Coming out of their NESCAC season, the Tufts women’s soccer team entered the NCAA Division III as a Pool C at-large bid and immediately hit the ground running. They faced Franklin & Marshall on Nov. 11 and shut them down 2–1. The Jumbos were led by sophomore forward Elsi Aires, who put both goals away, but also saw strong effort by senior midfielder Thalia Greenberg and junior defender Jordan Cushner.
The Jumbos owed their success partly to the efforts of first-year goalkeeper Gigi Edwards, who made several saves during the game.
In addition to leading the team offensively, the Franklin & Marshall game marked Aires’ 10th goal of the season, making her the first Jumbo to do so since Liz Reed in 2021.
Following their win against the Diplomats, the Jumbos faced off against the Lions of The College of New Jersey. The Jumbos emerged victorious 3–0, this time supported by senior forward Nicola Sommers. Sommers snagged two goals with even more shots in her impressive offensive performance.
The real star in this game, however, was the Jumbos’ defense, which held down the fort through the second half to secure a shutout victory.
The Jumbos held strong, keeping the Lions to only five shots in the second half while firing off plenty of their own and even snatching the second and third goals within 32 seconds of each other.
The victory over TCNJ propels the Jumbos into the NCAA Sweet 16, a spot they have not achieved since 2019.
Following the game, Greenberg expressed some of her excitement for advancing.
“I am overjoyed. I feel like this is an incredible, incredible opportunity and we haven’t made it this far in my Tufts soccer career,” Greenberg said. “I’m just so excited to be going to Rochester this weekend, having the opportunity to play Bowdoin, who we’ve already played.”
The last time they squared off against Bowdoin, on Oct. 24, Tufts let up a penalty which the other side scored on. Bowdoin won the match.
“I think I can speak for everyone when I say we just want to get revenge,” Greenberg said.
“We really want to capitalize on getting after it and beating them when it really matters most.”
Greenberg also commented on the Jumbos’ journey to get to the Sweet 16.
“[There] was a really low chance of us making the NCAA tournament, so I think that what’s carried us this far is the feeling that we’re the underdogs,” Greenberg said. “We really want to make a run in this tournament, we want to make a name for ourselves and we’re playing with Tufts pride.”
The Jumbos will face off against the Polar Bears on Nov. 18 in Rochester, N.Y. to determine where in the NCAA tournament they go from here.