On Saturday, men’s soccer suffered its second loss of the season in its away game at Hamilton. While last season Hamilton was 7–7–1, Tufts’ sophomore center back Taylor Feinberg explained that their team still came off the bus with high intensity and locked in for this matchup.
“We knew coming into the game that Hamilton was undefeated and ranked top 25 in the country,” Feiberg said. “We knew they were going to be good and that we would have to bring the same intensity that is required in all NESCAC games to get a result.”
The Jumbos’ enthusiasm was reciprocated by their opponents. Hamilton center back Sebastian Ghosh said his team was fired up about this particular game.
“I think we were really excited we were coming off of two wins; we had been undefeated this whole season up to that point. … Obviously Tufts is one game on the NESCAC schedule that you circle because it is going to be really hard … we knew it was going to be a really hard game,” he said.
While tensions were already high, they only escalated in the 29th minute of play when Tufts sophomore center back Alex Wall got a red card for grabbing a Hamilton forward’s jersey on a breakaway. While this prevented a potential goal, it also caused Tufts to continue the match with a player down for the rest of the half.
Feinberg spoke to the team’s response to the red card, describing both the strategic and mentality shift.
“Obviously our game plan changed when we went down to 10 men, but I think we did a good job of sitting in a block and not allowing them to create many chances while we were a man down,” Feinberg said. “Red cards obviously aren’t ideal, but they happen and we can’t make excuses, we just need to adjust to the circumstances.”
Their adjustment proved to be effective and they closed out the half with a score of 0–0, leaving Hamilton's team frustrated at their missed opportunities. Ghosh commented on the red card and the remainder of the half.
“At the point when the Tufts player got sent off, especially the fact that it was one of their starting defenders, we were all like ‘we have to win this game,’” Ghosh said. “Going one player up in any game, especially that early, is a game you have to win, but Tufts did a really good job of sitting in … it was hard to break the pressure. … In total we had 23 shots or something like that … but all of those shots were blocked and deflected by Tufts players. It was just frustrating trying to break down the team.”
As the second half began, Tufts men’s soccer continued to play 10 vs. 11, holding fortitude against Hamilton’s continuous attack, until Hamilton senior midfielder Justin D’Alessandro got a red card, creating an even matchup once again.
Despite the even numbers and the physical matchup, Tufts ceded a goal in the 72nd minute, scored by Hamilton’s attacking midfielder Luke Peplowski. Ghosh described the goal.
“Our defensive midfielder Pandelis got the ball, he dribbled, he did a move, and then he passed it to one of our more attacking midfielders, Peplowski, and he took a touch and hit it top corner, it was a crazy shot. … I don’t think many goalkeepers would even get a hand on that,” Ghosh said.
With only 18 minutes to go, Tufts shifted formation to a 3–5–2 in order to send more numbers up and push for the tie. This resulted in creating numerous opportunities for the Jumbos to finish. One occurred with 10 minutes to go, spurred by Feinberg’s launching a 60-yard ball over the top to senior forward Ian Daly, which produced a one-on-one opportunity in the box that missed just above the crossbar.
After the tough defeat, the team left the game disappointed but hungry and preparing for its upcoming game against Babson on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“We were definitely disappointed with the loss as we wanted to win, and think we can win every game and know the importance of every NESCAC matchup.” Feinberg said.