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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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The Setonian
Soccer

Women's soccer | Mules prove to be stubborn as women's, men's teams battle Colby to dual stalemates in soccer season openers

The 2006 women's soccer season began similarly to last year's-with the Jumbos stumbling in their first contest and failing to outscore the Colby Mules. But the Jumbos emerged from this contest with minimal record damage, as the two teams battled their way to a scoreless tie on Saturday at Kraft Field. The 0-0 final was the first such result at Kraft in 13 years.


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's soccer | 2006 Jumbos step out of last season's stellar shadow

When the door opens on a new season for the women's soccer team this Saturday against Colby, questions will loom large overhead as to whether this year's team can go above and beyond the success of the 2005 squad, which won the New England regional title and reached the NCAA Div. III National Semifinal.


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Samuelson honored with First Team All-American selection

Senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson was honored with the biggest individual accolade of her athletic career Thursday night, and she was the last person to find out. The Newton, Mass., native capped off Tufts' storybook fall season by being named a First Team All-American, making her the second player in Tufts history to be given the honor. "It took me forever to find it because the NCAA has so many Web sites, but it's really exciting and I'm truly honored to receive such an award," Samuelson said. Samuelson led the Jumbos to the program's second berth in the NCAA Final Four, where they fell to The College of New Jersey 3-0 in the national semifinals. The squad finished the year with a 15-4-2 record, winning the New England Region and the Northeast Section of the Div. III NCAA Tournament. The senior led the Jumbos and the NESCAC in scoring this year, notching 14 goals and dishing out four assists for a total of 32 points. She was the first women's soccer player from the school to be named NESCAC Player of the Year. "It's amazing for a team to have someone who is going to put the ball in the back of the net for you on a consistent basis," classmate and fellow tri-captain Sarah Callaghan said. "It makes a difference, and that's why she was recognized. She's competitive, motivated, and someone I love being around." Samuelson was behind Tufts' school-record ten-game winning streak, during which it defeated regional powerhouses Wheaton, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Amherst and Bates. Her three goals against Middlebury tied a Tufts record for most goals and points by a Jumbo in a single game. Her 14 goals and 32 points both were the second highest single-season totals by a Jumbo in its history. "It's a really nice way to end my career," Samuelson said. "And I thank my team because I would have never received such an honor if we weren't all so good." The Jumbos were all over the All-New England Teams. Samuelson was the lone Jumbo on the first team, while classmate Lydia Claudio and sophomore Martha Furtek appeared on the second team and sophomore Joelle Emery was named to the third team. "After such a great season, it's really nice to have people be recognized," Callaghan said. "Everyone worked hard all fall and deserved this." Furtek and Claudio anchored the midfield, with Furtek playing offensive center mid and Claudio playing defensive center mid. The two complemented each other all season, working together to transition the ball from the Tufts zone onto the offensive side of the field, while also tallying a combined eight goals and seven assists. Emery helped anchor a Tufts defense that was the best in New England. The sophomore, along with classmates Jess Wagner and Annie Benedict, and junior Jen Fratto, made up a back four that allowed just seven goals in conference play. "All of us being named to the New England teams represents the hard work and success of the season," Emery said. "The fact that it wasn't just one person really affirms that we were never just about individual players. It was a team effort, and no one could have been rewarded without the help of everyone else."


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Season capped off by second-ever Final Four appearance

