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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

Women’s soccer beats Williams for first time since 2006 in season opener

Stephanie DiLeo dribbles through Williams players during a Sept. 2021 game.

In their last game of the 2019 season, the Tufts Jumbos were defeated 2–1 by the Williams Ephs in the 2019 NCAA Sweet 16. Now, almost two years later and in their first game back since that playoff loss, the Jumbos got their revenge at home on Bello Field with a 1–0 win over the Ephs on Saturday. 

The lone goal came at the 33-minute mark when junior forward Claire Wilkinson crossed the ball to graduate student, co-captain and forward Liz Reed, who put the ball past the Ephs’ keeper. The Jumbos controlled possession for most of the first half and created many opportunities for themselves, which led to Wilkinson's driving down the left side and finding an unmarked Reed to put Tufts ahead.

"I couldn't have gotten the assist without [sophomore midfielder] Thalia Greenberg and [junior midfielder] Margaux Ameer's efforts to win the ball and lay it off," Wilkinson said. "I think the team's mentality was optimistic the entire game, but getting the goal definitely helped to ease any anxieties."

In the second half, Williams came out more aggressive and its defense shut down many of Tufts' offensive opportunities, but it was not enough to even out the score. The Ephs had a couple of chances toward the end of the match with a corner in the 86th minute and a shot following shortly after, but they did not convert on either. 

Tufts dominated the statistics column with 13 shots in the game compared to Williams' five, as Reed and Ameer led the Jumbos in this category with three shots apiece. Tufts also was awarded five corner kicks during the game, while Williams had only two. Junior goalie Hayley Bernstein was forced to make only one save, which can also be attributed to the Jumbos' lockdown defense led by senior back Tookie Wilson

"Team defense is something we've been working on since our scrimmage against Harvard," Wilson said. "Across the board, we channeled [those efforts] and defended really well."

Wilson noted how the win against Williams boosted team members’ confidence given the school’s high ranking in the conference.

"In years past, I would easily say that Williams was the best team in the NESCAC," Wilson said. "The nerves going into the game were high, but having come out of that with a win, we know we are a good team and can beat the top team in the NESCAC."

Wilkinson added that beating Williams after the team’s years-long losing streak against the Ephs further contributed to the Jumbos’ excitement for the upcoming season.

“Beating Williams right off the bat felt incredible, especially because we hadn't beaten them since 2006,” Wilkinson said. “We've been working so hard to be the top team in the NESCAC since the Sweet 16 in 2019, so I'm thrilled that our hard work paid off in this game, and I'm so thankful we have the opportunity to play together once again."

The Jumbos look to continue their winning streak at Clark University on Wednesday, as they face three out-of-conference teams before traveling to NESCAC opponent Colby College on Sept. 25.

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