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

Jumbos begin season 2-0 despite injuries

Opening its season with an upset over Middlebury, Tufts has looked strong on both sides of the ball.

This past Wednesday, the women’s lacrosse team improved its record to 2-0 with a win over Endicott. The Jumbos' offense dominated for the majority of the game for a final score of 18-5.

In the first half, Tufts went up 7-0 with goals by senior Kate Mackin (four), junior tri-captain Caroline Ross (two) and first-year Calie Nowak (one).However, the lead shrunk when the Gulls took control of the game with 11:03 left on the clock. Enditcott scored five consecutive goals, while Tufts remained scoreless for the rest of the half to bring the score to 7-5.

The shift in momentum inspired by the Gulls' offense was quickly minimized as the Jumbos entered the game with intensity after halftime. In the first five minutes of the second half, Mackin scored twice and sophomore Caroline Kingsley once to bring the score to 10-5.

Ross explained that it was the focus of the team's halftime talk that brought about such a dramatic change.

“We talked about needing to step up our intensity and level of play all together,” she said.

The Jumbos undoubtedly heightened their level of play in the second half. The Endicott defense was put to the test for the rest of the game as Tufts kept possession of the ball for the majority of the second half. The Jumbos scored another eight times to make the final score 18-5.

The impressive shooting accuracy shown by Mackin (6-7) and Ross (4-4) certainly contributed to the success of the Jumbos' offense throughout the game. Overall, Tufts took the offensive advantage with 30 shots to Endicott’s 14 and 18 draw controls to Endicott’s seven. First-year Hannah Wiltshire earned her first career win in goal after playing all 60 minutes of the game and stopping five out of 10 shots on goal.

Wednesday’s win was in many ways overshadowed by Tufts' season opener last Saturday against No. 3 Middlebury. The No. 14 Jumbos took down the Panthers 12-11 in a tight but high-scoring game.

Middlebury started the game by taking a 2-0 lead before Mackin found the goal twice to tie the score at 2-2 with 23:47 left in the first half. The Panthers scored twice more before the Jumbos quickly responded with a series of three goals to take the lead for the first time in the game with a score of 5-4 with 2:38 left before the end of the half. However, Middlebury converted a free-position shot for a goal with two seconds left to tie the game at 5-5.

The Panthers took charge at the start of the second half with a 7-6 advantage, although it did not take long for the Jumbos to fight back. Mackin assisted Ross for the first goal, followed by converted free-position attempts by Kinglsey and first-year Calie Nowak. Ross then added a free-position goal of her own to round out the score to 10-7.

Tufts did not surrender the lead for the rest of the game, but Middlebury's offense did not give up. The Panthers scored with 1:54 left on the clock to bring the score to 12-11. After a Tufts turnover, one last Middlebury shot was stopped by senior goalie Rachel Gallimore with just over a minute left to play to keep the score at 12-11 at the end of the game. Gallimore proved effective in goal with 10 saves.

Interestingly, Tufts took the win in spite of Middlebury's advantages in shots (25-22), ground balls (11-8) and draw controls (14-11).Furthermore, not only did Tufts beat the number three team in the country, they did so with several returning key players hurt. Lax Magazine’s Pre-season Best-Bet All-American pick, junior Brigid Bowser, has been out with a concussion for the past three weeks, while returning starter senior Laura Steinmetz has been sidelined with a shin problem.

Bowser spoke highly of the manner in which her teammates have tackled the adversity posed by injuries.

“One player cannot win or lose a game, and how we played versus Mid shows what Tufts Lacrosse as a program does regardless of who is on the field,” she said.

Bowser mentioned the unfortunate timing of their several injuries, especially after senior captain Kali Digate was added to the disabled list during Monday’s practice due to an ankle injury.

“Injuries are something every team has to deal with, but unfortunately we have had to deal with a lot of injuries all at the same time,” she said.

The good news is that as players return to the game, the Tufts team will only be able to further assert their position as one of the best teams in the country. The team will look to continue its winning streak next Monday against Wheaton starting at 3 p.m.