When the women's soccer team began the fall season, it had no idea what to expect. With the loss of six starters to graduation, including leading scorer Jen Baldwin and four-year starting goalie Meg McCourt, coach Martha Whiting had added five freshmen and two transfers to her roster and looked to her senior tri-captains to lead the Jumbos in 2005. After a shaky opening day loss to Colby, the team proceeded to put together one of the most impressive seasons in school history. Various injuries during the Colby game forced starters Jen Fratto, Lauren Fedore and Lydia Claudio to the sidelines for the next several weeks, forcing Whiting's new players to take active team roles almost immediately. The turning point of the season came just one game later in a midweek home matchup with the Wheaton Lyons, then No. 13 nationally and No. 1 in New England. The Lyons hadn't lost a regional game in five years, but with just three subs available and five new players stepping into crucial roles in the lineup, the Jumbos came away with a 3-2 victory. "After coming out and losing to Colby, we were extremely disappointed," sophomore Martha Furtek said. "That next week we had three do-or-die games and it was discouraging that we didn't have three of our starters. A lot of the new players were nervous and a little unsure of their roles, but everyone stepped up and made a huge impact on the field. If we hadn't won those next three games, the momentum of the season would have completely changed and we never would have made it as far as we did." The Wheaton victory sparked a record ten-game winning streak and 11-game unbeaten streak, and started what would be a perfect 7-0 season at home on Kraft Field. The team rose in the national rankings throughout the season, peaking at No. 6 in mid-October and staying in the top 13 for the majority of the season. A midweek slipup against Wesleyan, which ended the unbeaten streak on Oct. 26, was quickly erased when the team traveled to Conn. College for its final regular season contest the following Saturday. Tufts overcame the Camels 1-0, and with a Williams loss, the Jumbos clinched the regular season NESCAC title and were set to host the postseason tournament. After avenging the early loss to Colby with a 2-1 win over the Mules in the semifinals, the Jumbos fell to Bates in a double overtime thriller, 2-1. But Tufts was rewarded for its season-long dominance in New England by the NCAA just a day later with an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and the right to host the New England Regional. "Hosting NESCAC's really rewarded all our hard work during the regular season," sophomore defender Joelle Emery said. "After our loss to Bates, I think we forgot about all our accomplishments, and how talented a team we were. When we were given a bid and allowed to host, it put new confidence into our play, and really propelled us throughout the postseason." The Jumbos crushed Johnson and Wales, 3-0, in the Regional quarterfinals and exacted some revenge on Bates in the semifinals with a 1-0 win on a near-perfect goal by junior Kim Harrington. "With injuries early on in the season, we needed people to step up and Kim did," senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan said. "You could see her confidence growing and she got better every game, and she ended up scoring two huge goals for us in the playoffs." The wins advanced the Jumbos to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen to face off once again with Wheaton for the New England Regional title at Oneonta State. After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, the squad put together one of the most dominant halves of soccer in Tufts history, scoring five times on the Lyons to win the Regional crown. "That was definitely the best comeback I've ever been a part of," Callaghan said. "To come back and score three goals would have been awesome; to score five was indescribable." Tufts carried that momentum through to the Sectional Championship the following day, where the team faced the host Oneonta State Red Dragons. A late Red Dragon goal and two scoreless overtime sessions set up the Jumbos' most exciting game of the season: a penalty kick shootout with a spot in the Final Four at stake. With Tufts up 4-3 and Oneonta down to its last shooter, Jumbo junior goalie Annie Ross came up with the biggest save of her life, a diving stop just inside the left post to give the Jumbos the victory and a ticket to Greensboro, NC to face The College of New Jersey in the semifinals. "Shootouts are about the most stressful thing that can happen in a game, and so either way at the end it is going to be emotional," Callaghan said. "In an instant, we realized we won and were going to the Final Four, and it was an amazing feeling." While the Jumbos' magical season came to an end with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of TCNJ, the squad fought hard for all 90 minutes, especially late in the game when their fate had already been decided. "We don't quit because we play for each other," Emery said. "We've come from behind in games simply because people refused to stop working. Even though it didn't leave us with a win against TCNJ, I think it just represents the pride we have for our team and how much we love each other." Despite Whiting's heavy emphasis on the concept of team, several stars emerged for the Jumbos this season. At the forefront offensively was senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson, who led the Jumbos and the NESCAC in scoring with 14 goals and four assists for a total of 32 points. Samuelson was the key to the team's offense all season and was the first Tufts women's soccer player to be named NESCAC Player of the Year. Joining Samuelson on the All-NESCAC First Team was sophomore Martha Furtek, who was overall the most crucial part of the team's success. Furtek played nearly every minute of every game, and was the oil that made the Jumbo machine run smoothly. Callaghan and Claudio also had great seasons, with Callaghan leading the NESCAC in assists despite missing a month of the season with a knee injury and Claudio (along with Emery) earning a spot on the All-NESCAC Second Team. The most impressive part of the 2005 squad, however, was its defense. The back four of Fratto and sophomores Annie Benedict, Emery and Wagner, along with Ross, recorded nine shutouts this season against high-powered offenses like Bates, Bowdoin and Middlebury. Ross led the conference with 0.77 goals against average and kept the Jumbos in many games with her often-acrobatic saves. Perhaps the most promising prospect for 2006 is that all five components of the team's defense will be returning to the field. "Our defense worked together so well this season," Furtek said. "They came up big when we needed them, shutting down All-Americans and leading scorers to keep us in close games." The squad will say goodbye to its five seniors, as Callaghan, Samuelson, fellow tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian, Claudio and defender Cate Meeker will graduate in May. "It's really hard to sum up how amazing they were and how much they contributed to our team on and off the field," freshman Maya Shoham said. "They were such great role models and they always motivated us to play our hardest. We're going to miss them immeasurably."



The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Dream season continues with second-half comeback, shoot-out victory for Jumbos

Junior goalkeeper Annie Ross was facing the biggest moment of her athletic career. And she came through - in a big way. The NCAA Sectional Championship between the Jumbos and the Oneonta State Red Dragons came down to penalty kicks. With Tufts up 4-3 and Oneonta down to its final shooter, Ross stepped into the box, kicked her cleats, and knocked each goal post in preparation for the shot. "I was trying to read her hips and see where they went and go from there," Ross said. "As a goalie, it's a hard situation to be in, but you're not supposed to save them. So if you get one, it's awesome. The pressure is on the other team and you just have to guess one way. Hopefully you guess right." And she did. The junior made a diving save just inside the right post, and before she could even reach her feet, the Jumbos and their fans were charging the field to celebrate. The win gave the Jumbos the sectional crown to add to the regional title they earned a day earlier with a 5-2 win over Wheaton, and propelled them to the NCAA Final Four next weekend in Greensboro, N.C. "I'm just in shock right now," sophomore Martha Furtek said. "We couldn't have asked for more. This was one of our goals this season and I don't know how many people actually thought it would come true, but here we are." "It hasn't sunk in yet," Coach Martha Whiting said. "I know what's going on but it's so hard to actually believe what we're doing and what we've already done. It's over-the-top unbelievable." In a dead-even match between two very talented squads, Oneonta came out firing in a packed house of mostly Red Dragon fans. The Tufts defense, led by junior Jen Fratto, held strong, and Ross was solid to keep Oneonta off the scoreboard. The offense settled into a rhythm as the game progressed, controlling the ball and creating several opportunities on the Oneonta net. Neither team dominated possession at any point in the first half. The game remained a 0-0 stalemate for much of the opening 45 minutes. The Jumbos broke through in the 26th minute, when senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian took control of a failed clear attempt at the top of the box. Garmirian, who was knocked down by a Dragon defender just seconds before, snatched possession of the ball and deftly sent a low-hard ball past keeper Laura Morcone and into the back of the net to give Tufts the 1-0 lead. The Jumbos stayed strong throughout the remainder of the half, working hard defensively to contain All-American sophomore Mary Velan. Velan, the Red Dragon's main offensive threat, created several chances for her team, but Tufts senior Lydia Claudio stayed strong all afternoon at center midfield and denied the dangerous player a clean shot on the net. As the second half rolled on, the Jumbos got complacent and Oneonta was able to take advantage. The Dragons dominated the game for much of the second half, but a combination of luck and great defense kept Tufts in the lead. Sophomore defender Jessie Wagner and Garmirian both made game-saving plays in the net to preserve the shutout, getting their bodies between the ball and the goal to cover for a charging Ross. Oneonta earned a free kick on a questionable call on the left side of the pitch in the 77th minute. Senior Colleen Wolbert took the free kick, sending a perfect cross to freshman Christine Marra, who headed it into the back of the goal to tie the game at one. Both teams fought hard through the final ten minutes of play and through the two overtime sessions, but neither could put the ball in the net. Tufts senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson had the best opportunity for either team in the two overtimes, as she took control of the ball and flicked a shot at the crossbar that Morcone barely got a hand on. Two scoreless overtime sessions set the stage for penalty kicks. After senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan, sophomore Joelle Emery and junior Kim Harrington sank their shots and Oneonta followed suit, Garmirian stepped up to the box. The Amherst, Mass. native ripped a low shot past Morcone to put Tufts up 4-3. Marra was faced with the opportunity to even things up for the Red Dragons with her second ace of the day, but the freshman chipped a high ball wide to the right of the goal. Claudio, Tufts' best penalty kicker, stepped up to the ball with a chance to clinch the win for the Jumbos, but Morcone held her ground and delivered a rare penalty kick save. The 4-3 Tufts lead set the stage for the final shot, with the Dragon season depending on the leg of senior Sarah Tauber. The defender couldn't get past Ross, and Tufts took the victory. The Jumbos' matchup against the Red Dragons was set up in dramatic fashion, as the team ripped off a five-goal second-half comeback to overcome the Wheaton Lyons on Saturday afternoon to claim the New England Regional Championship. Down 2-0 going into halftime in a surprisingly even game, Whiting had some inspirational words for her team. "I told them 'You're not going to quit. If I see your head hanging or if I've seen you've given up, you're going to be sitting on the bench next to me,'" Whiting said. "It became real in the second half that this could be the end of our season and we knew we weren't going to let that happen." The NESCAC Coach of the Year's words had the intended effect. Sparked by a header from Claudio on a free kick by sophomore Jess Wagner, the Jumbos scored five unanswered goals to crush the Lyons 5-2. Furtek, Samuelson and sophomore Lauren Fedore followed Claudio to give the Jumbos the victory. "I've never seen anything like it," Whiting said. "To score five goals in a soccer game is miraculous, to score five in a half against a team that's been second in New England all year is over the top." After Furtek's goal tied the game, the momentum shifted visibly and the Jumbos knew the game was theirs. Tufts scored three goals in the final 15 minutes to seal the game and the Regional Championship. "You could see it in their play; they totally gave up and we just dominated the last 20 minutes of the half," Claudio said. Sameulson blew by the Wheaton defense and snuck one past sophomore keeper Stacey Kronenberg for the third goal. Nine minutes later, Fedore took a deflection off the foot of freshman Abby Werner and sent it past Kronenberg for the fourth. Samuelson finished the job on a pass through the defense from Claudio to complete the blowout. "There is no team that's more fun to beat like that than Wheaton," Samuelson said. "They always slide through somehow and they're an overrated team, and to show that they're overrated like that is awesome." With the wins, the Jumbos will now book their tickets to North Carolina to face off against the The College of New Jersey on Friday afternoon in a rematch of the 2000 NCAA National Title game. The winner of the contest will take on the winner of Messiah and Chicago in the Championship on Saturday. "This is honestly the best thing that's ever happened to me," Samuelson said. "I'm so happy to go to the Final Four, but also just to be able to keep playing soccer."


