Women’s Lacrosse | Jumbos fall behind early, drop season opener at Hamilton
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 16:03
The women’s lacrosse season began Saturday on the road at No. 16 Hamilton’s Steuben Field, as the Jumbos fell 11−7 in a NESCAC matchup against the Continentals. Tufts came into the game two spots ahead of Hamilton in the national rankings at No. 14, yet the Jumbos could not match the intensity of the home team from start to finish.
Hamilton controlled the tempo for the majority of the game, which rendered the Jumbos unable to create offensive momentum. Although the defense was able to make big stops at the end of the first half and beginning of the second, it was not enough to prevent Hamilton from coming out on top.
“I think that we definitely came out with a lot less intensity than them,” senior co−captain defender Meg Boland said. “We let them dictate the pace for the first five minutes, and that was an indicator of how the rest of the game will go. We let them get the goals and momentum to take control.”
Hamilton jumped out to a 3−0 lead early after junior attackmen Kathryn Maiorano and Katie D’Antonio netted a goal each and senior attackman Rachel Friedman scored the first of her four goals. After trading two goals to bring the score to 5−2, Hamilton extended its lead, scoring two goals with under four minutes to go in the half to head into the break with a 7−2 lead. Although the onslaught of Hamilton offense proved crucial to building a lead, the difference was also due to Tufts’ inability to make the most of its chances.
“We had a lot of chances on offense, a lot of scoring opportunities,” freshman attackman Caroline Ross said. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”
And although the Jumbos did not come together offensively until late in the second, the defense did their part to keep Tufts within striking distance.
“I think our defense played really well,” Boland said. “[Hamilton] clearly knew a good way to beat our zone, which is our primary defense. So at end of the first half we switched to man−to−man and adapted to that defense. We didn’t give up as many goals or opportunities as a result.”
The game was still looking bleak for the Jumbos as the clock wound down under 10 minutes, with the Continentals in total control up 10−2. But after the 10th goal, Tufts finally found its rhythm and scored four goals to cut the lead to 10−6.
Junior midfielder Kelley Cohen began the late charge with a free−position goal, followed by Ross scoring her second of the game just a under a minute later. Ross then netted her third and final goal with just over five minutes to go, followed by a strike from junior attackman Gabby Horner.
But just as the Jumbos got within striking distance, Hamilton was able to extend the lead back to five goals, ending the hopes of a comeback.
Though coach Carol Rappoli’s squad was unable to complete the comeback, Ross undoubtedly provided the spark Tufts desperately needed on offense. She came off the bench as a substitute but led the team with three goals in her first game as a Jumbo and was able to successfully convert on three of her four shots.
“The younger players stepped up,” Boland said. “Caroline Ross had a strong showing in her first collegiate game. She really took initiative and executed. Her ability to capitalize on opportunities started our momentum in the second half.”
While the making of a strong team appeared in flashes, the loss ultimately came down to a lack of intensity from the Tufts side. This was especially apparent in instances where both teams were scrapping for possession.
“We definitely need to focus on winning 50/50 balls and winning draws,” Ross said. “Those were things that hurt us this game.”
Ultimately, this was not the result Tufts was looking for to start its 2013 campaign. The NESCAC is one of the toughest conferences in Div. III, home to seven of the top 20 teams in the nation, including a nearly unanimously selected top−ranked Trinity side, meaning that the Jumbos will not have much room for error if they plan to make it back to the conference tournament at the end of the spring.
The players hope that this loss will fuel the Jumbos to compete more aggressively in the upcoming matchups, beginning with this Tuesday’s home opener against Conn. College.
“It was disappointing to lose our first game, but it wasn’t an indicator of our work during the offseason,” Boland said. “We can’t come out flat, and we have to match the intensity of our opponent or come out stronger. No one is looking down on the season, and this is definitely a learning experience. Hopefully we can bring the frustration into the next game, be the better team and win.”