The women's soccer team has a program record-tying eight straight victories and doesn't look ready to stop quite yet. With their Homecoming game on Saturday against Trinity on the Bello Field turf at 1:30, the Jumbos will be vying for a school record ninth consecutive win. Is the team feeling the pressure? "Honestly, we really aren't thinking about it," coach Martha Whiting said. "We know that it's there, but we know it won't do any good to dwell on it. We've been really good at taking it one game at a time." Senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan agreed. "We want to play well every game no matter what, so if there is pressure, we put it on ourselves," she said. "Even if we had lost the last eight games, I would want to win the next one." Heavy rain postponed Tuesday's match against Wesleyan. Instead of playing, the team had an intense practice in the driving rain to try to match the game experience. "The girls were excited to play on Tuesday, so it was disappointing when we didn't play," Whiting said. "We went really hard at practice to use that energy and excitement we had from expecting to play a game." The postponement may have been a blessing in disguise, because had the team played on Tuesday, it would have been without Callaghan. The break gave the forward a few more days to heal her sprained knee, though her availability for Saturday is still up in the air. The extra practice time allowed the Jumbos to work on areas that needed improvement. "We spent a lot of time working on transitioning this past week," sophomore Martha Furtek said. "Hustling back to defend or attacking quickly on offense is something that we have struggled with throughout the season, but we are improving and working more as a unit." Furtek mentioned the importance of adapting to playing on turf. "First touch on the turf, especially if it's raining, is crucial," she said. "We proved last Saturday that we can play on turf and I don't think we should have any problem doing the same against Trinity." The Bantams are coming into Tufts looking for any sign of life. At 1-4 in the NESCAC, they are doing all they can to stay out of last place in the conference. The slippery weather, however, may be a small equalizer. "I think the weather will have an effect to a small degree," Whiting said. "But it is a good thing that we are playing on turf, because the weather would have a much larger impact if we were playing on Kraft. Our main strengths are team speed and our ability to possess the ball, and playing on wet grass would greatly diminish our advantage." This week, the Jumbos moved up one spot in the national rankings to sixth, while remaining No. 1 in New England. While the team tries to focus on the field, the recognition is difficult to ignore. "It's exciting to be recognized, but I've been trying my hardest not to pay attention to the rankings," Furtek said. "It's easy to start thinking about postseason possibilities, but, like [coach] reminded us yesterday, we haven't officially made it into the tournament yet." Tufts will have plenty of other reasons to get excited Saturday. With both Parents Weekend and Homecoming, there will be a large crowd of parents and alumni watching the game. "Playing in front of a home crowd has really picked us up this season and we're really excited to see all of the girls who have graduated," Furtek said. "Our goal has been to play consistently for 90 minutes, and the homecoming crowd hopefully will motivate us to do that." Callaghan agreed. "The festivities just add to the atmosphere of the game," she said. "It is always fun to play in front of old teammates. Also, parents will be coming out to watch, which is nice for people who live farther away." The defense has given up one goal in its last four games, thanks to the back four and goalkeeper Annie Ross. By posting two shutouts last week, Ross became the second Tufts player this season to be named NESCAC Player of the Week. "The defense has really come together," Whiting said. "They are four great players and when they play as one, they become even better. Annie has also taken a leadership role and communicates really well, so she and the back four compliment each other really well." The team wants to perform up to standards of their few games. If it does, all signs point to yet another Tufts victory.
The seventh-ranked women's soccer team tied a 26-year-old school record on Saturday afternoon, defeating 20th-ranked Bowdoin 3-0 amidst heavy rain on Bello Field. Junior goalie Annie Ross was named NESCAC Player of the Week yesterday after posting back-to-back shutouts against Brandeis last week and Bowdoin on Saturday. Ross was remarkable between the posts all afternoon, making ten saves in her fourth shutout of the season, and her second against conference opponents. "The ball was really slippery and tough to handle, especially for the keepers," freshman Maya Shoham said. "But Annie really minimized their second chances by handling it cleanly." The win moves the Jumbos to 4-1 in the NESCAC, half a game behind Williams at second place in the conference. Due to the inclement weather conditions, the Jumbos were forced to play on the turf field, home to the field hockey team, rather than its own Kraft Field. Playing on the turf was an adjustment at first, but turned out to play to Tufts' advantage. "We were all nervous to play on the turf, but we adjusted fine," senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson said. "On a rainy day it's hard to play on a gross field and often times, the worse team gets an advantage because it levels the playing ground, but on the turf the better team usually has the advantage because there are fewer mess-ups." The Jumbos came out strong to open the game, dominating the Polar Bears on both sides of the field. Tufts got on the scoreboard immediately, when Samuelson sent a perfect through-ball to classmate and fellow tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian. The senior broke away from the defenders and ripped a shot past Bowdoin senior keeper Anna Shapell to give Tufts a 1-0 lead just four minutes into the game. The Jumbos continued to play strong throughout the half, with the defense keeping Bowdoin's attack at bay and the offense applying constant pressure on Shapell and her back four. Defense was particularly tricky on the turf because the slippery ball had a tendency to skip, but the Jumbo defenders and Ross were able to keep control and prevent any Bowdoin scores. "The ball skipped a lot so it was great that the defense was able to limit [Bowdoin's] shots and really shut down their good strikers," Samuelson said. Tufts tallied its second goal of the half with just two minutes to play when sophomore Lauren Fedore gained control 40 yards away from the net. She dribbled the ball down field and drilled a shot from 25 yards out that appeared to be sailing over the cage. At the last second, however, it dipped underneath the post and into the back of the net to put Tufts up by a deuce. The Jumbos let down slightly in the second frame, but responded well to the increased Bowdoin pressure and kept them off the scoreboard. Tufts' final goal came when sophomore Martha Furtek sent a cross into the box and Samuelson flicked a header at the far post to put the Jumbos up 3-0. The goal was Samuelson's eighth of the season, putting her atop the conference in both scoring and total points (18). The Jumbos earned the decisive victory without senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan, who was nursing a sprained LCL but hopes to return on homecoming Saturday for Tufts' matchup with Trinity. "Losing [Callaghan] was huge because she works so hard up top, checking to the ball and transitioning quickly back on defense," Garmirian said. "It's almost like having another center mid as well as a forward. This victory was key because it showed our depth, shifting players around to get the win." Fedore moved up to forward in Callaghan's place, with junior Kim Harrington getting the nod at outside mid in place of Fedore. The Jumbos have little time to rest after Saturday's big victory, as they are back in action today against the Wesleyan Cardinals in Middletown, Conn. Game time is set for 4:00 p.m.