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Two wins would propel Jumbos to the NCAA Final Four

You only live twice. After falling to Bates 2-1 in double overtime in the NESCAC Championship two weeks ago, the women's soccer team was given a second shot at life by the NCAA, as the Jumbos were granted the No. 1 seed in the New England Region. Tufts held seed last weekend, shutting out Johnson and Wales 3-0 before blanking Bates 1-0 to gain revenge and advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. But the Jumbos are out of lifelines, and from here on out, it's win or go home. The squad faces off on Saturday with Wheaton for a chance to call themselves New England Regional Champions. Tufts and Wheaton faced off on Sept. 14 at Kraft Field, with Tufts sneaking by then-national No. 3 Wheaton, 3-2. Wheaton skidded into Medford on a two game losing streak, having fallen to the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis, 4-1 and 3-1, respectively. The Lyons came onto Kraft Field and were edged by the Jumbos on a 70th minute, game-winning free kick by sophomore defender Joelle Emery. Even though things are very different now, the Jumbos still recognize that game's significance. "It was the beginning of the season, we were missing three injured starters and had only three subs," senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan said. "It will be a completely different game, but we're going to have to come out fired up because they will be gunning for us after having lost to us once." Since the loss to Tufts, Wheaton has gone 16-1-2, including an 8-0-1 mark in conference. The Lyons currently sit 20th in the nation and rolled through their conference schedule and postseason tournament. "With unbeaten streaks, as we know, you get used to winning, assume you'll win, and don't always play as hard as you should," Emery said. "We've lost recently so we know what it's like, and really don't want to do it again. [Wheaton's] streak is waiting to be broken." Wheaton boasts a prolific group of sophomore attackers that has combined for 47 goals and 32 assists this season. The quartet is led by forward Lauren Konopka, who tallied 44 points on 17 goals and 10 assists on the year. Classmates Jenna Rabesa (9G, 11A, 29P), Julie McLane (11, 6, 28), and Ashley Furr (10, 6, 26) round out Wheaton's top four point leaders, with freshman Angelamaria Viscomi leading the team in assists with 12. While those stats are impressive, they must be taken with a grain of salt because Wheaton plays in the NEWMAC, which is nowhere near as competitive a conference as the NESCAC. The Jumbos haven't exactly been slouching since their first matchup with the Lyons, either. The victory over Wheaton was the starting point of a 10-game winning streak for Tufts, during which it defeated New England powerhouses Middlebury, Amherst, Bowdoin and Bates and broke a 27-year old school record. Tufts was a mainstay in the national rankings all season, peaking at No. 6 in late October and currently sitting at No. 13. Furthermore, the Jumbos have occupied the number one spot in New England for virtually the entire season, and currently reside there heading into this weekend's action. The 2005 Jumbos' 14 wins are the second most in school history, only behind the 2000 Jumbos that made it all the way to the National Title game. The last time Wheaton and Tufts faced each other in the NCAA Tournament was in this same situation during that 2000 season, when Tufts won 3-1 to take the New England crown. Though both teams are coming into the bout with loads of momentum, the Jumbos understand that it is the little things that will determine who advances to the Elite Eight. "When we do as well as we can, we are confident we can play with anyone," Callaghan said. "At this point, every team is going to be very good, and it's going to come down to which team wants it more." "We need to come out hard right from the start and never let up and work together as a team possessing the ball and controlling the game," freshman Maya Shoham added. Defensively, the Jumbo back four has been brilliant all season and will face one of its toughest tests tomorrow. After shutting out the high octane Bates Bobcats last weekend, however, Tufts' defense is brimming with confidence and has its strategy in place for the Lyons. "Going into the Bates game we were really focusing on stepping up quickly and putting a lot of pressure on their forwards so they didn't have time to turn with the ball and distribute," Emery said. "That's exactly what we want to do with Wheaton. We know if we step up and continue to work hard it will frustrate them and shut them down." With the win over Bates last weekend, the Jumbos advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time in school history. Furthermore, the Jumbos eclipsed their performance of the 2002 season, when Callaghan and classmates Lydia Claudio, Ariel Samuelson and Lindsay Garmirian were freshmen on the team. "You always want to do better than you did in the years before," Callaghan said. "But for the seniors, this is it. Whatever we accomplish this year will be the best we've ever done." Putting the game aside, the Jumbos have not forgotten to bask in the glory of this experience, hosting NCAA's on Kraft Field and traveling to New York to represent their university. "I think that we're actually letting ourselves be very excited because it's a big deal, and we're enjoying it while it lasts," Callaghan said. "But we know that once the game starts on Saturday, it's just another game, just like we've been playing all season." Game time is slated for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the victor facing the winner of the matchup between No. 14 Rochester and No. 21 Oneonta State for a chance to go to the Div. III Final Four.


