Tufts field hockey burst onto Ounjian Field in commanding fashion on Nov. 8 following disappointment in the NESCAC tournament. Tufts opened NCAA play with a 5–0 victory over Southern Maine. After a tough overtime loss to the Mammoths in the first round of the conference tournament, gratitude for the chance to continue their season inspired the Jumbos’ dominant response.
Senior co-captain Andrea DelGiudice and junior Kylie Rosenquest combined for four goals, and senior Rachel Scrivanich buried another in the net on a first-quarter corner. Sophomore Gabby Sousa notched two assists, and the Jumbos finished with a 27–2 advantage in shots on goal.
Senior forward Lainie Pearson commented on how the offense exploded in the first NCAA round after a short NESCAC run.
“I think everyone was really excited to be given a second opportunity to play again, so obviously, coming off that momentum was really awesome,” she said. “I think we got a good amount of rest, which was super helpful for our bodies, but everyone was connecting really well on the field and everyone just wanted to win.”
Before facing Southern Maine, Pearson and her fellow seniors faced the possibility of their careers being over, so getting an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament reinvigorated the team’s passion.
“We were really ambiguous on whether or not we were going to get a bid,” Pearson said. “We were trying not to get our hopes up too high, but we were really hopeful that we were going to get one […] when we got the bid, we were just all super excited to be able to jump right back in.”
The win over Southern Maine propelled the Tufts team into the Sweet 16 round, where they faced Rowan University and earned a 2–1 victory. Rowan scored first to take a 1–0 lead, but Tufts junior midfielder Mia D’Angelo tied the game in the second quarter, and Scrivanich got in on the scoring action just minutes later to bring the score to 2–1 in favor of the Jumbos.
“We knew Rowan was really good. [...] We did a lot of scouting, pulled film on them the night before, and the whole week leading up, so I think just preparation was huge there,” Pearson said. “Again, that same mindset, you know, it could be our last game, so just put everything you have out on the field.”
Tufts faced No. 2-ranked Babson in the Elite Eight on Nov. 12, and the Jumbos’ season came to an end in a tight 1–0 loss. After facing the Beavers back in September and falling 2–0, the Jumbos knew they were in for a dogfight. Sophomore forward Hannah Biccard took the only shot on goal for Tufts in the entire contest, while Babson junior forward Jessica Evans notched the lone goal just over a minute into the second quarter. The Jumbos finished out the season with a 13–6 overall record and many memorable moments.
“That first practice back after we got a bid was super exciting,” Pearson said. “I think everyone was super locked in and super focused, and I think everyone's passion was reignited. So it was nice to have everyone be together again. Just reminded me why I like the sport.”
As a senior, Pearson reflected on the highlights of her career and the elements of Tufts field hockey that make the team so special.
“I think something that was super helpful for us was having really good team chemistry,” she said. “I think everyone really enjoyed being on and off the field with each other, and I think that was the reason why we did as well as we did. We all wanted to be at practice with each other every day.”
Recently named to the 2023 NFHCA Senior All Star team, Pearson continuously proved herself as instrumental in the Jumbos’ success throughout her career. She appeared in 59 total games, starting 42 of them and was named to the NESCAC All-Academic team twice.
“I just want to be known as a hardworking and supportive teammate,” Pearson said regarding her legacy. “It’s just good to know that I feel like I left as much as I could out on the field … I’m super fortunate to have [my teammates], and [I’m] super happy to have the career that I had.”