The Women's soccer team will bring impressive numbers to Kraft Field on Saturday: a seven-game win streak, No. 1 in New England, No. 7 nationally and zero home losses. In one of their biggest games of the season to date, the Jumbos will face off against the Bowdoin Polar Bears at 2:30 p.m. Currently tied atop the NESCAC standings with Williams at 7-1 overall (3-1 NESCAC), Tufts is a mere half-game ahead of the Polar Bears (3-2 NESCAC). While Tufts has knocked off the Bears in three of the past four seasons, but every game has been tightly contested, with neither team winning by more than one goal. "We have to beat Bowdoin," senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan said. "They're always a tough team, and every game we've played against them has been very close, and I don't expect tomorrow to be any different." While the Jumbos boast a red-hot winning streak and a top national ranking, the Bears are no strangers to ousting nationally-ranked opponents. Just two weeks ago, Bowdoin hosted Williams, then ranked ninth, and demolished the Ephs 3-0 to knock them out of the top 25. Tufts, coming off a Wednesday 2-0 victory over Brandeis, will be up for the challenge. The Jumbos are going up against a Polar Bear defense that has recorded four shutouts this season and has allowed just nine goals in nine games. The anchor of that defense is senior tri-captain goalie Anna Shapell, who has accumulated a .875 save percentage and averaged only 0.96 goals allowed per game so far this season. The Jumbo offense will be led, as usual, by senior tri-captains Ariel Samuelson and Sarah Callaghan, who lead the NESCAC in goals scored (seven) and assists (six), respectively. After struggling offensively on Wednesday, scoring only one goal until the closing seconds, the squad knows it will have to be sharper to overcome the Polar Bears. "We really just have to put away our chances," Callaghan said. "We created lots of opportunities against Brandeis, but didn't put enough of them in. We're not going to have so many chances against Bowdoin, so we have to take advantage of the ones we get and finish." The Jumbos will need another big game in the middle from center midfielder sophomore Martha Furtek, who has been omnipresent on the field all season long. "She has been amazing since she got here last year," senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian said. "She never stops running; she's like two people." The squad will look to continue its strong defensive play and shut down Bowdoin leading scorers Ann Zeigler (five goals, three assists) and Ivy Blackmore (three goals, one assist). While Bowdoin does not have the offensive prowess of Bates, which Tufts defeated last weekend, its potential firepower is a concern.The team knows it will need to come out fired up and ready to play Saturday in order to come away with the all-important W. "I think that in the past few games, our fundamentals have been really good, but we've just haven't come out with the intensity we had at the beginning of the season," sophomore Joelle Emery said. "I think that the most important thing for us on Saturday is to come out hungry and fired up." Emery, junior Jen Fratto, and sophomores Annie Benedict and Jess Wagner have been crucial to the Jumbos' seven-game winning streak, but the play of junior keeper Annie Ross has allowed them to play more aggressively and keep the pressure on opposing defenses. Ross plays way out of the box when the Jumbos are on offense, cutting off any potential breakaways by the opposing team. "Annie's been having a great season, which is great since it's been her first opportunity to prove herself to everyone," Emery said. "Having confidence in your keeper is so important. It not only allows us to play tough, aggressive defense because we know she'll be there if they get a shot off, but also it allows us to push up and play offense, which is huge." A win for the Jumbos would push them to 4-1 in the conference and extend their winning streak to eight straight games, tying the 1979 school record.
Coach Martha Whiting and the women's soccer team kicked off the month of October on a high note on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Lewiston, Maine, and defeating the Bates Bobcats 2-1 in double overtime thanks to two goals from senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson. "They came out in the first half really pumped up and even though we were able to put together a few offensive opportunities, they were winning a lot more balls than we were," sophomore Martha Furtek said. "But by the end of the second half we had really turned up the intensity. It was like a completely different game." Samuelson continued her remarkable season, scoring both goals in the game to help the Brown and Blue push their record to 6-1 (3-1, NESCAC) and put them in a tie atop the conference standings with Williams. "This season, we're finally putting the ball in the net when we need to and obviously she's a big part of that," Callaghan said. "She works really hard and finds ways to get the ball near the goal." The Jumbos, who tallied their sixth straight win, played from behind virtually the entire game after an early goal by Bates' leading scorer and reigning NESCAC Player of the Week, junior Kim Alexander. In the thirteenth minute, Tufts junior keeper Annie Ross bobbled a high corner kick from Bates sophomore Molly Wagner inside the box. Alexander corralled the rebound and slipped the ball past Ross into the back of the net to put Bates up 1-0. Despite having several opportunities as the game progressed, Tufts was unable to slip anything past Bates keeper Nini Spalding for the first 70 minutes of play. Despite being down, however, the Jumbos' confidence never wavered and they continued to keep the pressure on the Bates defense. "We didn't panic in the second half and I don't think any of us thought we were going to lose," Callaghan said. "In the second half, we started winning balls in the air, and playing composed enough to penetrate their defense," Furtek added. "We knew we were a better team and at half time were frustrated that they thought they were good enough to be one up on us, so we came out in the second half ready to prove ourselves, and we definitely did." The squad's hard work paid off when, in the 70th minute, Samuelson broke away from the defense on a through-ball from Furtek. The senior tri-captain, who had missed a breakaway shot just minutes earlier, didn't make the same mistake twice, tucking the ball inside the left post to knot the score at 1-1. The score remained that way for the next 20 minutes, setting the stage for the Jumbos' first overtime session of the year. After a scoreless first OT, Samuelson delivered her sixth goal of the season to give the Jumbos the victory. With 6:23 remaining, Spalding deflected a shot by senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian from the left side of the pitch directly to Samuelson, who deftly snuck it past the keeper for the win. "One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to win any game that went into overtime, and we talked about that going into the first OT," sophomore Joelle Emery said. "Winning an OT game in come-from-behind fashion is huge for us, because it shows us that no matter what point in the game and what the score is, we have the ability to still win." In their last three games, the Bobcats, who were ranked third in New England and 23rd nationally heading into Saturday, scored a total of 18 goals against the opposition. But the back four of Emery, junior Jen Fratto, and sophomores Jess Wagner and Annie Benedict shut down the high-powered Bates offense for the final 90 minutes.Bates used three attackers, something that Tufts isn't normally accustomed to seeing, but the Jumbos were able to adjust to Bates' style of play, helping each other out on defense and frustrating the opposition. "We knew that they were a high-scoring team, but also felt that if we continued to play hard defense and keep our spaces tight that we'd be able to deal with them," Emery said. "If one of us got beaten, there was always someone covering and I think it frustrated them a lot." The Jumbos also had some extra motivation for one of their teammates: Wagner, who was playing against her former teammates for the first time since transferring from Bates this fall. "She was really excited for the game and by the way she played, we all knew she really wanted the win," Furtek said. "It was great to get the win for her." The Jumbos, whose victory over Bates was their first ever on Russell Street Field, return to the comforts of Kraft Field for two home games this week. Next up is a nonconference matchup against Brandeis on Wednesday, followed by a bout on Saturday with the Bowdoin Polar Bears, who currently sit tied for second in the conference.
