Tufts field hockey faced the Middlebury Panthers in the NCAA regional final, also known as the “Elite Eight,” on Sunday. The Jumbos and Panthers fought tooth and nail for the first half; however, Middlebury ultimately pulled off the 2–0 win. This loss ended Tufts' season with a strong 15–5 record.
The only goal in the first half came from Middlebury with 3:59 left in the second quarter. Junior goalkeeper Sam Gibby recorded two saves in the first half and ended the game with an impressive six saves. The score remained 1–0 until the fourth quarter, when the Panthers added another goal off of a penalty stroke to make it 2–0. With this win, the Panthers advanced to the Final Four.
In the NCAA Championship second-round game, before the Elite Eight game, Tufts faced SUNY New Paltz at Middlebury College on Saturday. The Jumbos started off strong, with three goals in the first half from the Jumbos’ top scorer, senior forward Gillian Roeca. They held the Hawks to no goals for the half.
The Jumbos continued their forward momentum and extended their scoring into the second half, with a goal each from senior forward Claire Foley and graduate student midfielder and co-captain Beth Krikorian. The Hawks then got on the board late into the fourth quarter, scoring two goals of their own.
Overall, the Jumbos had the advantage on both shots and corners, 24–8 and 5–3, respectively.All three of Tufts’ goalies, Gibby, senior Emma Smith and senior co-captain Andie Stallman, saw action in the 5–2 win.
Although the Jumbos will not move forward in the NCAA tournament, they still had a successful season and have a lot to be proud of and grateful for.
“This team is truly so talented, resilient, and hardworking, and I couldn’t have asked for a stronger group of people to have gone through the craziness of this season with," sophomore defender Kate Lee said. "To make it to the Elite Eight of the national tournament is no small feat on its own, and we did it despite injury, the flu and tremendous losses.”
Stallman echoed Lee.
“It was a really hard season for a number of reasons," Stallman said. "Everything that happened, though, pulled us together in a way that I wasn’t expecting, but that was really amazing to be a part of. I’m really proud of and grateful for the way everyone, even underclassmen, stepped up at different times to support the team and their teammates. I couldn’t imagine getting through this year with any other group of girls.”