Women's Soccer | Jumbos end winning streak, settle for scoreless draw
Endicott keeper holds Tufts in check
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 01:10
After a disappointing start to the season, winning just one game in September, the women’s soccer team has used the first weeks of October to pull a dramatic 180. With a scoreless draw on Kraft Field against Endicott on Wednesday, it extended its unbeaten streak to four games.
Endicott College came into Wednesday’s match boasting a 7−4−1 record, but Tufts came in riding high from two consecutive wins. The two teams battled through 90 minutes of end−to−end regulation play and then another two overtime periods.
“A tie is always a frustrating result, especially going 110 minutes without putting the ball away,” senior tri−captain midfielder Rachel Aronchick said. “But we did have some urgency in terms of crashing the goal and getting shots off. We just need to push it one step further to score the goals.”
Neither team was able to break through, but it was the Jumbos who generated the most chances, finishing with a 17−11 advantage in shots and a 5−0 advantage in corner kicks. Unfortunately for Tufts, Endicott sophomore keeper Katie Donnelly was on top of her game, stopping all ten shots on goal. Tufts’ senior tri−captain keeper Phoebe Hanley, making her first start of the season, did all she could do to help the cause, saving the five shots that came her way.
The Jumbos’ best opportunity came in the opening minutes of the first overtime period, when consecutive breakdowns by the Gulls’ backline created two open shots for Jumbos in the box. But both junior forward Sophie Wajtasinski and freshman midfielder Sydney Griffith saw their shots go just wide of the net.
Tufts received a corner kick opportunity in the final seconds of the second overtime period, in what was sure to be either team’s last chance to score. But Tufts could not take advantage, as Endicott defenders were able to get to the ball first and clear it from the box.
“It is always unfortunate when we know we can beat the other team,” sophomore forward Alina Okamoto said. “Our team looked very strong all around, and it was clear that we wanted it so much more than Endicott. It is important with these kinds of games to take the work ethic that we had and carry that over to the next game. All we need to do now is finish our chances.”
With the draw, the Jumbos are now 3−5−3 on the year, a respectable mark given their 1−5−1 start to the season. All three of their draws have been scoreless affairs, and while that particular outcome is frustrating, there are positives to be drawn from Wednesday’s performance.
“Because we have such a young team with a lot of players on the field for the first time, I think it took us a while to learn how to play as a team,” junior forward Anya Kaufmann said. “But in the past few games, we have been playing together, which has given us a little more success. The chemistry has definitely improved, and I think that has, in turn, given us more confidence.”
With the regular season quickly coming to a close, Tufts heads into what is the most critical stretch of its 2012 campaign. Its final three matches will all be NESCAC bouts, starting with a game Saturday at league−leading Williams.
Tufts heads into the contest against Williams with a dismal 1−5−1 conference record.
But riding this new wave of momentum, the Jumbos are hopeful that they can use these last few games to creep up in the NESCAC standings and make the conference tournament.
“It is crucial that we come out with wins in our last three regular season games,” Aronchick said. “Our postseason is in our hands in these next three games. Our position in the NESCAC tournament depends on these games, so we need to come out hard and get the job done.”