When the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Polls came out on Tuesday morning, the Women's soccer team had climbed to first in the New England region and ninth in the nation. Tufts earned its spot atop the regional rankings after ousting Amherst on Saturday afternoon, 3-1 for its third straight victory over New England's top teams. The Jumbos traveled to Babson on Tuesday afternoon and defended their position, clobbering the Beavers 3-1 and making it four straight wins. The Jumbos have all but erased an opening-day loss to Colby. "We know that we're high in the rankings now, but that's just even more of a motive for teams to come out hard against us," sophomore Joelle Emery said. "Coach [Martha Whiting] keeps telling us we can't get big heads, that we're just a normal team that's winning, and that we need to think that way so we can keep winning." "In the past, we've had trouble with weekday out-of-league games," senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan said. "So it was good to go in and score a couple of goals early in the game and get the victory." The tandem of senior tri-captains Ariel Samuelson and Callaghan continued to plague opposing goalies, as the two hooked up at 7:14 to give Tufts an early 1-0 lead. Emery sent a high free kick from 40 yards out directly at Callaghan, who knocked a header at Babson senior co-captain Marci McCormack in the cage. The keeper deflected the initial attempt, but Samuelson corralled the rebound and knocked it in for her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Just seven minutes later, the Jumbos struck again. Callaghan tallied her NESCAC-leading sixth assist of the season when, in similar fashion to Saturday's first goal against Amherst, she fed a cross to sophomore Lauren Fedore who headed the ball past McCormack for her second goal in as many games. The Beavers answered back at the 39-minute mark in the first half, when sophomore Meg Lynch headed a free kick from classmate Caitlin Croner past Tufts junior keeper Annie Ross to bring the Beavers to within one. "We all knew that their goal shouldn't have happened," sophomore fullback Annie Benedict said. "We were immediately determined to make up for it." Conventional sports wisdom says that a soccer team is most vulnerable right after it scores a goal, and the Jumbos were quick to prove the adage. Just 45 seconds later, Emery sent a free kick off the crossbar that freshman Maya Shoham controlled and knocked past McCormack to put Tufts up 3-1 and end an eventful half. The goal was the first of Shoham's collegiate career. While the Jumbo offense was unable to repeat in the second half, the defense held strong and shut out the Beavers to secure the 3-1 Tufts win. "We knew they were going to come out much stronger in the second half, but we knew we were a better team and if we played our game we'd get it done," Benedict said. "We were certainly frustrated that we didn't come out and score more goals in the second half, but we were happy that our defense held them off." For the second straight game, the Jumbos have shown both opponents and fans what they can do with a full squad. After beating Wheaton and Middlebury with just 14 women suited up for action, the Jumbos have handily defeated Amherst and Babson with all 19 of their players in uniform. "We were basically missing our center of the field on defense and midfield and so to have everyone completely healthy is just so exciting to watch," Emery said. "Even though we're still not exactly 100 percent used to playing with each other, the possibilities for when we are [used to it] are just unbelievable" Junior Jen Fratto, the heart of the back four, has started the last two games at center fullback after missing the first three with a back problem. Senior center midfielder Lydia Claudio, who has been battling an ankle sprain for the past two weeks, was also in the starting lineup for the second time, along with sophomore midfielder Lauren Fedore, who has scored on headers in each of her last two games, despite being out for two weeks with a concussion. In addition, freshman Abby Werner was back in action for the Jumbos at left halfback. "It felt absolutely amazing to finally be out there running around," Fedore said. The three additions to the squad made the Jumbos much deeper, letting younger players, who had previously just been tossed into the mix, to slowly adjust to the system and log key minutes off the bench. It also gave Whiting a chance to experiment with various lineups, and allowed her to rest key starters without experiencing a letdown on the field. "The freshmen really stepped it up the first few games," Fedore said. "Now that we're all back, we really know how deep of a team we are."
When the regional and national rankings are released later this week, the Women's soccer team will not have to look very far for its name. The squad once again affirmed its place atop the regional standings on Saturday, handily defeating New England's third ranked team - the Amherst Lord Jeffs - 3-1 on Kraft Field. The win, the team's third straight after an opening day loss to Colby, put the Jumbos at 3-1 overall on the season. Coupled with Williams' Saturday loss to Bowdoin, the win pushed the Jumbos into a six-way logjam atop the NESCAC standings at 2-1 in league play. "We have a ton of confidence right now," senior Lydia Claudio said. "We just beat the top three teams in New England, and while we feel great about that, we certainly can't rest. We have to take it one game at a time. We have ten more and we need to win each one." Despite coming out strong to open the contest, the Jumbos found themselves on the short end of a 1-0 score early on. In the 12th minute of action, Amherst junior Lesley Pruzansky beat Tufts' charging junior keeper Annie Ross and sent the ball to freshman Stephanie Yesnick at the far post. Ross was unable to recover, and Yesnik dribbled the ball into the open net to give the Jeffs the 1-0 lead. Tufts stayed aggressive, pushing the midfielders up to the offensive side of the pitch. The move paid off just five minutes later, in what unfolded into one of the more acrobatic goals in recent years. Senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan drove the ball down the sideline and sent a centering cross just outside the 18- yard line. Sophomore Lauren Fedore, unable to play the ball to her feet, used her head instead. Fedore, who had spent the last three games on the sideline nursing a severe concussion, laid out over her defender and headed the ball from just inside the 18, over Amherst junior goalie Piper Crowell's head and into the back of the net to knot the score at 1-1. "Callaghan gave me the perfect cross, and there was no way I was going to be able to get to the ball so I had to jump over my defender and somehow it went in," Fedore said. "I love to head the ball - it's definitely my favorite thing to do." The teams fought evenly for the rest of the half; each squad had a handful of opportunities to score but neither was able to capitalize, keeping the score at one apiece until the halftime buzzer. Tufts came out flat at the start of the second, but its back four held tight and kept the Jeffs from taking advantage. Fifteen minutes into the half, the Jumbos turned up the pressure and were able to keep the ball in Amherst's zone for the majority of the rest of the game. Tufts' hard work paid off with 21 minutes remaining, as senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson sent a pass from 40 yards out to sophomore Martha Furtek. Furtek collected the ball and sent a low liner inside the right post to put Tufts up 2-1. Just two minutes later, Tufts got another opportunity to extend its lead, as Samuelson, who wreaked havoc on the Amherst back line all day, took a through ball and sprinted past the Jeffs' defense. On her way to her team-leading fourth goal of the season, Samuelson was fouled in the box and the Jumbos were awarded a penalty kick. Callaghan capitalized on the opportunity, knocking the ball into the top left corner of the net. The goal was disallowed, however, due to an inadvertent whistle, and Callaghan was forced to shoot again. With Crowell guessing right, the tri-captain drilled the ball into that same top left corner, achieving the same result and giving Tufts a 3-1 lead. "At halftime, we said we were going to come out and score two more goals, and we came out in the second half and really worked hard to get it done," Furtek said. The Jumbos were able to be much more aggressive on Saturday than in previous games due to their strong back four. Junior Jen Fratto and sophomores Joelle Emery, Anne Benedict and Jess Wagner are finally intact as a unit and holding strong in the backfield. With Fratto leading the effort, the defense's strong play on Saturday will allow Coach Martha Whiting to push up her midfielders and pressure opposing defenses in future games. "Fratto communicates really well with the rest of the back four, telling us when to step up or drop," Wagner said. "It's a huge reassurance to have such a strong defense back there," Furtek said. "We still have to transition, but it certainly creates many more opportunities up front." Ross put forth another solid effort in goal, rendering another of the NESCAC's high-powered attacks all but silent. Despite only making one save in the game, Ross surrendered just a single goal, and her relentless aggression was successful in disrupting the Amherst offense. "[Ross] played awesome today," Wagner said. "She's completely fearless and will go after anything."
