Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:03
Oliver Porter / The Tufts Daily
Following a season-opening loss to No. 12 Hamilton, the No. 18 women’s lacrosse team headed into their home opener against Conn. College on Tuesday looking to turn things around. After that initial frustration, the Jumbos responded to the Camels, securing a dominant 11-5 victory to bring their overall and in-conference record to 1-1.
“Our team came out flat and we were not expecting their intensity to be so high,” senior co-captain attacker Kerry Eaton said of the game against Hamilton. “They were able to dictate the game rather than us setting the tone.”
So after getting out slowly against the Continentals, the Jumbos looked to start Tuesday’s matchup at a much faster pace.
And whether it was the motivation from the loss or the home crowd, the Jumbos were in command for the entire game: They never trailed, and their defense allowed the fewest goals in a game since 2005.
On the offensive side, the Jumbos looked to have found an effective combination. Despite new and returning players filling in roles vacated by last year’s seniors, the midfield and attack showed a much-needed cohesiveness.
“Everyone has been very receptive to playing new roles on the team,” Eaton said. “We have a lot of players who are versatile and we are relying on many new starters who are fulfilling new roles.”
Eaton started off the scoring seven minutes in, and after an equalizer from the Camels, the Jumbos were able to take the lead for good when freshman attacker Brigid Bowser slotted in two free-position goals to bookend a three-goal barrage with sophomore attacker Kali DiGate.
The Camels showed signs of life at the end of the first half when sophomore Lindsay Macdonald tacked on a goal with two minutes remaining to make it 4-2 going into the break.
But back-to-back goals from juniors Eliza Halmo and Gabby Horner to start the second all but locked up the game for the Jumbos, as they took a 6-2 lead before finishing the game off with three straight goals from sophomore midfielder Lindsey Walker, Eaton and Halmo.
On the defensive end, senior goalkeeper Tess Shapanka regained her grasp on the starting position after being pulled for sophomore Rachel Gallimore in the opener with a six-save performance.
The team showed improvement on 50/50 balls, a major concern after failing to scoop up much-needed loose during the Hamilton game. The Jumbos controlled 61 percent of the draws and beat the Camels in groundballs, 12-11, led by senior defenseman Meg Boland’s game-high total of five. Boland, classmate Collier Clegg and sophomore Emily Wright anchored the defense to its impressive performance.
Competing in the toughest conference in Div. III has driven home the fact that each conference win should not be taken for granted, leaving the Jumbos pleased with their performance and their first victory.
“Every NESCAC game is critical, and we don’t take any opponent lightly,” Horner said before the game. “In this league, any team has a chance of winning on any given day.”
The Jumbos will look to continue their winning ways on Friday when they host Babson for their first non-conference game of the season.