Field Hockey | Tufts rebounds from first loss with victory at home against Middlebury
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 01:10
After dropping a game to conference rival Amherst on Sept. 28, the No. 5 field hockey team is back on track. On Saturday, Tufts picked up its fifth conference win, defeating No. 6 Middlebury on home turf to improve to 7-1 for the season, handing the Panthers their second loss of 2013.
“I think after the loss, we realized that we never wanted to experience that feeling again,” sophomore forward Hannah Park said. “It definitely psyched us up to work hard.”
Head coach Tina McDavitt’s squad was led by sophomore midfielder Dakota Sikes-Keilp and classmate Rachel Terveer, who each notched two goals in the 4-2 decision.
“We focused on pushing each other harder in practice last week and making sure that during the game, everyone played with the same level of intensity and desire,” senior All-American midfielder Emily Cannon said.
Fewer than five minutes into regulation, the Jumbos saw an excellent chance to get on the board. With the ball inside the 16-meter circle, Tufts earned an early penalty stroke. Cannon stepped up to take the stroke, driving a shot at the lower right corner, but Middlebury junior keeper Emily Knapp dove toward the ball to make the save.
With six minutes remaining in the first half, Tufts finally took the lead. Off of a penalty corner opportunity, Jumbos’ sophomore forward Allison Rolfe controlled the ball and pushed it across the circle to Terveer. Terveer then finished a shot past Knapp for her first goal of the season, giving Tufts a one-goal lead at the half.
Five minutes into the second half, Middlebury earned a penalty corner opportunity. Senior forward Katherine Theiss received a give-and-go from junior midfielder Catherine Fowler and buried the equalizer past Tufts junior keeper Bri Keenan.
“We really wanted to refocus and calm down after they scored,” Cannon said. “We went back to playing good Tufts hockey and piecing together the little things instead of being concerned about scoring right away.”
Over the next 20 minutes, the Jumbos regained their lead and began to pull away from the Panthers. Terveer notched her second goal of the afternoon at the 46 minute mark, finishing a rebound past Knapp to put Tufts up 2-1.
“Rachel [Terveer] has been working hard at practice, and she was able to transfer it to the game and getting those two goals,” Park said. “Our team is very well-rounded and it definitely allows us to be stronger.”
Sikes-Keilp tallied the next two scores, first on an unassisted score, and again eight minutes later on another Tufts penalty corner, inserted by junior forward Brittany Norfleet.
A minute after Sikes-Keilp’s second goal, Middlebury struck again. Fowler received the ball on a Panther penalty corner and slid it across the circle to first-year forward Pam Schulman, who beat Keenan with a shot to pull Middlebury within two.
The Panthers came no closer as the final minutes ticked off the clock, and Sikes-Keilp’s insurance goals gave the Jumbos enough to preserve the win.
“In the last few minutes, we just worked on making one receive or one tackle without becoming frantic when Middlebury worked the ball into our end,” Cannon said. “It felt good to get a solid conference win.”
The Jumbos are now tied for first in the NESCAC rankings, though the Lord Jeffs have the advantage since they handed the Jumbos their only loss of the season. This week’s schedule is no time to lay down as the team progresses into the second half of the season. Tufts hosts the University of New England before meeting Connecticut College on Saturday for their next NESCAC showdown.