Thanks to impressive back-to-back victories last week over the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in New England, the Women's soccer team catapulted to 15th in the nation and second in the region in this week's poll. But the Jumbos still find themselves stuck in the middle of the league standings. Tufts will have a chance to change that Saturday when the Amherst Lord Jeffs pay a visit to Kraft Field. While the Jumbos sit at 1-1 in league play thanks to a season-opening loss to Colby, Amherst (3-0-1 overall) is tied with Williams atop the league standings at 2-0. But given the way Tufts has played recently at home, it's hard to say that the Jumbos won't be the favorite. The squad notched a 3-2 win over Wheaton last Wednesday and followed it with a 3-0 shutout of Middlebury on Saturday. Senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson tied a Tufts record by scoring three goals against the Panthers, becoming the first Jumbo player since 1999 and earning NESCAC Player of the Week. She also recorded an assist in the win against Wheaton, giving her a team-leading point total of eight and a tie for third in the conference. Fellow senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan also tied a Tufts record last week after assisting on all three of Samuelson's goals against the Panthers. Callaghan leads both the team and the NESCAC with three assists on the season, and is tied for sixth in points with five. It goes without saying that the team's confidence is very high right now. "After the two games last week, we feel like we can play with anyone," Callaghan said. "But we still know how hard we have to work to beat good teams." Tufts did not have a midweek game this week, making tomorrow the team's first action in seven days. "We worked really hard at the beginning of the week on fitness and transitioning, so hopefully the next couple days we can focus on tactical things and set plays," sophomore center midfielder Martha Furtek said at midweek. Callaghan said practices have helped keep the Jumbos game-ready. "We came out this week and worked really hard," she said. "It was also really nice to have some of our injured players get back into practice this week. They can work their way back by practicing instead of jumping right into a game." Getting players back on the field will be a key for Tufts, which earned both of its wins shorthanded. Junior Jen Fratto played in the second half of the Middlebury game, and she should be ready to go on Saturday. Senior Lydia Claudio and sophomore Lauren Fedore have been practicing this week and should play Saturday. "Without injuries, we are a really deep team," Furtek said. "I think we'll finally be able to take advantage of that [tomorrow]." Amherst will be ready. The Lord Jeffs have already set down Trinity and Bates in league play. In their last game, they shut out Springfield 2-0 at home. Amherst is led by junior forward Amy Armstrong, who has two goals and two assists on the season. One player the Lord Jeffs sorely miss from last season is Ashley Harmeling, who graduated. Harmeling was one of the most celebrated players in Amherst history, as she was named NESCAC Player of the Year as a junior and received All-New England and All-NESCAC First Team honors as a senior. Though it will be nice not having her on the field, Tufts knows it will still be a tough matchup. "They are definitely a physical team and I remember them being pretty strong in the air," Furtek said. "But winning balls in the air was something we did really well last Saturday, so if we can keep that up, we should be fine. Amherst's defense will give us lots of opportunities, so we just have to make sure we keep finishing them." Callaghan agreed. "They are always one of the better teams, and this year is no different," she said. "They've done well in their games so far. We know every NESCAC game is going to be a battle, though." The game is the third straight at home for the Jumbos, who are getting used to Kraft Field. "Playing in front of a home crowd is a huge boost for us," Furtek said. "People are starting to get interested in coming to games, especially now that we've proven to people that we're worth watching. Fans definitely help you give that much more effort on every ball." The team better enjoy it, because it is the last home game for awhile. The Jumbos have three consecutive road games, starting with a match Tuesday at Babson. Tufts will not return home until a Oct. 5 match against Brandeis. "I think we all agree that what is most important right now is taking each game one at a time," Furtek said. "Every team is going to expect us to play hard and we can't let up at all. Our last couple games have been huge, but Amherst is going to be even bigger."
Senior tri-captains Ariel Samuelson and Sarah Callaghan teamed up to hand Middlebury its first regular-season conference loss in almost two years, and made the Panthers the Jumbos' second top-15 victim in a week. Samuelson scored all three Tufts goals on Callaghan assists as the Women's soccer team defeated the No. 15 Panthers under overcast skies on Saturday afternoon. After a rocky start, losing to Colby in their season opener, the Jumbos have defeated New England's top two teams in their most recent games. After taking out the region's top team with a 3-2 win over Wheaton College on Wednesday, the squad capped off a memorable week with a 3-0 shutout over the Panthers, the region's second-ranked team, in front of a full house at Kraft Field. Perhaps most impressively, Tufts defeated both squads with just 14 active players. "Today was absolutely awesome," Samuelson said. "I'm so excited for the rest of the season because we can only go up from here. After the Colby loss, I was a bit discouraged, but we've really come back these last two games." Samuelson broke the 0-0 deadlock 33 minutes into the game, taking a cross-field pass from Callaghan, spinning around two defenders, and shielding the ball from Middlebury freshman keeper Adele Plunkett before knocking a low liner inside the far post. The senior tri-captain struck again at the 76-minute mark, breaking away from the defenders on a through ball from Callaghan. Plunkett charged in an attempt to cut off the shot, but Samuelson flicked the ball at the post to put Tufts up 2-0 and all but seal the deal for the Jumbos. Samuelson then completed the hat trick with two minutes left in regulation, taking another long ball from Callaghan right at Plunkett. While the Panther keeper made the initial save, Samuelson corralled the rebound and dribbled the ball into the net to put the final nail in the Panthers' coffin. The squad finally was able to smile after the third goal, knowing that victory was only a matter of time. Tufts' rowdy fans aided in the effort, showering the midfield line with hats to celebrate Samuelson's trio. Despite a conscious effort not to experience a letdown as a result of Wednesday's victory, the Jumbos still came out flat in the first five minutes of play. "After the first five minutes, we realized that we needed to pull ourselves together if we were going to win the game," sophomore center midfielder Martha Furtek said. "We were really able to do that, and from then on, everyone fought incredibly hard." The teams split the time of possession in the first half, with the ball equally in both halves of the field. The Jumbos' back foursome of sophomores Annie Benedict, Julia Brown and Joelle Emery, and freshman Genevieve Citrin held strong in front of junior keeper Annie Ross, not allowing any real Panther attacks on net. Despite being up 1-0 at halftime, Tufts came out for the second half with the mentality of being in a tie game. "Knowing that we had the lead was good, but Coach told us that we have to play strong in the second half as if it's tied or we're down," Furtek added. "It's a nice reassurance, but we still needed to go into the second half strong and that's exactly what we did." The second half held a positive note for Coach Martha Whiting's squad, as junior center fullback Jen Fratto made her first appearance of the season, having been sidelined the last few games with a back injury. "It's really good to have her back," Whiting said. "She brings such composure to the back line, no matter how chaotic things are back there. She really calms the rest of the team down." The move allowed Emery to shift to outside back and thus pinch up to play a larger role in the offense. "It was nice to get [Emery] on one of the wings, because she has some experience in the back and can talk to the other girls," Fratto said. "She also is able to play more of a role in the offense with her quickness and strong foot." Ross earned the first shutout of her career, finishing with four saves that halted the high-powered Middlebury attack. The win was especially sweet for the Jumbos, who exacted some revenge on the Panthers, reversing last year's 3-0 loss at Middlebury. "They made us look not-so-good on their field last year, so it was nice to get the victory today in front of our fans," Fratto said.
On paper, things did not look good for the Women's soccer team heading into Wednesday's afternoon bout against Wheaton College. The Jumbos were coming off a shaky 2-0 loss against Colby in their opener and were facing a team ranked first in New England and 13th nationally. The Lyons soundly beat Tufts 2-0 last season. Three key injuries left the Jumbos entering the competition with only 14 players and three substitutes. Come game time the Jumbos showed those statistics didn't matter, squeaking out a 3-2 victory over the Lyons in front of a rowdy crowd at Kraft Field. "My heart is still pounding out of my chest," coach Martha Whiting said after the game. "With as many injuries as we had, we just had to keep getting players in and out - don't ask me how we did it." "Today was the most fun I've had since winning NESCAC's freshman year," senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson added. "We basically just ruined their season." Things did not look promising early in the match. Wheaton sophomore Jenna Rabesa gave the Lyons an early 1-0 lead at the 15 minute mark when she took a cross from classmate Lauren Konopka and scored her second goal of the year. Tufts started to control the ball 25 minutes into the game, keeping it far in the Wheaton zone. With 59 seconds remaining in the first half, the Jumbos finally broke through. Senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan took a perfect pass from Samuelson and her long, lofted shot found the top of the net to tie it up going into the half. "The first goal was huge," Whiting said. "It gave us a huge confidence boost, and we headed into halftime with some real hope." Samuelson agreed. "I think we still had some momentum heading into the half even without the goal, but it was still big because it showed that we could play with them," she said. "We knew that once we went up on them, we would sink them." The team came out hungry after the break and took its first lead soon after as senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian took a deflected shot by Samuelson and snuck it past Wheaton sophomore keeper Stacey Kronenberg about 12 minutes into the second half. The Lyons came right back after the Garmirian goal and with one of their own. Sophomore Julie McLane, assisted by Konopka and sophomore Ashley Furr, scored to tie the game at two. This set the stage for sophomore Joelle Emery's first collegiate goal. With 20 minutes left in the contest, the defender launched a direct kick from over 30 yards over the outstretched arms of Kronenberg and into the northeast goal, giving the Jumbos a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. "The goalie had the sun in her face and I knew she couldn't see anything," Emery said of the situation. "I was just trying to put the ball up around the net and hope someone could put it in." The game got considerably more physical as Wheaton scrambled for a tie as time wound down. Samuelson was taken down hard twice. Tufts was able to hold off several late charges thanks in large part to the play of the team's first-year players. Freshmen Maya Shoham, Ali Mehlsak and Genevieve Citrin, and sophomores Julia Brown and Jessie Wagner were able to quickly get over early season jitters and secure the win. The victory evened the Jumbos' record to 1-1 and dropped the Lyons to 3-3. It was Wheaton's first loss against a New England opponent since 2001. "We went into the game treating them like any other team," Whiting said. "We prepare for every team with the same intensity, and I think that really helped us." In earning her first victory, junior keeper Annie Ross made seven saves, including a deflection as she collided with an onrushing Lyon in the closing seconds. "I'm feeling pretty good right now, though I can never be totally satisfied with myself," Ross said. "But that's what makes me work harder. It was really important to get this first win, and our confidence is immeasurable right now." Injuries continue to plague the Jumbos. Sophomore Lauren Fedore (concussion), senior Lydia Claudio (ankle), and junior Jen Fratto (back) were all held out of action Wednesday. The team would them back on the field soon. "At halftime we were all dying, but luckily we were having fun in the second half and didn't feel as tired," Samuelson said. "Once we're a full team I think we're going to be very hard to beat."