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Tufts ready to take advantage of next life as NCAA regional host

Despite suffering a double overtime loss in the finals of the NESCAC tournament to Bates last weekend, the women's soccer team was rewarded for its outstanding regular season with the opportunity to host an NCAA Division III Tournament regional this weekend at Kraft Field. On Saturday, the Jumbos will take on Johnson & Wales, who won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference title with a 1-0 victory over Western New England College in its title game. "Everybody is so unbelievably happy about being selected for the tournament," Coach Martha Whiting said. "It is great to see everyone so cheerful after being so sad on Sunday [after the loss to Bates]. It helps take the sting out of the loss." Sophomore Martha Furtek, who, along with teammate Ariel Samuelson was named to the All-NESCAC First Team yesterday, echoed Whiting's sentiments. "Our loss Sunday was a huge disappointment and the only thing that kept our heads up was knowing that we still had a shot at the NCAA's," she said. "Waking up Monday morning and finding out that not only did we make the tournament, but also that we were hosting really picked us up. We're a lot more confident than we were walking off the field on Sunday." The first two rounds of the tournament will be played at Tufts. The match up with Johnson & Wales will be played at 11 a.m. on Saturday and will be followed by a meeting between Bates and Eastern Connecticut. The winners of the two games will meet on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. If things play out, the Jumbos could find themselves facing the Bobcats for the third time this year. But Johnson & Wales comes first. "I've talked to a couple coaches and gotten a little bit of scouting on them," Whiting said of the Wildcats. "They have been playing well and are on a roll right now. They seem to be a tough and physical team with a key player - their offense runs through her." That key player is junior Kelly Gil, who was named the GNAC championship most valuable player after delivering a game-winning goal with just 4:16 left to play in regulation in the title game. Gil leads the Wildcats with 16 goals and nine assists for a whopping 41 points. Fellow junior Leah Farrar has added five goals and seven assists as well. The JWU defense has allowed 20 goals in 20 games this year, including seven shutouts. The Wildcats, after finishing with a 7-2-1 record in the regular season, rolled through the conference tournament, including a victory over regular season champion Simmons, which had beaten JWU 3-1 earlier in the year, so the Wildcats are peaking right now. Senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson, who in addition to All-NESCAC First Team was named the NESCAC Player of the Year by conference coaches yesterday, will lead a Tufts offense that should be mostly healthy. "It appears that everyone will be available and ready to play this weekend," Whiting said. "We've been taking it easy this week, and people have been banged up, but come Saturday, everyone should be good to go." After taking Monday off, the team watched video on Tuesday, and had a stretching session as well as some jogging Wednesday to get fully rested. Whiting planned on two light practices Thursday and today. "When the girls get back out on the field, I think they are going to be surprised at how fresh their legs feel," Whiting said. "We will practice some penalty kicks and free kicks and just get back into the groove." "At this point of the season, we know what we have to do to win games, so we just need to make sure that we're healthy and rested enough to get it done," said Furtek, who is a good example. The sophomore collided with the goalie in the game against Colby last weekend and injured her foot. She is still awaiting the results of the x-rays, but thinks that she will be fine come game time. After waiting with baited breath Sunday night, the Jumbos are thankful to get a second chance. "We feel like all the hard work we put in this season is finally paying off," Furtek said. "We don't care who we're playing now, we are just excited and ready to get out there and play our hearts out against whomever we face." Tufts knows it can go far in this tournament - if the team plays to its capabilities. "I've been saying it all year: we just need to play as hard and as smart as we can, and we'll be okay," Whiting emphasized. "It just comes down to playing as a team."


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer to host NCAA Regionals this weekend

Despite falling 2-1 in double overtime in the NESCAC Championship game to Bates on Sunday, the women's soccer team found itself as the No. 1 seed in New England when the NCAA Championship brackets were released yesterday. Coach Martha Whiting's squad will host the New England Region this weekend, facing off against Johnson & Wales on Saturday afternoon. If the team is victorious, they could get a second shot at Bobcats, as they would face the winner of the Bates-Eastern Conn. matchup on Sunday.


