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Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

Women's soccer begins conference schedule with 3-1 victory over Colby

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Junior forward Brooke Fortin fights for the ball against her opponent. Fortin recorded one assist against Colby on Saturday, Sept. 12.

The women’s soccer team began their conference schedule on Saturday with a 3-1 win over the Colby Mules.

The match was the Mules' season opener, and the second game of the year for the Jumbos.Tufts kicked off their season on Wednesday, Sept. 9, against Lesley, dropping the contest by a score of 1-0 in overtime. With Saturday's win, the team was able to even its season record and, perhaps more importantly, begin its NESCAC schedule with a notch in the win column.

“I think it was really huge for us because we were down after losing in overtime in the first non-conference game," sophomoreforwardAlex Scheman said. "Although the conference games are more important than non-conference, it was still obviously upsetting. So coming back and having a definitive win against Colby really got us pumped and ready for the next set of games.”

Tufts commanded the pace of play in the first half, tallying the match’s first 10 shots. Five of those Jumbos efforts were on goal, but none found the back of the net. It wasn’t until the 25th minute that the Mules had their first shot.

Soon after that, the Jumbos finally cashed in with the only goal of the first half. Senior co-captain center-back Nicole Campellone scored a header off of a corner from first-year midfielder Emma Ranalli. The goal was the first of the season for Campellone and for Tufts as a team, having been shut out by Lesley in their only previous contest.

The second period saw both teams playing with increased energy. Colby had opportunities from two corners at the beginning of the half but failed to convert them. The Jumbos recorded their second goal off the foot of Scheman in the 53rd minute. The goal put Tufts up 2-0, but not for very long. Less than two minutes later, Colby first-year midfielder Katherine Gillespie scored on a free kick after a Tufts foul.

For Scheman, who is new to the roster, the goal was the first of her Jumbo career, and it proved to be the eventual game-winner.

“I didn’t even know how to respond. I looked at my teammates and was just in awe, of myself and of my team,” Scheman said.

The teams held one another scoreless for the next 30 minutes until the Jumbos were able to break through once more for an insurance goal. In the 88th minute, Campellone got on the end of a cross from junior forward Brooke Fortin, heading it into the net to put Tufts up 3-1. That score would hold through the final whistle, and the Jumbos exited with their first win and conference victory of their young season.

Both teams' goalkeepers played well, with Tufts first-year Emily Bowers making four saves and Colby first-year Samantha Rizzo making a whopping 11. The Jumbos outshot the Mules by a wide 28-12 margin.

After being held scoreless in their opener, the Jumbos were eager to get on the board.

“We just wanted to score so badly," Scheman said. "So we just pounded shots at them every chance we got."

Tufts was able to control the pace of play through much of the game, thanks in part to strong, cohesive teamwork between the forwards, midfielders and defenders.

“I think we [did] well when our midfield was able to control [the ball] or possess it and then play with our defense and our forwards," Scheman said. “When you work together well, and especially when it starts from the midfield, you control the pace of the game and it kind of calms everyone down. And that’s when you can really play well ... When we took over the midfield, getting the 50-50 balls, that’s when we really were able to succeed.”

The Jumbos were also able to apply pressure on the Mules, both in the midfield and on the opposing defenders, which allowed them to force turnovers and attack effectively.

"We did an excellent job of pressuring Colby's back line causing turnovers in the midfield," Capone said. "And our defense did a great job at stepping and pushing up the field. I think our high-pressure style defense was effective in disrupting their play and rhythm. The turnovers in the midfield allowed for us to win the ball back in dangerous spots where we were able to get shots on goal."

For the Jumbos, the victory over the Mules was the first result in a four-match stretch against NESCAC opponents. Tufts will take on Wesleyan in their first away game of the season on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

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