Early season jitters got the best of the Women's soccer team Saturday afternoon as the team fell 2-0 to the White Mules of Colby in the opening game of the 2005 season. The loss continued Tufts' poor showing streak against the Mules in recent seasons, with the Jumbos tallying just one victory over Colby in the past five years. "As individuals, no one played badly," senior co-captain Sarah Callaghan said. "Everyone played hard, but as a team, we didn't click together on anything. The whole team needs to play defense and the whole team needs to play offense." Colby junior forward Laura Williamson put the Mules on the board early, heading a pass from senior co-captain Katie McCabe past Tufts junior keeper Annie Ross. Colby tacked on an insurance goal late in the second half when open junior Liz Morbeck took a cross from Williamson and sent the ball past Ross to make it 2-0. Tufts, in similar fashion to previous seasons, was able to keep good pressure on the opposing defense, but was unable to finish its shots and put the ball past the keeper. The Jumbos out-shot the Mules 14 to 11, and had six corner kicks to Colby's three, yet were still unable to sneak anything past junior keeper Liza Benson. Benson ended up with 11 saves in the shutout, while Ross tallied six in the loss. Injuries should not serve as an excuse, but they didn't exactly help the Jumbos, whose seven new players were forced to take an increased role in what, for many of them, was their first collegiate soccer game. Junior center fullback Jen Fratto, the anchor of the back four, was sidelined with stress fractures in her back. Senior center midfielder Lydia Claudio, who has been plagued by injuries for the past three seasons, sprained her ankle in practice on Friday and was unable to compete. During the game, sophomore forward Lauren Fedore banged heads with a Colby player, suffering a severe grade three concussion that forced her to the bench. Because of these injuries, all 19 members of Coach Martha Whiting's squad saw action on Saturday. Freshman Maya Shoham got the start in the center midfield in place of Claudio, while sophomore Jessie Wagner, playing in her first game as a Jumbo since transferring from Bates, opened the game at fullback, along with classmates Anne Benedict and Joelle Emery and senior Cate Meeker. The silver lining to the loss came from the fact that the squad has only been practicing together for a week. "The new players did well, and I'm sure some of them played more than they had imagined in their first game," Callaghan said. "It was our first game and it was frustrating, but since it was our first game, we have time to figure out things to work on." The Jumbos will continue to focus on getting used to each other as teammates as the players learn each other's styles and preferences on the field. With such a large group of newcomers, that certainly will pose a challenge. "We need to find some kind of spark to get us going," Callaghan said. "Maybe go really hard at each other in practice, just to get us fired up and working together as one unit." Tufts doesn't have much time, however, as the squad gears up to face regional powerhouse Wheaton College in non-conference action on Wednesday, followed by NESCAC foes Middlebury and Amherst on consecutive Saturdays. All three games, however, are at home, where the Jumbos will hope to have the luck of Kraft Field on their side. Tufts has only played Wheaton, who is ranked third in the country, twice in the past four years, with mixed results. The Jumbos fell 2-0 to the Lyons early last season and defeated them 3-1 in 2000 in the NCAA Regional Final, en route to their National Championship berth.
The season came to a disappointingly early end for the Tufts women's soccer team last Saturday in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs. The Jumbos, seeded third, were upset by sixth-seeded Williams, 1-0.
Sometimes in sports, the team that controls the game doesn't always come out on top. Unfortunately for the women's soccer team, that time was yesterday. The favored Jumbos were ousted in the first round the NESCAC playoff tournament for the second straight year, this time at the hands of the sixth seeded Williams College Ephs, 1-0, at Kraft Field yesterday afternoon. The Jumbos finish the season 7-4-3 overall, with a 5-2-3 conference mark. The loss ends the careers of Tufts' seven seniors, co-captains Becky Greenstein and Sarah Gelb, and classmates Alina Schmidt, Meg McCourt, Catherine Benedict, Jen Baldwin and Jess Gluck. "They have to hang their heads high," coach Martha Whiting said. "Every single one of them stepped up today and played extremely well. We felt we were the better team and we controlled more of the game, and it's hard because we didn't come out on top." "We came out confident today and knew what we wanted to do," Gelb said. "This is an amazing team and today it just didn't go our way, but everyone played their hearts out, and that's all we can ask." The Jumbos came out flying at the start of the game, perhaps with a bit too much energy. Williams was able to control the ball in the Jumbos zone early, but was unable to get any solid shots on the Tufts goal. The Ephs early pressure paid off in the eighth minute of the contest. A Williams shot from the left flank was batted away by a leaping McCourt in goal and recovered by Williams sophomore Alix Oliver. Oliver controlled the ball and sent it into the middle of the field to senior leading scorer Lindsay Dwyer. Dwyer punched a virtually perfect shot into the corner of the net to put the Ephs on the board first. "They came out much stronger than we did," Greenstein said. "We counteracted them, but sometimes the better team just doesn't win. That's soccer." To its credit, Tufts settled down after the goal and started playing its brand of soccer. The Jumbos kept the ball on the offensive side of the field for the rest of the half, only allowing the Ephs three more shots over the next 40 minutes. The Jumbos notched 13 shots in that time frame, but were unable to capitalize on any of their opportunities. One of the best chances came with five minutes remaining in the first half, when junior Sarah Callaghan sent a high ball over the Williams defense to a wide-open sophomore Kim Harrington. As Harrington tried to gain control, the ball ricocheted off her forearm and possession was awarded back to Williams. The two teams played out the half and went into intermission with Williams still holding a 1-0 edge. At halftime, the Jumbos knew they were playing well but needed to start capitalizing on their opportunities. Those opportunities kept coming in the second, with perhaps the best one of the game coming off the foot of Callaghan 17 minutes into the second. The junior fought for possession off a failed Williams clearance and sent a laser from 25 yards out that ricocheted off leaping sophomore goalie Sarah Ginsburg and then off the top crossbar before being cleared by the Eph defense. The Jumbos were awarded six corner kicks in the second frame, but Williams, playing a defensive-minded game in the second half, was able to thwart all of Tufts' opportunities. The Jumbos had several final chances: with six minutes to play a Greenstein free kick sailed over the goal, and then with 1:30 remaining Ginsburg fell on a loose ball in the box just before Baldwin closed in. As time expired, the Ephs celebrated while the Jumbos, in a complete state of disbelief, saw their season come to an end. "As a team, we knew what we needed to do to get this done," Greenstein said. "We had many more opportunities throughout the game, but soccer is part luck and we just didn't have that today." "Soccer sometimes is an unfair game," junior Ariel Samuelson added. "Sometimes you just don't win no matter how hard you play. I guess today just wasn't our day." The Jumbos certainly came into the game with momentum, having beaten the Connecticut College Camels 2-0 on Saturday afternoon in the team's final regular season game. Junior Ariel Samuelson led the Jumbo charge, scoring both of the team's goals to finish the year as Tufts' leading scorer with four goals. McCourt earned her fourth shutout of the season with the win. With the win over Tufts, Williams moves on to the NESCAC semifinals where they will face Bowdoin next weekend, while Tufts' season ends and the Jumbo underclassmen can only look to next year.