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Fifth-seeded Bates upsets top-seeded Jumbos in fierce double overtime match to win NESCAC

The women's soccer team stood frozen as Bates players and fans rushed the field on Saturday afternoon after stealing the NESCAC Championship away from the Jumbos 2-1 in double overtime. A defensive miscommunication between junior sweeper Jen Fratto and junior keeper Annie Ross, both of whom were stellar defensively for the Jumbos all afternoon, allowed Bates freshman Jen Marino to sneak in and toe the ball over Ross and into the back of the net with 6:18 left in the second overtime period. Despite being devastated by the loss, the Jumbos were able to take solace in the fact that their season is, in all likelihood, not quite over. "I told them that it's fine to be sad, and that I am sad and they should be, but it's not the end of the world," coach Martha Whiting said. "We've had a great season and we played our hearts out today and really battled." "If we were going to lose a game, this was the one to lose because we're still going to NCAAs," senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson added. "It sucks and it brings us down, but it really doesn't change anything about the rest of our season." All in all, the two teams went all out in what turned out to be an exciting and hard-fought championship match. "Going into the game, we really just wanted to leave it all out there and play as hard as we could," sophomore Joelle Emery said. "We knew that if we could do that, we could walk off with our heads high. We left it all out there and played through injuries, and we know our season isn't over." The Jumbos, who were battling several key injuries at game time, came out flat to start the game, and Bates took advantage. Junior wing Jessie Gargiulo put the visitors up early, taking a pass from sophomore Molly Wagner and floating a shot past freshman defender Genevieve Citrin and over Ross's head into the net in the eighth minute. "Everyone was nervous specifically because several of our important players were injured," senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson said. "It's scary to go into a game like that, but once we realized we could play with them, we pushed through and started playing really well. They deserved the goal in the beginning - they completely outplayed us for the first 15 minutes." Tufts was lucky to be only down one early on. Throughout the first 15 minutes, the Bobcats had several point-blank opportunities only to be denied by Ross. "She was remarkable all day," Samuelson said. "She saved us from them scoring quite a few goals and kept us in the game." The Bates goal sparked the Jumbos back to life, as Tufts started controlling the ball more soundly and keeping it in the Bobcats' zone. The Jumbo pressure paid off in the 26th minute, when senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson bent a shot from the left corner of the field towards the net. The ball deflected awkwardly off Bates' sophomore defender Allison Emery and skidded past sophomore keeper Nini Spalding to tie things up at 1-1. For the next 80 minutes, the teams went at each other, playing extremely physically on a muddy Kraft Field for the 2005 NESCAC crown. Both defenses were extremely solid, as Tufts was able to neutralize Gargiulo and leading scorer Kim Alexander, while the Bobcats were able to shut down several attempts by Samuelson, senior Lydia Claudio, and junior Kim Harrington. Not to be overlooked on the defensive side for the Jumbos was sophomore Jessie Wagner, who, in her first year as a Jumbo, played spectacularly in the back all season. Wagner transferred to Tufts from Bates, so the championship game found her pitted against several of her former teammates and friends. "In a game like that when there are so many feelings you can go two ways," Samuelson said. "You can get completely psyched out or you can be awesome, and she was awesome." To make it to Sunday's final-round tilt with the Bobcats, Tufts first had to take on Colby in semifinal action on Saturday. It was the Mules who started Tufts' season off on the wrong foot, defeating the Jumbos 2-0 at Colby on a Sept. 10 opening-day matchup. Tufts got the last laugh, however, knocking the Mules out of the playoffs with a 2-1 victory in front of a rowdy Kraft Field crowd. Tufts got on the board early on a give-and-go between Harrington and sophomore Lauren Fedore. Harrington controlled the ball 25 yards out, sent a quick pass to Fedore who one-timed it back to Harrington, who took control and sent a perfect shot over Colby keeper Liza Benson's head to put Tufts up 1-0. The Jumbos got a key insurance goal early in the second half when senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan, battling a serious knee injury which limited her playing time all weekend, controlled the ball inside the Colby eight-yard line and sent a soft pass out to Fratto, who chipped one over Benson's head in what turned out to be the game winning goal. Colby got some renewed life late in the game when junior scoring leader Laura Williamson ripped a shot from the 18 past a leaping Ross to evade the shutout and put Colby within a goal. Tufts, however, controlled the ball for the final two minutes and sealed their place in the championship the following day.


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Tufts hosts NESCAC tournament, strives to maintain record

For the first time since 2002, the women's soccer team is hosting the NESCAC Tournament at Kraft Field. After winning the regular season championship with a 6-2-1 record (11-2-1 overall), the Jumbos will try to repeat their effort from that year, in which they won the tournament as well. At 11 a.m. on Saturday Tufts will face Colby, whom it has not seen since it lost to the Mules 2-0 in first game of the season. One school-record ten-game winning streak later, the two will meet again with a lot more on the line. The Jumbos know things will be different. "We had three starters on the bench that game and we hadn't really played together as a team yet, so we didn't click at all," coach Martha Whiting said, referring to her team's first matchup with Colby. "We didn't play well at all that game, so we are really excited to get them as our draw. We know we can exploit them where they are vulnerable." The team knows not to take this game lightly, however. Colby, the seventh seed in the tournament, surprised second-seeded Amherst last Sunday, defeating the Lord Jeffs on penalty kicks 4-3 after a scoreless regulation and two overtimes. This is the Mules' first semifinal appearance ever, and their stingy defense should make it difficult for Tufts. Colby, on average, allows less than one goal per game and has only allowed three goals in a game once this year, in a 3-2 loss to Bowdoin earlier this season. Anchoring its defense is junior keeper Liza Benson, who leads the league in save percentage (.882) and is third in goals against average (0.79). The Jumbos' defense is no slouch itself. Tufts has not allowed three goals in a game all year, and like Colby, allows less than a goal per contest. Junior goalkeeper Annie Ross led the league in shutouts (seven) and GAA (.70), in addition to being named NESCAC Player of the Week on October 10. Leading the offensive attack for the Jumbos is senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson. Samuelson is tied with Bates' Kim Alexander for the conference lead in goals (11) and points (25). She is part of a deep offense that will look to exploit the Mules' weaknesses early and often. The team went fairly easy this week in preparation for the weekend. "We went hard on Monday, but then Tuesday and Wednesday we went pretty light," Whiting said. "We worked on corner kicks and a little bit on possession, but our main goal was to rest sore and injured bodies. We know what we have to do, so at this point in the season it's more a matter of coming out and doing it." The fact that Tufts is playing on its home turf will give the team a huge boost. The Jumbos finished undefeated at home, posting a 7-0 record, and hope to keep the string going. "We know our home record is great and we really feel comfortable playing on Kraft, so that gives us a huge advantage mentally," Whiting said. Whiting knows that the players will still get some jitters. "I think there will definitely be some nervous excitement, which is a positive thing," she said. "If we weren't nervous at all, then I think there would be something wrong. Once the first whistle blows, though, all of that will be forgotten." On the injury front, sophomore Lauren Fedore will, in all likelihood, be available on Saturday, but senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan is still questionable. "They are probably available, but I don't know how much time they will get," Whiting said. "If we need them, we can use them, but we aren't counting on it." In the other semifinal game, fifth-seeded Bates is facing third-seeded Bowdoin, which is the only team returning from last year's semifinals. The Polar Bears have made it to the semifinals every year since the tournament started six years ago, but they have never appeared in the championship game. The winner of Bates-Bowdoin will face the winner of the Tufts-Colby game Sunday at noon on Kraft Field. "We just have to play hard and play smart, and the rest will come," Whiting said. "We are excited to be playing at home, so now we just need to go out and perform." If everything plays out as the team hopes, the season will not be over after this weekend. In the players' eyes, however, that is a long way away.


