Women’s Soccer | Despite late comeback, Jumbos fall short of Bobcats
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 01:09
Three years ago, the eighth-seeded Bates Bobcats shocked the top-seeded Jumbos in a NESCAC quarterfinals penalty shootout after 110 minutes of scoreless play. Bates ended Tufts’ playoff run in a 3-2 shootout that has fueled a rivalry between the two schools ever since.
For senior tri-captain Anya Kaufman, who played in the quarterfinals game as a freshman, this week’s loss to Bates was tough to swallow.
The Jumbos fell to the Bobcats 2-1 in a game that had positive moments but was marked by missed opportunities. According to head coach Martha Whiting, the team has a lot of work left to do to tap the potential she sees in this year’s squad.
“Our performance today was inconsistent, which was very disappointing,” she said. “There were spurts where we looked relatively good and times when we just got outworked. We certainly did not play to our potential but we saw lots of promise.”
With four new players starting, it took a while for Tufts to establish a rhythm. Bates jumped out to an early lead 23 minutes in on a goal from senior forward Kara Stefaniak.
The Jumbos pushed back with six shots on goal in the next 20 minutes of play that all seemed to just miss the mark.
At the 30-minute mark, junior forward Alex Farris had a shot on goal from six feet away that hit the post and went out of play. Junior midfielder Nikki Blank took a shot a couple seconds after her that went wide, while Farris added two more scoring opportunities before the end of that half that also fell short. Junior midfielder Carla Kruyff closed out the half with a shot on goal that clanged off the crossbar, signaling the Jumbos’ struggles to put the ball in the back of the net as they went into the break still down one point.
Whiting expressed optimism about the team’s ability to create scoring opportunities, noting that the aim will be capitalizing on those chances in upcoming practices.
“Our greatest strength was our ability to create scoring chances,” she said. “It’s been a while since our team has created this many dangerous chances, and I was very encouraged by that. On the flip side, our greatest weakness was our inability to finish the scoring opportunities.”
The Jumbos came into the second period reinvigorated and managed another 13 shots on goal compared to the Bobcats’ six.
“During half time, we talked about giving it a little more effort, and just playing smart and not being afraid to take shots,” Kaufman said. “Sometimes [the]girls forget that the goal of soccer is to score goals. We were just being more offensive minded in the second half and attacking the goal.”
The pressure on Tufts to convert scoring chances increased after Bates senior midfielder Julia Rafferty headed in a ball from 35 yards out to increase Bates’ lead to two. The Jumbos continued to fight back, with Farris finally sinking one in the back of the net with seven minutes to go on a cross from senior tri-captain defender Blair Brady.
Farris, a junior transfer student in her first game for the Jumbos, will be a force to look out for as the season progresses.
Tufts pressed hard after the goal to try to even out the game at two goals apiece, but couldn’t get anything going before the clock ran out. Although they came up short, Kaufman was pleased with the team’s play at the end of the game and hopes to channel that intensity throughout all of their games.
“The highlight was the second half and Alex scoring that goal; we were really pushing forward to score, and we worked hard after the goal,” she said. “But that’s something that we should be doing the whole game.”
The team takes on MIT on Tuesday at 4:30 in their first non-conference matchup of the season and looks to carry through the offensive prowess that they saw at the end of this week’s game.