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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Women's Soccer | Jumbos blank Beavers to earn anticipated first win

The women's soccer team came ready to play on Tuesday and earned its first win of the season, shutting out the Babson Beavers, 2-0.

An offense that had a slow start this season came out strong and scored two first-half goals, giving the Tufts defenders a solid lead to protect. Although the Jumbos were not able to put the ball in the net again, they did force the Beaver defense to make key saves to stay in the game.

With the win, the Jumbos moved to 1-2-2 on the season and pushed the Beavers to a 5-1-2 record.

The Jumbos came into the contest anxious for their first win of the 2006 campaign. Improved offensive rhythm produced two goals on Saturday against NESCAC rival Amherst but left the team with a 2-2 draw. Fueled by the confidence of Saturday's two-goal output, the Jumbos came out aggressively and put pressure on the Babson defense from the start.

"Saturday was the first time this season that we scored in the run of play," coach Martha Whiting said. "That gave our forwards the confidence they needed to play well today."

The Jumbos scored 15 minutes into the first half when junior midfielder Martha Furtek fed the ball to fellow junior Lauren Fedore who headed it into the net.

"We have been working in practice on taking more shots and better shots," Fedore said. "We really kept up the intensity today, and the forwards worked a lot better together taking the risks we needed to take."

The Jumbos used that intensity to penetrate the Babson defense again 13 minutes later when junior defenseman Rebecca Abbot set up a perfect opportunity for Furtek, who fired one past freshman keeper Sam Scarpato.

Two goals proved to be all the Jumbos needed. The backfield held strong for 90 minutes-not an easy task against a team that entered the game having scored 26 goals in its first seven games this season.

"The defense played great," senior tri-captain and goalkeeper Annie Ross said. "It's always great to get another shutout, especially against a team that has done so well offensively this season."

Senior Kim Harrington stepped up defensively for the Jumbos, making several key plays early on to keep the Beavers scoreless. The Jumbos cooked up a mix of solid defense and aggressive offense that pressured the Beavers' defense and thwarted their forwards.

While the Tufts offense did not score in the second half, it did not go down without a fight. Ten minutes into the frame, Fedore had a chance to notch her second goal of the game and push the Tufts lead to three when she broke away from the Beaver defense, but her kick deflected off the post.

Fedore is the veteran leader of a young unit of forwards that includes two freshmen and two sophomores. The underclassmen have stepped up to compensate for the loss of last years' seniors, which included the team's top four scorers, and have been working hard all fall on communicating and creating quality shots.

"Our forwards have been working together for about three weeks now," Whiting said. "They are playing much better together and with a lot more confidence."

A tally is finally in the win column, but the Jumbos are far from resting easy.

"We are going to work on keeping the intensity level up this week," Whiting said. "We can't have any let-downs and we need to continue to work on having clean possessions." Harrington echoed Whiting's sentiments with an eye towards the team's Homecoming Weekend match-up against Bates.

"It was great to get our first win," Harrington said. "But we are going to have to come out a lot harder against Bates on Saturday."

Intensity shouldn't be an issue on Saturday, as the two teams enter the weekend with a history. The pair's three meetings last season included a split of double-overtime thrillers, with Tufts taking the regular-season win and the Bobcats stealing the NESCAC Tournament championship game. The Jumbos had the last laugh, however, when they beat Bates in the Regional Championship game to advance in the NCAA Tournament.

Since 1999, Seven of the nine games between the two teams have been decided by a single goal. The Jumbos have the historical edge, winning six of those nine, and will have a chance to make it seven on Saturday.