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Women's Soccer | Jumbos defeat Conn College, win regular season title

Sometimes the cards just happen to fall the right way. After holding off the Connecticut College Camels 1-0 in New London on Saturday, the fate of the women's soccer team was still in the air. To seal their claim to the regular-season title, the Jumbos would need some help from other NESCAC teams. They got it almost immediately after the game ended as word came in that Amherst had defeated Williams in a 1-0 nail-biter, giving Tufts the top seed and homefield advantage heading into the playoffs. "I heard somebody whisper something to coach and I turned around started yelling 'Amherst beat Williams!'" sophomore Martha Furtek said. "It was a huge relief. I think we all knew that if we did our part and won, things would fall into place for us, and they did." The squad got on the board early against the Camels on a corner kick from Furtek. Junior center back Jen Fratto, the squad's tallest player, migrated up from the defensive end to give the Jumbos some extra height around the goal. The strategy paid off, as Fratto connected on a header for her first goal of the season to put Tufts up 1-0 just four minutes into the game. In the 13th minute, senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian took a pass and raced past the Camel defense on the left flank, poised to give the Jumbos their second goal in under 15 minutes. Conn College senior goalie Kate Simmons came charging out to make the save as Garmirian slid to try and poke the ball past her. The two collided ten yards from the goal, and Garmirian's spikes connected with Simmons' ankle. Simmons was forced to leave the game with what appeared to be a severe ankle sprain, and freshman Sarah Beaudoin stepped in as her replacement. To her credit, the freshman did a remarkable job in relief, shutting out the Jumbo offense without having warmed up at all. Tufts, however, certainly did its part to make Beaudoin look good, as the Jumbos were unable to capitalize on several excellent opportunities around the goal. "We definitely had a lot of trouble finishing opportunities against them," Furtek said. "We really should've been able to take advantage of how nervous their backup keeper must have been. If we had scored a second goal right when she came in, it would've put the game away for us. Unfortunately, we like to keep things exciting for our audience and stressful for our coaches." The squad realizes that it must step up on offense next weekend if it intends to take home the NESCAC crown. "If we don't finish opportunities next weekend, we're going to have a lot of trouble and make things much harder for ourselves than we need to," Furtek said. "If we can start capitalizing on our offensive chances, there isn't any team in the conference who can beat us." Once again, the Jumbo defense was remarkable as unit, earning its seventh shutout of the year. Tufts finished the regular season with seven goals allowed in NESCAC play, and just ten overall, both good for conference bests. "The defense was great," senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson said. "The score doesn't reflect the game at all. We need to start finishing the ball so that we end up with the 'right' score. But despite that, the defense really played strong and preserved our lead all game." "Our defense has been solid all year long and they have been helping [junior keeper] Annie [Ross] out by minimizing the shots on goal," sophomore Lauren Fedore added. "That being said, whenever opponents have gotten through, Annie has come up huge and made some spectacular saves to keep us in games." The first-round bye the Jumbos received with the win will give them some crucial time off this week, allowing them to rest several injured players. Senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan remains sidelined with an LCL injury and Fedore is still out with a knee injury sustained in the team's Oct. 22 game against Williams. Stepping up in a big way in the team's game against Conn. College, however, were freshman Abby Werner and junior Kim Harrington. "There's no way that a team can be great with only 11 players because the chances of people not getting injured or tired throughout the season are really slim," Samuelson said. "So it was so crucial to us that our non-starters were able to step it up in the absence of Lauren and Sarah." The Jumbos will use this week to prepare for Saturday's semifinal match with Colby in the second of two semifinal games. The first one will feature a matchup between Maine's two other NESCAC schools, Bates and Bowdoin, who reached the round of four through respective wins over Williams and Middlebury. A win over Colby will be especially sweet for Tufts, as the Mules defeated Tufts 2-0 on opening day of the 2005 season. "I think we all will be extra motivated to beat Colby because they embarrassed us," Samuelson said. "I was actually really mad that Williams got knocked out, because it's always nice to beat the teams in the tourney that you lost to or tied in the regular season."


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Women's Soccer | With streak over, Jumbos look to win last regular season game