The women's soccer team will try to wrap up its regular season on a strong note Saturday at home against Connecticut College. The NESCAC playoffs begin Sunday, so the Jumbos will not have much time to rest before they turnaround and play the first round. The Camels will be playing for their playoff lives as they go into their final game tied for seventh place with Trinity. The top seven teams from the NESCAC will qualify for the playoffs. Fortunately for Conn; should the two teams end up in a tie, the Camels hold the tiebreaker since they won the head-to-head match up earlier this year. The Jumbos, who currently sit in third place in the league with a 4-1-3 record, are coming off a 2-2 double overtime tie against Williams last Saturday. Tufts took an early 2-0 lead going into the second half, but the Ephs battled back to force the draw. "I guess it was disappointing not to win after being up two goals," coach Martha Whiting said. "But there were parts of the game where we played really well. You have to give Williams credit for coming back because it was a game they had to have." The game is in the past, however, and the team is looking ahead. "We will approach Saturday as any other game," Whiting said. "We will play our same game, only it's against a different team. We just need to play smart and play hard." This attitude has led to great success lately. Tufts has not lost since Oct. 5, approaching every game the same way, regardless of the team. The Jumbos go into the weekend playing their best soccer of the year at the right time. If the playoffs started today, the Jumbos would be facing Bowdoin at home, a team Tufts has already beaten this year. However, depending on what happens this weekend, things could get dicey. If Tufts beats Conn. College and Amherst loses to Williams, Tufts and Amherst would be tied for second with identical records. Through a series of tiebreakers, it appears that the Jumbos would get the edge over the Lord Jeffs with a 4-1-2 record against the top eight teams in the conference, compared to Amherst's 3-1-3. If this scenario plays and Trinity loses its game, Conn. College would secure the seventh spot even if it loses. Sunday would then be a rematch of Saturday's contest as Tufts would once again host the Camels. Regardless of what happens Saturday, however, Tufts will be playing a home playoff game Sunday, something that seemed very improbable a month ago. The Jumbos were winless through their first four games and the offense was nearly nonexistent. The turnaround came at the Homecoming game when the team notched its first win of the season. Since that point, Tufts is 6-1-1, its only loss coming in non-league action against Brandeis. Whiting said the feeling of how far this team has come is unbelievable. "Before the season, the team had an expectation of success," she said. "After the shaky start, it was tough to tell where we were going to end up. We really kept focused and worked hard, though, and it is very exciting to be at home on Sunday." The players will try to keep the playoffs out of their minds during Saturday's game. Yet while the game is important and will be treated the same way as any other, the team will do all it can to stay healthy and fresh for Sunday. "The girls won't hold anything back," said Whiting. "But I don't want people getting too worn down for Sunday. Hopefully we can come out hard, get an early lead and have the luxury of resting some players." The year has been a rollercoaster ride for this Tufts team. Sunday, however, will be a new season, and the Jumbos will try to put it all together to make a strong showing in the NESCAC playoffs. Both players and coaches know that if the team plays its brand of soccer,.it could be playing next weekend for the NESCAC title.
The women's soccer team came into Saturday's Parents Weekend contest in the midst of a five game unbeaten streak in the NESCAC. The squad did not disappoint the numerous fans in the stands, extending the streak to six straight games by fighting to a 2-2 double overtime tie with the Williams College Ephs at Kraft Field. "We had moments when we played our best soccer today, but there were also times when we were just standing there watching them," said senior co-captain Sarah Gelb, who was in the lineup after missing two games with an ankle sprain. "We played really well in the first half but unfortunately we came out flat in the second and they took advantage." The tie pushed the Jumbos' record to 6-3-3 overall, including a 4-1-3 record in NESCAC play. It kept the squad in third place in the conference, just one game back of Amherst and one and a half behind Middlebury with one to play. A win over Connecticuit College next Saturday, coupled with an Amherst loss to Williams, would put Tufts in position to overtake the Amherst Jeffs as the second seed in the conference when the playoffs begin next Sunday. The Jumbos also secured a top four seed in the NESCAC tournament, meaning they will host a first round playoff game on Sunday. "We really focused on not getting beaten at Kraft [Field]," Gelb said. "We're still undefeated at home, and we're in fine shape in the NESCAC heading into the playoffs." Tufts, clearly energized by the home crowd, came out firing to start the game. The Jumbos gave the fans something to cheer about early when in just the third minute of play, freshman center midfielder Martha Furtek bent a corner kick over Ephs sophomore goalkeeper Abby Taylor to put Tufts up 1-0. The goal was Furtek's third of the season, tying her for the team lead in goals (three) and points (eight) with junior Sarah Callaghan. Williams seemed to be demoralized by the goal and suffered a loss in intensity for the next ten minutes, a problem the Jumbos themselves faced earlier in the season. Tufts capitalized on Williams' lethargy, giving itself a two-goal cushion just eight minutes later. With 10:12 elapsed in the first frame, senior co-captain Becky Greenstein lofted a free kick through the Williams defense and found the head of junior Ariel Samuelson. Samuelson did not disappoint, heading the ball to the near post past Taylor for her second goal of the season. "I think we surprised ourselves by scoring those two goals really quickly," Callaghan said. "We went out really hard, and then it was like we had used up all our adrenaline and just couldn't keep that up for the rest of the game." The Jumbos continued to fight hard through the half, earning numerous chances deep in the Williams zone. Tufts, however, was unable to complete any of those opportunities and went into halftime sporting a 2-0 lead. At halftime, coach Martha Whiting stressed the importance of not letting up the intensity, keeping sharp for the entire 90 minutes, and playing like the game was tied at zero. "She told us to keep up the intensity and not let them gain any momentum by scoring any goals," Gelb said. "We wanted to transition better from defense to offense," Callaghan said, "and step it up and put a few more goals in." The midgame break didn't seem to work in the Jumbos favor, however, as Williams' senior forward and leading scorer Lindsay Dwyer added to her already impressive season just 49 seconds into the half, tallying her seventh goal of the 2004 campaign on an assist from sophomore defender Jessica Hing. The Jumbos settled down after Williams got within one, playing essentially even soccer with the Ephs, though still not looking as sharp as they did in the first frame. The Ephs, like any good team does, took advantage of the slip in intensity on the part of Tufts and evened the score at two 19 minutes later. Sophomore midfielder Alix Oliver sent a through ball in the air that senior Brittany Esty, the team's second leading scorer with five goals and one assist, headed into the goal just out of the reach of Tufts' senior keeper Meg McCourt. Both squads seemed to settle down after the goal, with each getting a few offensive chances but mainly staying back on defense to prevent any late scores. The teams fought through two overtimes, with both McCourt and Taylor holding their own in their respective nets to keep things even until the final buzzer. The Jumbos outshot Williams 26 to 18 on the afternoon, with the Ephs having a slight edge in corner kicks, eight to seven. The Jumbos will face off against Conn. College next Saturday in their final game of the regular season. Having no midweek contest this week will allow the squad to fully heal any injuries for the game and the ensuing playoff push. The Jumbos will look to stay positive this week in practice and mainly work on keeping the intensity level high for 90 straight minutes. "We're really going to focus on playing together as a team and playing to our full potential," Gelb said, "because if we do that for all 90 minutes, we will win."
