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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Women's Soccer: Women's soccer makes it three straight NESCAC victories

For the second Saturday in a row, the women's soccer teamexacted some revenge on a NESCAC opponent.

The Jumbos, who fell at home in a tough NESCAC loss to Trinitylast year, traveled to Hartford to face the Bantams having won twostraight conference games and three overall. The Jumbos dominatedthe game from start to finish and shut out Trinity 3-0 on ParentsWeekend and Seniors' Day in Hartford.

"I thought we played really well today," said senior co-captainSarah Gelb, who watched the game from the sidelines, still nursingan ankle injury. "We dominated most of the game, and really clickedoffensively."

After coming out flat on Tuesday afternoon and playing down totheir opponent, Wesleyan, the Jumbos flew out of the gates onSaturday, keeping the ball in the Bantams zone for the majority ofthe first frame. However, just like in previous games, the squadwas unable to capitalize on any of its shot opportunities, andsolid goalkeeping by Trinity senior netminder Brenna Shields keptthe game knotted at zero.

Finally, in the 40th minute, the forward tandem of junior SarahCallaghan and senior Jen Baldwin struck for the Jumbos. Callaghangained possession of the ball deep in the Trinity zone and slottedthe ball through the Bantam back four to a cutting Baldwin. Baldwintook control and slipped one past Shields to give Tufts a 1-0 leadheading into halftime. The goal was Baldwin's team-leading third ofthe year; she also holds the team lead in points with seven.

"After hammering the net [without scoring] during the firsthalf, the first goal definitely helped boost our confidence," Gelbsaid. "It allowed us to settle down and play more composed in thesecond."

The second half entailed more of the same domination by theJumbos. Just ten minutes into the frame Tufts struck again, thistime from Callaghan to freshman midfielder Lauren Fedore. Callaghangained possession on the left flank and sent a perfect cross toFedore, who headed the ball to the near post past Shields, givingthe Jumbos a two goal cushion.

It was Fedore's second goal of the season, giving her fivepoints on the year (3G, 1A), good for third on the team.Callaghan's two assists on the afternoon move her into second onthe team with six points (2G, 2A).

The Jumbos put the icing on the cake in the 80th minute.Sophomore fullback Jen Fratto cleared the ball from the midfielddeep into the Trinity zone. Freshman center midfielder MarthaFurtek gained possession of the ball, beat her defender, and sent anifty shot past Shields for the first goal of her collegecareer.

"We were so confident today, it was awesome to see," seniorgoalie Meg McCourt said. "We came out and dominated the game fromstart to finish which isn't always our strong suit."

The Jumbos' domination was particularly important because itallowed Gelb to get some much needed rest for her ankle, ratherthan coming back early and risking further injury. Coach MarthaWhiting inserted Fedore into the starting lineup in place of Gelbfor the second straight game, and she has certainly responded.

"We miss Sarah on the field, but her support on the bench isoverwhelming," McCourt said. "To have a freshman come off the benchto start in a senior's shoes and score a goal is just awesome. Itproves the strength of this team."

McCourt was solid in the net all afternoon, turning away shotafter shot by the Bantams as she recorded her second shutout of theweek. The Rochester, N.Y., native lowered her goals against averageto a paltry 1.10 per game and upped her save percentage to justunder 80 percent.

The Jumbos are peaking at the right time, having gone undefeatedin their last five games during the most important stretch of theseason. The squad plays its final road game of the season onTuesday, in non-conference action against the Keene State Owls.Tufts will then play its final two games of the season at homeagainst NESCAC opponents with hopes of securing one of the topseeds in the postseason tournament.

"This team is capable of amazing things, and this game and thepast couple weeks, we've showed it," McCourt said. "We're peakingat the right time and becoming a great team."