Late goal gives Middlebury 2-1 win over Tufts
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 02:10
Despite getting out to an early lead, the Jumbos fell to the Middlebury Panthers during Parents Weekend on a goal scored off a corner kick in the last two minutes of the game. For the Jumbos, it was a heartbreaking loss, filled with missed opportunities in the second half to put the game away.
The Jumbos saw their record drop to .500 in both conference and overall play, while Middlebury retained its second-place spot in the NESCAC. Following losses to the top two ranked teams, Trinity and Middlebury, Tufts’ ranking dropped from third to fifth in the conference standings.
Despite the loss, the Jumbos came away with mixed feelings because they were able to control the ball well and create chances up top, according to senior tri-captain Anya Kaufmann.
“We had a lot of opportunities and we were moving the ball well; I think it was really one of our better games,” Kaufmann said. “We just had the few mental lapses that they took advantage of and scored.”
Middlebury closed out the game on a corner kick from sophomore Jaime Soroka that curled in front of the net and bounced around before the Jumbos were able to clear it. Junior Sophia Kligler got a foot on it and found the back of the net to put Middlebury in the lead and secure a win for the Panthers.
According to senior tri-captain defender Blair Brady, the defense had a good game but needs to improve on moments in the box.
“Defensively we played strong, it’s on set pieces that we need to be better marked up,” Brady said.
Senior goalie Kristin Wright echoed Brady’s sentiments. Wright and the rest of the defense had a good game, and Middlebury happened to capitalize on the couple of slip-ups.
“I know as a team we were frustrated with the end result,” she said. “On paper it doesn’t look like it, but we played really strong. The two goals they had were just momentary defensive breakdowns where those 30 seconds did not go according to plan.”
The Jumbos took the advantage in the early part of the game with a goal from Kaufmann 17 minutes in. Junior midfielder Carla Kruyff slotted a ball in through a couple of defenders, and Kaufmann was able to run onto it and sneak it past senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Foody for her third goal of the season.
The Jumbos did not have too many other opportunities in the first half, but Kaufmann felt that they played well. Overall, it was a low shooting period, with Middlebury outshooting Tufts 4-2, but with neither team in clear control.
Middlebury came out hard in the second half, and sophomore Hannah Robinson was able to beat her defender and put one away for the Panthers just ten minutes in. According to Kaufmann, the team felt a bit of a mental setback after the tying goal but rebounded quickly with some good chances on goal.
“In some ways the goal took a little steam out of us,” Kaufmann said. “We tried to bounce back and be aggressive, and I thought we succeeded. We came out harder than we had [been].”
Freshman forward Jess Capone had a chance to give Tufts the lead at 67 minutes when she collected the ball at the box off of a free kick and went one-on-one with Foody. Foody, however, blocked the attempt and was then able to collect the ball.
Tufts had several more dangerous chances on goal, but the Jumbos were not able to capitalize on any of the opportunities. According to Kaufmann, the keeper did a good job of coming out of the box to block shots.
“At the end of the second half, we were pushing and attacking and we had a lot of opportunities up in our half,” she said. “Their goalie did a good job of coming out for balls that are usually 50-50 — she kept us from getting more opportunities.”
According to Brady, the team needs to focus on finishing out the game by playing hard the whole time.
“We need to play the full 90 minutes every game,” Brady said. “We had a lot of chances that would have put Middlebury away, we just have to keep our heads up.”
With a little more than half of the season now behind them, the Jumbos are looking to recover from back-to-back losses. According to Kaufmann, now is a good time to get refocused as the excitement of the early season dies down and the results continue to matter.
“Our goal is to restart and reset and think of this as the beginning of our second season, trying to bring back the energy and intensity from earlier,” she said.
NESCAC games are still very much up in the air, as Bowdoin’s upset against Trinity this weekend shows. The fifth-ranked Polar Bears handed the Bantams their first loss of the season in a 3-0 shutout that will be sure to shake some things up in the conference.
With four more conference games left, the Jumbos still have a chance to redeem themselves, as their focus is on future games from this point. Their next two tests come in the form of a Tuesday non-conference game against Endicott and a weekend matchup with Connecticut College.