For the second Saturday in a row, the women's soccer teamexacted some revenge on a NESCAC opponent.
A short lapse of intensity on the defensive side late in the second half led to another disappointing finish for the women's soccer team, which left Pratt Field in Amherst, Mass. still winless on the season. The Jumbos, who had scored earlier in the second frame, came away with a 1-1 deadlock against Amherst, their second tie of the season, to move to 0-2-2 overall (0-1-2, NESCAC) and into a tie for seventh place in the conference with Connecticut College. Despite not coming away with the win, the Jumbos were happy with their play and felt they dominated the game. "I think we played much better today than we have in previous games," senior co-captain Becky Greenstein said. "We were clicking in the midfield and with our forwards, and really moving the ball well." The Jumbos welcomed back three of its starters with open arms on Saturday, as senior Jen Baldwin and juniors Sarah Callaghan and Lydia Claudio were available to play. However, the absence of senior center fullback Catherine Benedict due to a stomach injury, combined with Tufts' lack of offense over the past few games, forced coach Martha Whiting to shake up the lineup a little bit. Senior Alina Schmidt moved from center defensive midfield to replace Benedict at center fullback, while Greenstein moved over from the right side to play center mid, and junior Lindsay Garmirian started at right halfback. In addition, Whiting inserted two freshmen, Martha Furtek and Joelle Emery into the lineup, with Furtek starting at offensive center mid and Emery at right fullback. Junior Ariel Samuelson started at forward alongside Baldwin, with Claudio and Callaghan coming off the bench. "The different lineup we had today really worked well," Greenstein said. "We decided we would just go out and play today, not stress about the win, and that's what we did." Senior goalie Meg McCourt started the game in goal and was relatively untouched in the first half, only having to make one save. Whiting substituted Annie Ross in the second half, who made two saves but surrendered the game-tying goal. McCourt was reinstated for the overtime periods and again held the Lord Jeffs scoreless. After a scoreless first half on both sides of the ball, Baldwin and Greenstein were finally able to put the Jumbos on the board, ending a scoreless streak of over 290 minutes of play spanning four games. Baldwin took a nifty feed from the co-captain, turned, and ripped a shot past Amherst sophomore goalie Piper Crowell to put Tufts up 1-0 at the 52:15 mark. However, over the course of the next 15 minutes, the Jumbos experienced what Greenstein called a "mental slip." In the 67th minute, the Jeffs took advantage of a free kick inside the 20 yard line, and senior Ashley Harmeling, the reigning NESCAC Player of the Year playing in her first game of the season, snuck a shot past Ross to knot the game at one. "They took the free kick so quickly that we did not have a chance to set up for it," Greenstein said. "They had an opportunity and capitalized on it, good work by them, but I still feel we dominated the majority of the game." The squads battled through both overtime periods, but neither was able to score, ending the game at a 1-1 stalemate. The Jumbos head into a three-game homestand this week virtually needing to go 3-0 to build some much needed momentum. The action starts up on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. against the non-conference Gordon Scots, a team Tufts smoked 7-0 early last season. On Saturday, Tufts faces off against a tough Bates team in its first of two Homecoming contests, while the squad will take on non-conference Worcester State on Sunday to wrap up the weekend.
The women's soccer team scored three goals in the first 15 minutes en route to a 4-2 win over the visiting Wesleyan Cardinals yesterday. The Jumbos, ranked 20th in the nation and third in New England in Monday's NSCAA poll, improve to 8-2 overall, and 5-1 in the NESCAC, where they now hold a full game lead over Williams and Amherst (4-2). Junior forward Jess Trombly scored two of the goals, netting the first just 59 seconds into the match. The Jumbos took the opening kickoff straight down the field, and Trombly sent a feed from sophomore Jen Baldwin past Cardinal keeper Kelly McFarling to give Tufts the early lead. Baldwin made it 2-0 just over four minutes later, hooking a left-footed cross from the corner into the frame. The score gives Baldwin a team leading 12 points on five goals and two assists, while Trombly is second with five goals and one assist. "She's definitely a key part of the offense," coach Martha Whiting said of Baldwin. "She can score goals and she can set people up. She's a good player, and she makes the players around her better." Tufts continued to dominate, and extended its lead to 3-0 in the 15th minute, with Trombly tallying her fourth goal in two games after a scramble in front of the net. Baldwin took the first shot, and when McFarling could not hold on to the ball, Trombly was there to finish it off. "We started off really well in the first half _ the first 20 minutes we were doing great," senior co-captain Alle Sharlip said. "We were doing everything that we have been working on in practices the past couple weeks." But Tufts finally slowed down after the third goal, suffering from what the team hopes will not become a trend of letting down after taking an early lead. "I think we got into our tendency of getting comfortable," senior co-captain Cara Glassanos said. "We had a 3-0 lead in the first 20 minutes, and we just thought that the game was over. We didn't play well." "We sort of let down a little bit and got relaxed, and maybe a little cocky," Sharlip added. Despite the drop in intensity, Tufts was able to keep the Cardinals off the board through the end of the first half. The Jumbos picked it back up in the second period, when they extended their lead to 4-0 in the 66th minute, as freshman Lydia Claudio netted the first score of her collegiate career. Trombly was in the mix again, firing a shot that bounced off backup goalkeeper Christina Farrell. Claudio was there to put away the rebound, adding what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance. With the comfort of a four-goal lead, Tufts' intensity level plummeted, giving Wesleyan the chance to claw its way back into the game. The Cardinals capitalized, scoring two goals in a three minute span and causing Whiting to scramble to get her starters back on the field. "They started to pick it up, and I have to give them credit, because they really did play hard," Whiting said. "They're streaky, and if they had any consistency, they'd probably be pretty good. They started to beat us to the ball, and they really use their bodies well. We got pushed around a little bit." The first of Wesleyan's goals came with 14:10 to play. Junior midfielder Leila Bozorg took a cross in the box from the right side and hammered a strong shot past Jumbo keeper Meg McCourt for the first goal of her career. The second goal came two and a half minutes later, after McCourt initially stopped a shot on a Cardinal breakaway, but could not hold onto it. The deflection rolled off to the side, where Wesleyan's top scorer, freshman forward Natalie Cohen, was there to put it away. Tufts rebounded after the second goal, picking its intensity back up and keeping Wesleyan from getting any closer, sealing the 4-2 win. The Jumbos out-shot Wesleyan 24-9 on the day and, on an even more positive note, have scored nine goals in their last two games after netting just three in their first four. "I knew it was there all along, and it finally started to click for us," Whiting said. "We're really starting to play smart and get used to each other, anticipating what the other one is going to do. Everything is just starting to click offensively." "I think what we've done these past two games is to play simple," Glassanos added. "We're playing to feet, we're pulling it back and not forcing it. We're not trying to dribble through five people, we're just playing the easy ball and the goals are just coming." The Jumbos now must focus all their attention on Saturday's opponent, the 8-3 Williams Ephs. The always-tough Ephs will be looking to get back on track after a 2-1 loss to Middlebury last weekend. "We're just going to have to play our best," Whiting said. "They're very speedy, they have a great passing game. We're very similar, and I think it's going to come down to whoever wants it more that day. We have to come ready for a fight, because that's what it's going to be." "If we play to our potential, we can beat anybody, and certainly we can beat Williams," Sharlip said. "If we played like we did the first 20 minutes of this game, we'll beat Williams, but we have to come out and play like that."
