The Jumbos scored a season-high 10 goals against Suffolk on Tuesday, moving to 4-0-1 on the season and bringing their season goal total to 24. This marks the first time since 1980 that a Tufts team has scored 20 or more goals in its first five games of the season.
The win was a bittersweet one for the team, however. Senior forward Alex Farris collided with Suffolk goalie Melissa Brouillette in the fourth minute of the game and went down grabbing her knee. Farris was unable to get up on her own, and twenty minutes later she was carted off the field.
“It was kind of a shock that [Farris] went down, if you knew anything about her,” sophomore forward Jess Capone said. “We were just hoping she’d be fine and she’d just get up. It was hard to focus during that time. We were all worried about her, it was hard to focus on myself and what we [as a team] had to do.”
And it showed. Despite taking 27 shots in the first half, most of them flew high and wide, missing the back of the net until more than 20 minutes into the game. Suffolk’s goalie Brouillette left the goal open as she challenged a ball in the 21st minute, and Capone capitalized on the opportunity.
“I think the first [goal] was important,” sophomore midfielder Robin Estus said. “We had set a goal for ourselves specific to that game … to score the first goal in each half within the first 15 minutes, and we didn’t do that in the first half. So the goal from Jess [Capone] needed to break that streak and just get one in. We were all really worried about Alex [Farris] and that really shook us all up. We needed to get back into the groove so [the first goal] helped a lot.”
The goal ended up being the turning point in the half. After waiting more than twenty minutes to get on the board, the team didn’t relent in the remaining twenty minutes of the half, notching three more goals thanks to junior Allie Weiller, freshman Brooke Fortin and freshman Margaret Zahrah.
The Jumbos defense allowed Suffolk to take just one shot in the first half, though it was on goal. The Rams best chance came off a ball chipped into the box by Katharine Cote to striker Jessica Harmon, but Harmon was unable to get her shot off with enough power to really test Tufts goalie Eileen McGarry.
Despite the missed opporunities, Capone was content with the team’s performance.
“[The] defense played well, midfield did a good job of pushing the field and [initially] the goalie was making some big stops on us,” Capone said.
The second half saw a continuation of the scoring momentum built up in the first half, as the Jumbos proceeded with their textbook dismissal of the Rams.
“We came out blazing, we weren’t giving them any opportunities, and we were pressuring them [when they had] the ball,” Estus said.
The Jumbos did not just meet the goals they had set for themselves before the game — they exceeded them easily.
To pressure the Rams in their own half, the Jumbos aimed to get at least eight corners as a team. They got 16.
To maximize their chances on goal, the Jumbos set their shot target at 20. They took 46.
Tufts’ hunger to win could not have been more evident in their performance on Tuesday, even with co-captain Catharine Greer on the sidelines for the second straight game. Greer is recovering from a sprained MCL, and may be ready for the homecoming game depending on her progress for the rest of the week. Furthermore, Farris is out indefinitely with a broken bone in her leg. With the absences of seniors Greer and Farris, the team has had to rely on its younger players to fill the gap.
“Obviously it’s a bummer, [because] we don’t like having people hurt,” Estus said. “We have a small squad but everyone is able to step up. Chandler Quinton was able to step in to center back as a freshman, and Margaret [Zahrah] came in [against Suffolk] and was able to score a goal. It’s a reason to play harder and step up our game — for the people that are sitting on the sidelines wishing they could be in [the game].”
Fortin was arguably the star of the game, boasting a hat trick and raising her season total of five goals in as many games. Weiller also notched two goals and three assists in the game, bringing her season total to 11 points — tied with Fortin for team lead. For goalie McGarry, it was her third shutout of the season. Suffolk had come into the match after snapping a four game losing streak against Norwich, but was unable to generate any offensive energy against Tufts, and drops to 2-5 on the season.
As homecoming weekend approaches, the team is looking forward to its match up against Amherst this Saturday at 12 p.m.
“We’re taking it one game at a time, that’s one thing we’re really focusing on this year,” Estus said. “Each game is separate — they don’t have any impact on each other, right now we’re looking to Saturday [against] Amherst. We’re looking to beat the teams we didn’t beat last year and beat the ones we did beat. We think we’re capable of beating everyone, even with our numbers. [This win] is a confidence booster, but it means nothing for us in the upcoming games.”