Field Hockey | Field Hockey wins yet again, heads to NESCAC quarterfinals
Late goals propel field hockey to 2−0 win
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 00:10
The No. 8 field hockey team rode a late surge to victory on Saturday, notching two goals in the last 15 minutes of play to clinch a NESCAC quarterfinal victory over seventh−seeded Wesleyan. The win was the Jumbos’ 14th straight, and propelled coach Tina McDavitt’s squad into next week’s conference semifinal matchup.
Until the Jumbos broke things open late in the game, possession bounced back and forth between the two teams. In a highly physical battle, referees awarded a combined seven cards in an attempt to slow down the hotly contested game. Though it was not the clean, finessed performance the Jumbos were looking for, Tufts used scrappy play to get the job done in a gritty contest.
“We knew coming into the game that Wesleyan was a very physical team, so we were prepared to not let that affect how we play our game,” senior co−captain forward Lia Sagerman said. “We recognized that we couldn’t control the refs’ calls, but we tried not to let the various cards sidetrack us and adjusted to the man−down situations.”
The Jumbos pressured first, notching three early penalty corners. Wesleyan senior goalkeeper Tori Redding, however, made three quick saves to keep things scoreless. As the Cardinals pushed the ball upfield, senior forward Averill Roberto took a shot on the Tufts cage but sophomore keeper Brianna Keenan was there to make the stop.
Despite Tufts’ large advantage in shots and corners throughout the half, the Wesleyan defense was solid, limiting the Jumbos’ ability to cash in on their opportunities.
In a series of missed opportunities for Tufts, Redding made two huge back−to−back saves on junior midfielders Stephanie Wan and Emily Cannon, and senior forward Missy Karp narrowly missed a tap−in goal that would have given the Jumbos the lead.
Sagerman and senior foward Kelsey Perkins combined to take three more penalty corners as the first 35 minutes closed out, but Tufts was unable to convert and the two teams entered intermission locked in a 0−0 tie.
The second half opened much the same way as the first, as the Jumbos continued to pressure. Following another Perkins penalty corner, senior co−captain midfielder Rachel Gerhardt took aim at goal, but Redding again stood tall to make the save for the Cardinals.
As physical play ensued, junior forward Chelsea Yogerst and Sagerman each attempted a shot but were denied by Redding’s heads−up play. After senior defender Liza Wetzel was awarded a yellow card, Wesleyan pushed the ball into Tufts’ defensive end and sent five shots at goal. Keenan came out of the cage to make three stops and preserve the tie.
“At first, we were caught off guard with the cards being given but then we realized we had to take a breath and focus on playing our game,” Cannon said. “We have practiced what we would do if different people on the field were given cards so I think it made it easier for us to adjust and keep the pressure.”
Midway through the second half, the Jumbos settled the ball and returned to the offensive after a long stretch dominated by Wesleyan. Perkins took several more penalty corners but the Jumbos’ best chance, a shot from Cannon, went just wide of the cage.
After yielding another corner to the Cardinals, the Jumbos finally broke through in the 60th minute of play. Sophomore midfielder Maggie Chapman connected with Yogerst, delivering a short feed to the forward. The junior received the ball and sent a shot into the far corner of the cage, finally cracking the Wesleyan defense for the go−ahead.
“We have been in a lot of close games and we know we can’t start to panic or rush, we still have to play our game and we’ll get opportunities,” Cannon said. “With the time winding down the pressure was on and we started taking as many shots as possible. Chelsea’s goal was really good because she one−timed it, and it wasn’t the greatest angle but it was so fast that it caught the goalie off−guard and went in.”
Fewer than three minutes later, Tufts doubled its advantage when Perkins notched a score of her own. Sagerman delivered a hard strike from the right side of the field into Perkins, who lifted the ball past Redding for a 2−0 Jumbos lead in the 63rd minute.