Field Hockey | Jumbos roll over Continentals for 12th straight win
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 08:10
For the second time this season, the No. 8 field hockey team faced an early deficit. On Saturday, the visiting Hamilton Continentals, who at game time had not yet seen a NESCAC victory, gained an early advantage to put the host Jumbos down 1−0. Tufts, however, rebounded for a decisive 4−1 victory, ultimately notching its 12th straight win with one crucial contest remaining.
In the end, the Jumbos put experience and cool−headedness on display. After the early Hamilton goal put Tufts in a hole, coach Tina McDavitt’s squad roared back to take the lead, eventually extending its advantage to a three−goal margin. The win marked the Jumbos’ second consecutive win decided by more than one goal, sending a message to competitors that Tufts can not only win the close games, but also dominate the box score.
From the first whistle, the Jumbos controlled possession and saw several opportunities to score, as senior co−captain Lia Sagerman and junior midfielder Emily Cannon each took whacks at the cage. Hamilton’s Katey Hopper, however, was first to strike, sending a rocket past sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Keenan to seize a one−goal lead and put the Jumbos on their heels.
“I think being in similar pressured situations before, we knew that we could come back,” freshman forward Hannah Park said. “We knew that we were still in the game and that we had to keep composure in order to play to our best ability.”
In the following minutes, Tufts pushed the ball on offense and launched a barrage of shots at Hamilton keeper Victoria Trentini in an effort to equalize. Their efforts paid off when forward Chelsea Yogerst received a ball in transition and used her speed to blow past Hamilton’s defenders. The junior buried a tough shot past Trentini just as her angle disappeared to tie things up at 1−1.
A minute later, the Jumbo defense made a stand, blocking a shot by Hamilton’s Martha Geyer to preserve the tie. After four minutes of up and down play, the Jumbos pushed the ball upfield, and Park attempted to beat her defenders into the circle, but narrowly missed the back of the cage.
The Jumbos continued to force the ball into the circle, and amidst several scrambling bodies, Park finally connected, receiving a feed from sophomore midfielder Maggie Chapman and finishing it past Trentini.
“I received a pass and was able to beat a defender and get a fast break,” Park said. “I was able to dodge the goalie, but my shot was a little outside the cage. I was disappointed that I did not score because I knew we needed that goal, but later in the half I was able to run the ball down to the baseline, pass the ball to Lia, and I got a rebound for a goal.”
The Jumbos led 2−1 at halftime but emerged from intermission discontent with a slim one−goal lead.
“After being down in the first half, we knew that we had to take the game into our hands,” Park said. “Our captains told us that during halftime that it was our game and we were there to prove what Tufts field hockey is. After that, our whole team was ready to play the way we know how.”
In the 39th minute, Cannon notched her only goal of the game, cashing in on a penalty stroke to put the Jumbos up 3−1.
“We transitioned out of the back and up to the forwards very fast,” Cannon said. “Lia got a breakaway, and the goalie took her out even though the ball wasn’t near her. If a goalie slides, they have to make an effort for the ball, so the referee awarded us a stroke.”
Meanwhile, the second half marked a total domination for the Tufts defense, as for the entire period, Hamilton failed to register a single shot on goal.
At the other end, the Jumbos launched 22 shots at Trentini, finally cashing in with just 20 seconds remaining on a strike from Chapman for a 4−1 advantage that held out as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“For the rest of the game we played really well as a team and focused on keeping our energy up and not relenting,” Cannon said. “[Chapman’s] goal at the end of the game is a representation of our team as a whole. We don’t worry about anything but playing the game to the best of our ability for a full 70 minutes and not ever backing down until the final whistle. [Senior forward] Missy Karp did a great job of collecting her own rebound and moving the goalie, shooting far−post where [Chapman] was able to tap it home.”