game made the score 14-3 at the half.
The Jumbos offense started the second half at a devastating pace, adding 8 more goals within the first ten minutes of the third quarter. The Tufts streak was broken by Matt Stein’s goal at 3:15 remaining in the quarter, but the Jumbos would add another shortly thereafter. The score at the third intermission was 23-4.
In the fourth, the Mules finally broke through, outscoring the Jumbos 5-4 in the quarter. Senior Jack Goller had three goals in a seven minute span, while Henry Popko `23 and Nolan Zusi `23 each had a score of their own. The late attack did little to cut the overall lead, however, with the game ending at a score of 27-9.
Colby looks to bounce back from the loss with a slate of three games in the coming week, including two out-of-conference matchups. The Mules remain at home for contests against St. Joseph’s College and Williams College before heading to Castine to take on regional foes Maine Maritime.
~ Matt Quealy `26
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