In its most lopsided victory of the year, the women's soccer team decimated Simmons College 5-0 yesterday, building confidence for its important NESCAC game against Trinity tomorrow. Tufts outshot Simmons 53-2 in the contest, controlling play from the opening kick until the closing whistle. With the win, Tufts improved its record to 7-4, while Simmons slipped to 5-6. "I thought today was great," coach Martha Whiting said after the game. "We played hard and capitalized on our chances - something we didn't do against Brandeis last week." The first half of the game resembled earlier non-conference matches for Tufts, with a barrage of shots but very few goals on the board. The Jumbos put up 28 shots in the first half but scored only once, as many shots ricocheted off of the crossbar. The second half was a different story, though, as Tufts went on a scoring rampage, led by midfielder Becky Mann. The senior had a goal and two assists, while freshman midfielder Becky Greenstein notched two goals and an assist. "It's great that we finally had this huge burst of scoring and were able to finish shots," Mann said. "It's really good for morale, and it shows us that we will be able to finish shots in big games where we don't have as many scoring opportunities." Simmons only posed one threat in the game. Early in the second half, the team had a clear look at the goal, but could not convert. The squad also produced three straight corner kicks, but the Jumbo defense was able to subdue any possible attack. Tufts was able to maintain its level of intensity for the entire 90 minutes of the contest - a feat which has been absent in the majority of outings this year. Case in point: Greenstein broke through two lackadaisical defenders on a botched clear with less than two minutes left to net the final goal of the game. "That is what we need," Whiting said. "Players playing to the last whistle is something that you love to see as a coach." With the team running up the score, Whiting was also able to rest some of her work-weary starters, who are in the middle of an eight-day stretch with four games. Freshman Lindsey Wolejko scored her second goal of the season off of the bench. "It shows that anyone on the team can produce when called upon," Mann said of the bench players' contributions. Also appearing on the score sheet were sophomore Jess Trombly, who netted her team-leading fourth goal of the year, and sophomore Alle Sharlip, who had an assist. The Jumbos will now have to channel their confidence into a more important NESCAC match-up with Trinity (6-5, 2-4) tomorrow at home. Tufts, 4-3 in conference play, has lost three of its last four games in NESCAC play but could clinch a spot in the conference tournament with a win tomorrow. Trinity has won five of its last seven games and should provide a much higher level of competition than Simmons. "I'm really excited about coming off of this win, and playing Trinity," Whiting said. "If we go into the tournament as we are peaking, that will be a great thing."@s:Women's soccer psyched for Saturday's Trinity game
The women's soccer team, which is coming off a 3-1 win over the Middlebury Panthers on Saturday, will look to extend its winning streak at home this afternoon at 4 p.m. against the Connecticut College Camels. The Jumbos (2-1, 2-0 NESCAC) beat the Camels (2-1, 1-1 NESCAC) by a 1-0 score in their only meeting last year. Tufts has picked up considerable momentum after dropping the season opener to Babson, 4-1. The team responded to the loss with two straight conference wins, including Saturday's comeback over Middlebury. That win was especially important for the Jumbos because the Panthers were the only NESCAC opponents they did not beat last year. "Saturday was a great confidence builder for our team. It was really a pivotal game," coach Martha Whiting said. "We've got some momentum. [The players] are feeling confident as a group, and are starting to believe in each other and trust each other and the decisions they make on the field. Something just clicked for us, and I think it'll carry over." In addition to momentum, the win enabled the team to establish a new identity and separate itself from last season's NCAA runner-up squad. "Now we can dismiss last year's team. We don't have to look back anymore," assistant coach Andrea Licari said. "This team is unique and just as great. This team beat Middlebury and can do so much. They are capable of everything last year's team accomplished and more, and now they can see that." The Jumbos may be on a hot streak, but it is still important to improve both mentally and physically, the coaches say. "We have to not settle for how we played [Saturday]," Licari said. "We still have a lot to work on, and we have to push ourselves more and expect more. The only way to succeed is to keep your goals up." Conn. College finished just 6-8 last season, and its 2-7 record in the NESCAC failed to qualify the team for the conference tournament. But Whiting insists that the Camels are not a team to be taken lightly. "There's a fine line between every team. Conn. has always played us tough," she said. "We didn't beat them for the first three or four years I was here, and since then it's been back and forth. They're not a team we consistently beat. Last year was a tough game, but I like that we're playing at home. It really works in our favor." The Jumbos have lost just one contest on their home field - the NCAA Championship match against the College of New Jersey - in 13 games since the start of the 2000 season. The Camels will be led by a trio of senior captains: forward Lena Eckhoff, who has scored two goals this season, midfielder Sara Molina, and goalkeeper Laura Knisely, who has a 1.58 goals against average. With her two-goal performance in Saturday's win, Tufts midfielder Alle Sharlip earned NESCAC Player of the Week and Tufts Athlete of the Week honors. She is the team's leading scorer with four points, and is followed by sophomore Becca Doigan, who has three. Doigan, however, is questionable for today's game after suffering a lower-leg injury against Middlebury. Senior co-captain Katie Ruddy will also miss her second consecutive match because of a hip injury. However, she is expected back for this weekend's game at Colby. Today's contest is the third of four consecutive conference games for the Jumbos in an 11-day span.
Saturday's victory over Trinity was important to the women's soccer team for two reasons - for six seniors, it was the last regular-season home game, and it guaranteed the teem a berth in the NESCAC playoffs. Kraft Field has been a successful stomping ground for the Jumbo seniors, and the dramatic, come-from-behind 2-1 victory watched by over 1,000 fans added icing to the cake. In the past two years, the team has only dropped two home games, compared to 18 wins. "We just wanted to go out and play hard," said senior midfielder Katie Kehrberger. "I love our field and the home crowds. We definitely wanted to play well for all of our friends and families." And appropriately, it was a pair of seniors who combined for the winning goal of the game. Midway through the second half, Kehrberger sent a corner kick to midfielder Sara Standish, who was waiting unmarked near the right goalpost. The goal capped the comeback win, which moved Tufts into a tie for third place in the NESCAC and guaranteed it spot in the conference postseason tournament. "It felt good, especially to come from behind," senior co-captain Lynn Cooper said. "Everyone worked really hard, which is good to see. The huge crowd definitely added a lot. It was nice to get the sure spot in the tournament and not have to depend on anyone else getting us in." The six seniors - Cooper, Standish, Kehberger, Becky Mann, Katie Ruddy, and Mara Schanfield - have all been integral to the team's success this season. "The seniors all had a really important part in the game, and that made me really happy that they could fight so hard," coach Martha Whiting said. Aside from Standish's goal, the other standout senior performer was Schanfield, the goalkeeper, who continued her intense level of play. Although she only made four saves, most of them were difficult point blank shots, which Schanfield played perfectly. "There is a point during your senior year when it dawns on you that this is the end of the line," Whiting said. "Basically you and your team are in control of how far you want to take it, or how quickly you're going to let it stop. I know the seniors were playing for their lives out there, and it showed." The emotion-filled victory moved Tufts to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the NESCAC, behind only Bates (5-2) and Williams (7-0). "We knew we had to come out and win today to secure a position in the playoffs," Kehrberger said. "We didn't want to go into next week with a big question mark hanging over our heads."With one game to play, Tufts could still finish as high as second in the conference and possibly host the playoffs, which begin on Oct. 21. The process for determining who hosts the first round of the playoffs is slightly arbitrary as it takes location, number of available playing fields, and team records into consideration. Since Williams will receive a first round bye, Tufts has a legitimate shot of hosting the first round of games. For the seniors, the post-season is familiar territory, as two of the past three years have yielded a New England champion team. The team appears to be peaking both emotionally and physically heading into the final week of the season, so another playoff run seems imminent. "The seniors are actually the only people on the team who have been to the NCAA's twice, so two out of their three years have been phenomenal," Whiting said. "We're trying to make it three out of four years for them. I know they're excited."