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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Women's Soccer | Samuelson strike, her second, lifts Jumbos in 2 OT

Coach Martha Whiting and the women's soccer team kicked off the month of October on a high note on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Lewiston, Maine, and defeating the Bates Bobcats 2-1 in double overtime thanks to two goals from senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson.

"They came out in the first half really pumped up and even though we were able to put together a few offensive opportunities, they were winning a lot more balls than we were," sophomore Martha Furtek said. "But by the end of the second half we had really turned up the intensity. It was like a completely different game."

Samuelson continued her remarkable season, scoring both goals in the game to help the Brown and Blue push their record to 6-1 (3-1, NESCAC) and put them in a tie atop the conference standings with Williams.

"This season, we're finally putting the ball in the net when we need to and obviously she's a big part of that," Callaghan said. "She works really hard and finds ways to get the ball near the goal."

The Jumbos, who tallied their sixth straight win, played from behind virtually the entire game after an early goal by Bates' leading scorer and reigning NESCAC Player of the Week, junior Kim Alexander.

In the thirteenth minute, Tufts junior keeper Annie Ross bobbled a high corner kick from Bates sophomore Molly Wagner inside the box. Alexander corralled the rebound and slipped the ball past Ross into the back of the net to put Bates up 1-0.

Despite having several opportunities as the game progressed, Tufts was unable to slip anything past Bates keeper Nini Spalding for the first 70 minutes of play. Despite being down, however, the Jumbos' confidence never wavered and they continued to keep the pressure on the Bates defense.

"We didn't panic in the second half and I don't think any of us thought we were going to lose," Callaghan said.

"In the second half, we started winning balls in the air, and playing composed enough to penetrate their defense," Furtek added. "We knew we were a better team and at half time were frustrated that they thought they were good enough to be one up on us, so we came out in the second half ready to prove ourselves, and we definitely did."

The squad's hard work paid off when, in the 70th minute, Samuelson broke away from the defense on a through-ball from Furtek. The senior tri-captain, who had missed a breakaway shot just minutes earlier, didn't make the same mistake twice, tucking the ball inside the left post to knot the score at 1-1.

The score remained that way for the next 20 minutes, setting the stage for the Jumbos' first overtime session of the year.

After a scoreless first OT, Samuelson delivered her sixth goal of the season to give the Jumbos the victory. With 6:23 remaining, Spalding deflected a shot by senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian from the left side of the pitch directly to Samuelson, who deftly snuck it past the keeper for the win.

"One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to win any game that went into overtime, and we talked about that going into the first OT," sophomore Joelle Emery said. "Winning an OT game in come-from-behind fashion is huge for us, because it shows us that no matter what point in the game and what the score is, we have the ability to still win."

In their last three games, the Bobcats, who were ranked third in New England and 23rd nationally heading into Saturday, scored a total of 18 goals against the opposition. But the back four of Emery, junior Jen Fratto, and sophomores Jess Wagner and Annie Benedict shut down the high-powered Bates offense for the final 90 minutes.

Bates used three attackers, something that Tufts isn't normally accustomed to seeing, but the Jumbos were able to adjust to Bates' style of play, helping each other out on defense and frustrating the opposition.

"We knew that they were a high-scoring team, but also felt that if we continued to play hard defense and keep our spaces tight that we'd be able to deal with them," Emery said. "If one of us got beaten, there was always someone covering and I think it frustrated them a lot."

The Jumbos also had some extra motivation for one of their teammates: Wagner, who was playing against her former teammates for the first time since transferring from Bates this fall.

"She was really excited for the game and by the way she played, we all knew she really wanted the win," Furtek said. "It was great to get the win for her."

The Jumbos, whose victory over Bates was their first ever on Russell Street Field, return to the comforts of Kraft Field for two home games this week. Next up is a nonconference matchup against Brandeis on Wednesday, followed by a bout on Saturday with the Bowdoin Polar Bears, who currently sit tied for second in the conference.