Tufts’ 21-11 rout of the Rochester Institute of Technology in an NCAA Division III tournament semifinal Sunday was shocking -- the Tigers had not lost in 20 previous games and were considered a lock to play for the national championship, as they did a year ago.
Returning to the title game at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Salisbury for the first time since 2011 is meaningful for the Jumbos (20-2), who captured the NCAA crown in 2010 but lost to the same Sea Gulls (21-1) in 2011.
“Our seniors have been – as they all are for all of these teams at this time of the year – so vital, and it’s pretty cool to see the amount of guys that were in the facility on Monday morning before 9 o’clock, none of them smiling, none of them really resting or content in any way,” coach Mike Daly said Tuesday morning during a conference call. “They’re a pretty focused group, and they’re tough and they’re gritty. So I think they’ve got their direction going straight.”
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Tufts’ win over RIT was helped in part by the play of the Wood brothers, who hail from Sherwood Forest in Anne Arundel County and graduated from Severn. Senior midfielder Beau led all players in goals (seven) and points (eight) on Sunday, and sophomore defenseman Blake collected four ground balls.
Beau Wood has 72 goals and 29 assists this season, and Blake Wood has 29 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers.
“They’ve got two great parents, two athletic parents and most importantly, two parents who wanted a complete education and situation for their boys,” Daly said. “They’re both fabulous students up here and playing at a very high level. We’re pretty blessed to have that whole family involved here. And to have Blake really emerge as a starter about halfway through the season here, [that is] a pretty good reflection of his family and our program of work ethic and persistence. And Beau is a captain and put the team a little bit on his back on Sunday. Seven goals in a national semifinal game in that environment was darn impressive. Pleasure to coach, pleasure to be around, just a fantastic family.”