The Women's soccer team saw its 11-game win streak come to a surprising end Wednesday as it lost to ninth place Wesleyan Cardinals. Coming off a hard-fought tie at Williams last Saturday the team just could not put it together and finish shots. The final score was 1-0. Cardinal junior Danielle Crystal scored the only goal just 4:38 into the contest, as she jumped on a botched goal kick and punched the ball into the right corner of the net. The Cardinals held on thanks to freshmen goalies Gavi Elkind and Andrea Giuliano. They made seven saves apiece to clinch the victory. Tufts is now in a three way tie for first place in the NESCAC with Williams and Amherst at 5-2-1. "It was just one of those games," coach Martha Whiting said. "It seemed to be a bad combination of us being a little off and them being very on." Senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan, who has been out for the last three weeks with a sprained LCL, saw similarities between the game and the match against Colby, Tufts' only other loss this year. "There were people who played really well as individuals, but we just didn't come together as a team," she said. The Wesleyan team, already eliminated from playoff action, was gunning for an upset. "They were playing their best and you could tell they wanted to be spoilers," Whiting said. "It was their Senior Day and a very emotional game for them, so they came out excited and played like it." Though the loss hurt, it was not the end of the world. "If we are going to lose, that was the time to do it," Whiting said. "It is much better than losing next week [in the playoffs.] We know what we are capable of, so now it's more a matter of settling back into our groove." The Jumbos have little time to dwell on their loss. They are preparing for their final regular season game Saturday at Connecticut College. Whiting is not planning to change anything on the field heading into the team's final matchup. "I don't think we have any tactical or strategy problems," she said. "I think it's more of a mental issue. We just need to get that confidence back." Connecticut College is a very winnable match for Tufts. At 2-6, the Camels sit in eighth place in the NESCAC but are coming off two consecutive victories, including a 2-0 win at Trinity. There will not be any lack of motivation in the game. With a win, the team still has a very good chance of hosting the NESCAC Tournament and earning a crucial first round bye. "One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to host the tournament, so it is definitely on our minds," Whiting said. "We have a team that knows how to win, so we just need to rise to the challenge. I am confident that we will." Though it is the third straight game on the road, the team knows that as long as it stays focused good things will happen. "At this point of the season, every game is the biggest game of the year, so we have to continually increase our intensity level," Callaghan said. "We can't be afraid that we are going to lose, and that has to start on Saturday." The Jumbos are a little banged up and not quite as healthy as they would like to be. The team missed sophomore Lauren Fedore, who injured her knee in the game at Williams. Fedore and Callaghan will be out until the playoffs. "At the end of a season it's normal for people to feel tired and sore, but the adrenaline of the upcoming playoffs has to overcome that," Callaghan said. Whiting said that every team in the conference is in the same boat. "It's a possibility that we are a little worn down, but you can say that about anybody, so we aren't using it as an excuse," she said. "I think we've done a good job of giving days off and not overworking the girls. We'll be ready."


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Women's Soccer | One hundred ten minutes yield no winner: Jumbos fight to scoreless tie

While the Jumbo record ten-game win streak came to an end on Saturday afternoon, the team still walked off Williams' Cole Field with an 11-game undefeated streak intact. The match, which pitted the No. 6 Jumbos against the No. 24 Ephs, lived up to expectation. The two teams battled incessantly, fighting to a 0-0 tie on a cold and rainy afternoon in Williamstown, Mass. "It was really frustrating," sophomore Martha Furtek said. "We came out flat again and were diving into tackles, which allowed them to switch the field a lot. But we gained our composure and started being more patient on defense, which helped generate offensive opportunities, too." The tie puts the Jumbos at 10-1-1 overall (5-1-1, NESCAC), a half game ahead of the lurking Ephs (5-2-1) in conference play. Heading into the last week of action, the Jumbos now control their own destiny. If they defeat Wesleyan and Conn. College this week, they'll receive a first round bye in the NESCAC tournament and host the semifinals and finals as the No. 1 seed. The Ephs came out flying on their home field, pressing the Jumbo defense, which has been remarkable all season. After losing its last two games, Williams was hungry to strike first against Tufts. The Jumbo back four and junior keeper Annie Ross continued their strong play, however, quelling three early Williams corner kicks and transitioning the ball to the offensive end. "After a three-and-a-half hour drive, it's hard to come out flying," sophomore defender Joelle Emery said. "They were out to beat us; they've lost their last two games and didn't want to lose another on their home field." The Ephs had a golden opportunity 20 minutes into the contest, when sophomore leading scorer Ana Sani kicked a bullet at Ross from the top of the 18. Ross blocked the shot but was unable to gain possession, and the ball made its way directly to freshman Gabby Woodson. Woodson ripped a shot at the post, but Ross laid out to her right, snaring the ball three feet in the air to keep the game scoreless. "It was ridiculous," Emery said. "She was on the ground, and sprung up and fully extended herself in the air to catch the ball. It was one of best saves I've ever seen." Tufts had a point blank opportunity of its own just two minutes later, when sophomore Lauren Fedore curled a 20-yard bullet at the left post, but Williams junior keeper Sarah Ginsburg dove to her right, barely able to tip it out of bounds. The Jumbos had another chance late in the half, when miscommunication in the Williams defense left three Tufts forwards facing a single Eph defender deep in the zone. Furtek beat the defender cleanly, but her shot sailed just over the crossbar and the score remained 0-0. "I don't know what to say other than we just didn't have luck on our side," Furtek said. Both teams came out in the second half and applied the same pressure. Both had ample offensive opportunities, but strong defensive play on both sides of the field, reinforced by remarkable goalkeeping by Ginsburg and Ross, kept the match scoreless. The two overtime sessions were defensive showcases, as Tufts' back four was able to limit on-target shots from Sani, sophomore Jessie Freeman and Woodson. Ross finished the game with a season-high 11 saves while Ginsburg tallied eight. Ross's zero goals allowed moved her atop the conference with 0.75 GAA. Williams, to its credit, was able to shut down Tufts' senior tri-captain and NESCAC scoring leader Ariel Samuelson all afternoon. Led early on by the presence of senior co-captain Elise Henson, the Eph back four was able to neutralize Samuelson. It marked the first time in six games that Samuelson failed to find the net, and just the third time all season she failed to record a point in a Jumbo match. While Henson suffered an ankle injury in the second half, the back four still kept Samuelson and the rest of the Jumbos off the board, largely due to the absence of senior tri-captain Sarah Callaghan, who is out indefinitely with an LCL injury. Callaghan's ability to create shots for her teammates would have been invaluable against the Ephs. "Sarah brings so much to the team," Furtek said. "She creates so many opportunities up front and wins so many balls because of her speed. We definitely miss her a lot, but we've had so many injuries this season that we know that we just have to pick it up and keep trying to get it done." The Jumbos have a huge NESCAC week ahead of them, starting on Wednesday against Wesleyan. The Cardinals are winless in the NESCAC at 0-5-2, but have impressive ties at home against Middlebury and Colby in recent weeks. On Saturday, the Jumbos face the Conn. College Camels, who currently sit tied for eighth place in the conference at 1-6, with their one win coming against the struggling Cardinals. If Tufts defeats both squads, it will be off next Sunday with a bye in the first round of the tournament and will host the semifinals and finals the following week. "It's always nice to know that we control what happens to us," Callaghan said. "We just have to stay focused on these last two games and not start looking ahead."


