After a 12–6 season, Tufts field hockey picked up an NCAA bid and moved quickly into the Division III National Tournament. The Jumbos opened up their postseason weekend, Nov. 9 at home on Ounijan Field and emerged victorious from the first round, winning 4–1 over Castleton University.
The ’Bos then traveled to Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., to face off against Messiah University in Round 2 of the tournament. In a close score of 2–1, Tufts fell to Messiah, ending its NCAA championship chase.
Junior midfielder Andrea DelGiudice described how she felt about moving into the postseason weekend and the opportunity to open up the tournament at home.
“It felt great! We had a lot of ups and downs this season and we weren’t guaranteed a playoff bet, so it was nice to make the tournament and to be able to play at home one last time,” DelGiudice wrote in an email to the Daily.
DelGiudice continued to share some notable highlights from the first leg of the weekend.
“The Castleton game was different because it was the first round of NCAAs, which obviously is win and advance, so there was an air of intensity unlike the regular season. It was also our last home game, so it was sentimental,” DelGiudice wrote.
Tina Mattera, head field hockey coach, also commented on how she felt heading into the NCAA tournament.
“I was actually pretty excited. I felt like the team was starting to click and that the players were excited and we were really ready and you know we had a nice win over Castleton State and then I truly thought that we could beat Messiah but things just didn’t go in our favor,” Mattera said.
“I thought that we really dominated the game and the girls played really well, but we just couldn’t finish with the goal scoring.”
Mattera went on to share specific moments from both tournament games that stood out in her mind.
“I think when Hannah Biccard scored the goal to get it to 2–1, there was like a huge momentum shift, and the energy just lifted and it was really exciting toward the beginning of the fourth quarter. I thought we really pounded them and put a ton of pressure on them,” Mattera said, referencing the game against Messiah.
For the Castleton game, Mattera discussed a similar type of pressure she felt at first to score.
“No, I was a little frustrated with the team to start because I felt like we were dominating in the first quarter and we probably could have scored four or five goals but we only scored one and then I think later we were able to get a few more so that made me happy,” Mattera said.
In addition to this year’s tournament run, DelGiudice wrote about how the team makeup was a little different from years past.
“We graduated a lot of starters last year, so many people like myself were suddenly a much bigger part of the team than they had been last season. Considering this lack of experience, I think we did pretty well. We also had a really good chemistry this year which I think is the most special part of the team,” DelGiudice wrote.
Mattera agreed, elaborating on what she was looking forward to in seasons to come.
“We were pretty young and inexperienced this year, so I’m really excited to have people returning starters. So last year, we graduated seven senior starters so it was really important this year to get in some of the underclassmen and you know, we had two freshmen starting on and off and then other players that hadn’t started their freshmen year starting as sophomores,” Mattera said. “We’re gonna be returning a good crew of starters. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Mattera later detailed how the offseason works for maximum growth and rule compliance.
“So the girls normally lift together and they play pickup field hockey, but I’m not allowed to work with them. I know that they will be working really hard in the offseason but, as field hockey coaches, we’re not allowed to be there,” Mattera said.
DelGiudice also shared what she is looking forward to off the turf and returning next year.
“I’m looking forward to everything! I think we’re going to see a lot of improvement from a lot of people over the course of the spring and summer and I can’t wait to get going,” DelGiudice wrote.