Field Hockey | Perkins scores twice as Tufts beats UMass Dartmouth 2−1
Perkins scores twice as Tufts beats UMass Dartmouth
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 02:09
The No. 17 field hockey team rode senior forward Kelsey Perkins’ first two goals of the 2013 season to a 2−1 victory at UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday night. The win was Tufts’ second non−conference victory of the year and moved the Jumbos to 3−1 overall.
Perkins finished last season with nine goals and a single assist, good enough for third among the team’s top scorers, but until last night had been completely shut out this season, with only two true attempts on goal in her first three games.
But on Wednesday, the second−year starter broke through, going a perfect two−for−two against Corsairs junior keeper Lauren O’Brien to push the Jumbos to a much−needed win.
Perkins’ goals set the tone early, her first coming on a feed from junior midfielder Emily Cannon just 1:45 into the contest. For the next 25 minutes, her goal remained the only mark on the scoreboard as both teams’ attempts were stifled for much of the remainder of the half.
“It’s always easier to play when you’re ahead rather than when you’re behind,” sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Keenan said. “Getting the go−ahead goal gave us the momentum to keep playing strong and aggressive defense. We knew we could score; it was just a matter of working as a team to make those opportunities happen.”
But, shortly before intermission, the host Corsairs found their answer for Perkins. Freshman forward Alison Ladue dribbled the ball upfield and found junior defender Victoria Dolce, who bested Keenan for the equalizer.
The teams entered the half tied, and Tufts continued to push as the second half began. Eight minutes into the second period, the Jumbos finally found what they had been looking for when junior forward Chelsea Yogerst tapped the ball up to Perkins, who once more showed her value as an experienced veteran, beating her coverage to put away her second goal of the afternoon.
“Right off the opening pass−back we were able to move the ball quickly downfield,” Perkins said in an email. “The second goal was the result of our whole team’s effort to put pressure on the other team’s defense. Chelsea Yogerst was able to gain control of the ball on the baseline in the circle, and she made a beautiful pass to me right in front of the net.”
After Perkins’ goal in the 43rd minute, each team continued to look for more, but Keenan and O’Brien organized their defenses and held their own to prevent any additional scoring.
Keenan, in her second career start for the Jumbos, led the way with five stops to hold down the score.
“They can’t win if you don’t let them score,” Keenan said. “Our coach always says field hockey, when you’re ahead, is a giant game of keep−away and that’s exactly what we tried to do.”
With Wednesday’s game in the books, the Jumbos’ attention turns homeward. After a four−game stretch of away contests to open the season, Tufts will finally return to Bello Field when the Jumbos host NESCAC rival Colby on Saturday afternoon.
“We still have some little things to work on. We’re still getting used to playing with each other and a lot of people are in new positions this year,” Keenan said. “NESCAC games are always important, especially when it comes to playoff position, so we’re going to come out strong and hopefully make a statement.”
The Jumbos’ long−awaited homecoming marks a major opportunity for coach Tina McDavitt’s squad as Tufts has been extremely consistent at home. Last fall the Jumbos notched a 7−2 mark at Bello Field, and this year’s seniors, who have gone a whopping 25−4 on their home field in the past three years, hope that Tufts will continue its impressive streak against Colby.
“We’re really excited to get back to Bello Field this weekend,” Perkins said. “We love playing on our home turf, and of course it’s enormously helpful to have the energy of our fans on the sidelines.”