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Women's Soccer | Home sweet home: Jumbos win sixth straight at Kraft Field

For the Women's soccer team, all that mattered was the end result. Despite not playing up to their high standards, the Jumbos did what they needed to do to win Saturday, defeating ninth-place Trinity 3-2 in front of a crowd of raucous students, parents and alumni. The win pushes the Jumbos to 9-1 on the season (5-1 NESCAC), and drops the Bantams to 3-6-1 overall (1-5 NESCAC). Tufts' victory, coupled with a Williams loss to Middlebury, gives the Jumbos sole possession of first place in the league heading into tomorrow's non-conference bout with Keene State. "We didn't play as well as we wanted," coach Martha Whiting said. "We've played a whole lot better this year, and the girls know that. It was disappointing, but in the end, we got it done. Trinity did a better job of possessing the ball than we did, which was embarrassing because we know we're the better team." A big part of the Jumbos' sub-par play certainly can be attributed to the weather. Mother Nature was not kind to Tufts this Homecoming weekend, as severe and constant rainfall served as somewhat of an equalizer on the turf field. "The rain certainly had a bit of an impact because it wasn't just rain," Whiting said. "It was constant heavy downpour coming in sideways for 90 minutes. Part of what Trinity did was just knock the ball out of the back. A bouncing ball on the wet turf really skips and is tough to judge." The Jumbos came out of the gates looking less sharp than they had in previous games. They struggled in possessing the ball and transitioning from offense to defense, making for some sloppy play early on. Tufts got on the scoreboard first in the 26th minute. Senior tri-captain Lindsay Garmirian was fouled in the box on a breakaway and classmate Lydia Claudio took the kick, drilling the ball past Trinity keeper Tara Finucane for her first goal of the season. Claudio, who was hampered by an ankle sprain earlier in the season, played solidly all afternoon and showed no signs of lingering effects from the injury. Trinity tied the game just before halftime, when a shot from freshman Devin Nwanagu slipped through the hands of Tufts' junior keeper Annie Ross and into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. "In the first half, we came out pretty slowly, which was frustrating for us because we knew we could play better," sophomore Joelle Emery said. "It was also upsetting because there were so many alums and fans there that we were letting down in a way. Not wanting to disappoint them really got us pumped up in the second half." The Jumbos did not disappoint, coming out with much more energy and focus in the second half. The defense remained patient and strong, while senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson tallyed two goals in a span of five minutes to put the game away. Samuelson's first goal came in the 54th minute, when the senior took a cross from sophomore Jessie Wagner and knocked the ball past Finucane. Just five minutes later, with the Jumbos pressing the Bantam defense, junior Jen Fratto sent a long ball into the box. Samuelson took control with her back to the goal, spun around her defender and deftly drilled the ball past the keeper into the open net for what ended up being the game-winning goal. It was Samuelson's NESCAC-leading 10th goal and 22nd point of the season, giving her the highest goal total by a Jumbo since 2000. "I don't know what's gotten into her," Whiting said. "Part of it is that it's her senior year so there's a sense of urgency. Also, last year she was just getting used to playing forward again, but this year it's like second nature to her." Whiting said Samuelson's competitive nature has been a huge part of her dominance on the field this season. "She can take bringing the equipment out to the field and make it into a competition," Whiting said, "Her competitive nature drives her to be the best. Everyone has also been very impressed at how composed she is. It's just mind-boggling this year." Tufts got a little complacent after Samuelson's second goal, letting down its intensity and allowing Nwanagu to slip a shot from the right flank just barely over Ross' outstretched arms to put Trinity within a goal in the 78th minute. "I don't think we necessarily let down, but I think we thought we had already won," freshman Genevieve Citrin said. "After they scored, we got a little panicked and flustered, but I don't think there was ever a doubt in anyone's mind that we wouldn't come out on top." The Jumbos were able to secure a victory in front of several former players. The alumni in attendance gave the players extra incentive to show off the growth of the program. "It was so much fun," Whiting said. "The roar of the crowd when we scored really took me by surprise; it was much louder than at any normal Saturday game. It was really cool.


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Women's Soccer | Jumbos secure spot in record books with ninth straight win, still untarnished at home

With Saturday's win over Trinity, the women's soccer team etched its place in the Tufts record books. The ninth straight win kept the team's home record untarnished at 6-0. After an opening day loss on the road to Colby, the Jumbos have been unstoppable, outscoring opponents 23-7 and recording four shutouts in the process. "It's pretty exciting that we were able to get the win yesterday to break the record, but it really wasn't on any of our minds going into the game," sophomore defender Joelle Emery said. "I think that we've gotten to the point where we are just taking each game at a time, and if that allows us to break a record, it's even better." The win broke a 25-year-old record, set by the 1979 Jumbo squad. A big part of the Jumbos' success over the past month has been its extremely deep bench. Early in the season, junior Jen Fratto, sophomore Lauren Fedore and senior Lydia Claudio were forced to the sidelines by injuries, opening the door for six new players to step in and fill their roles. The six quickly learned the ways of Tufts soccer, and since the three injured starters have returned to the lineup, coach Martha Whiting has been able to substitute freely without worrying about a drop in play. "We're so used to it now, I think we're almost spoiled," Whiting said. "Right from the beginning, the younger kids were able to step up. At the beginning of the season, we had to give a lot of thought as to what we were going to do to fill the roles, but since then we haven't had to. We've come to expect it now, that anyone that goes in works hard to be just as good as the person they go in for." Whiting stressed the sense of team that has propelled the squad to nine straight victories. "One of the great things about this team is that there is no weird hierarchy," she said. "Once you're part of the team you're part of it, and it's almost become hard to differentiate between classes because there is no individual that's bigger than the team."


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Women's Soccer | Now sixth in the nation, Tufts ready to do battle against Trinity on a turf field

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.


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Women's Soccer | Jumbos plow through Polar Bears

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.


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Soccer

Women's Soccer | Jumbos will defend top ranking and seven-game win streak this weekend

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.