Field Hockey | Tufts takes down No. 13 Wellesley on road
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 08:10
The nationally ranked No. 3 field hockey team notched another victory over a ranked opponent on Wednesday afternoon, topping No. 13 Wellesley College 1-0 on the road as Tufts continues its climb toward the top of the national rankings.
The Jumbos’ defense notched its fifth shutout of the season, while head coach Tina McDavitt’s squad improved to 10-1 overall. Over the weekend, Tufts improved two spots from its previous No. 5 position in the NFHCA rankings. The non-conference tilt on Wednesday will not affect the Jumbos’ current position among conference opponents.
This time, the Jumbos, who tallied 11 goals in just two games last week, faced a tough defensive battle from the Blue and the two teams combined for just one goal on the afternoon.
In the first four and a half minutes of play, Tufts came out strong, sending four shots towards Wellesley senior co-captain goalkeeper Brit Mscisz and earning two penalty corner opportunities.
Fewer than five minutes into the contest, the Jumbos pressured inside the circle and forward Allison Rolfe found a familiar face. The sophomore slipped the ball to senior co-captain forward Chelsea Yogerst on the right side. Yogerst redirected it past the veteran Mscisz to give Tufts an early 1-0 advantage.
The strike came on the heels of a seven-goal performance from Yogerst last week, who became the school’s all-time single game scoring leader on Thursday.
The Blue settled in after the Jumbos strike. But while the Wellesley defense held Tufts to just five more shots in the first 35 minutes, the Blue’s offense struggled at the other end of the field, piecing together just four shots in the opening half.
Wellesley failed to capitalize on two penalty corner opportunities, and Tufts’ defense regathered quickly to shut down dangerous fastbreaks as the half drew to a close.
Tufts nearly doubled its advantage at the end of the period when senior co-captain midfielder Steph Wan took a threatening shot on cage, but Mscisz was able to block the ball out of the way.
Coming out of the intermission with a slim lead, Tufts hoped to push the tempo and earn quality offensive possessions. But instead, the Blue forced the Jumbos into a battle in the midfield.
In the 52nd minute, Wellesley junior forward Nathalie Gruet received the ball off of a penalty corner and sent in a hard shot, but junior netminder Bri Keenan was there for the Jumbos to preserve the lead.
“Wednesday really tested our defense, and we were able to see what we need to work on,” senior midfielder Katy McConnell said.
Just minutes later, the Jumbos pressured at the other end of the field. Looking to add to her successful week, Yogerst launched two more shots on goal, one of which sailed just wide, and Mscisz managed to get a piece of the other.
As the clock wound down, things grew tense for the Jumbos. The Blue possessed threateningly inside the 16-meter circle and tried to earn a penalty corner. They were unable to do so, however, allowing Tufts to squeak out of the contest, 1-0.
On Saturday, the Jumbos return to NESCAC play at Williams. A win over the Ephs would propel Tufts to a 7-1 conference record, putting the Jumbos in better seeding position as the regular season winds down.
“A lot of good things came out of the Wellesley game and we were very happy to come out with the win,” Wan said. “We want to continue working on our layers and defense to not let anyone through and keep our momentum going to come out strong at Williams.”
“We’re excited for this weekend,” McConnell added. “Williams is definitely gonna be a challenge.”