Capone ran on to a ball from senior forward Victoria Stoj, and sent it toward the left post, burying it in the net to give Tufts the lead. The forward had been relentless on her attack on the Endicott defense all game, forcing Endicott senior midfielder Ally George back to aid the pair of the defenders – junior Katherine Chipman and senior Clare Mansfield – already tasked with defending Capone. Of her three shots on goal all game, Capone made this strike in the 60th minute count to give Tufts the edge over its non-conference opponent.
The goal brings Capone’s season total to five, tying her with sophomore forward Brooke Fortin for the team lead. Freshman forward Mariah Harvey-Brown was matched up with junior Betsy Albiani, possibly Endicott’s strongest defender, who was able to limit Harvey-Brown’s impact. Still, she finished with two shots that day, both on goal.
But the score was only part of the story, as the Jumbos played well against a strong 6-3-3 Gulls team, recording 23 shots to the Gulls five, a testament to the versatility of a team that can play both sides of the field well.
“Before the game [coach] Martha [Whiting] set some goals for the team — that we were to get 20 shots off, eight corners – and that kind of really helped us focus on what we did [during] the game,” Capone said.
The game saw a return to Tufts’ characteristic high-speed offense, pressuring Endicott in its half of the field for the majority of the first 45 minutes. The attack benefited from strong and aggressive play by the defense, which moved up to support the forwards and found itself creating plenty of opportunities.
The first look at goal from the Jumbos came in the eighth minute off a pass from senior co-captain midfielder Carla Kruyff to Fortin on the left wing. Fortin passed it back to sophomore defender Alexa Pius, but her shot sailed to the right of the goal. This was one of many instances of the defense playing a large role in creating opportunities on the attack.
Just two minutes later, senior co-captain defender Catharine Greer, returning from a one-game suspension after getting a red card in the Lesley game, headed the ball from inside the box back to Capone, whose shot rolled into the arms of Endicott senior keeper Katie Donnelly.
The defense, anchored by Greer and junior defender Nicole Campellone, allowed just three shots on goal all game. The physical pair, both listed at five-feet, ten-inches, thwarted any attempts by the Endicott forwards – junior Rebecca Litwin and sophomore Shelby McLenithan – who are both listed as five-feet, two-inches and five-feet, one-inch, respectively. Endicott’s strongest matchup on attack was the pairing of junior left wing Paige Marinelli against Brunswick, but the defense successfully managed to avoid any counterattack by the away team.
In the 20th minute, Marinelli broke away from Brunswick on the left corner and found herself with the ball within the six, but Greer came in and cleared the ball before Marinelli was able to get a shot off. Marinelli tried again in the 32nd minute, this time getting past the pair of Greer and Brunswick, but the shot was saved by Tufts sophomore goalie Eileen McGarry.
“The goals we set before the game [were] to have very high pressure [on the other team], even before they cross the halfway line. We were really successful in that and that really spurred our offense, it changed the dynamic of the game,” Brunswick said. “Something that we work on a lot is having our outside backs attack and it really does kind of confuse the other team because it’s another attacker. A lot of attack does starts when we win the ball back from defense and that gives us a huge opportunity to help on the attack.”
The Tufts’ defensive line has been a consistent factor in the team’s success all season, recording four shutouts in its six wins. The starting line – consisting of Brunswick, Campellone, Greer and Pius – has been altered just once this season, when freshman Chandler Quinton stepped when Greer was unable to play. The defense, with the addition of McGarry, will be the key factor to the team’s success this weekend, as they take on both Conn. College and Trinity on their home fields.
“Right now the team’s looking at coming out with two wins this weekend, because those are crucial games for determining the standings in the NESCAC, so right now our mentality is just that we want to win,” Capone said.