The women’s lacrosse team started the season off strong with back-to-back home wins against Castleton College and MIT this week.
After downing Castleton in a dominant 23-5 victory on Monday, Tufts came back from an early deficit to handle MIT in a 13-9 win on Wednesday night. The game against MIT started with relatively inexperienced first-year Audrey Evers in goal and the draw controlled by fellow first-year midfielder Cecily Freliech. Despite a quick first goal by MIT, Tufts bounced back with a goal by sophomore midfielder Taylor Meek, who would go on to score three more throughout the game.
MIT maintained its lead throughout the first half despite goals from first-year center midfielder Dakota Adamec, who closed the gap to just one goal, and another goal from from first-year midfielder Megan Toner five minutes before halftime to make it 5-3 Engineers. Meek added her second score of the game in the last minute before halftime to make it 5-4 at the intermission.
Nine minutes into the second half, the Jumbos were on a run, leading 7-5 after five consecutive goals. First-year defender Hedy Veith scored her first collegiate goal 12-and-a-half minutes into the second half, while senior tri-captain attacker Caroline Ross contributed two goals for the Jumbos. Evers made 14 saves over the course of the game, proving herself a formidable presence on the field.
By the time the final whistle blew, the Jumbos were up 13-9 to move to 2-0 in their first week of the season.
“We are excited to be 2-0 starting the 2016 season,” senior tri-captain midfielder Brigid Bowser told the Daily in an email. “Every game is an opportunity for us to learn and get better together, and we will definitely build off our performance versus MIT in the practices leading up to our next opponent.”
In the much less challenging season opener against Castleton on Monday, the team looked to prove themselves with a squad comprised of both veterans and 13 rookie newcomers. The veteran players impressed, with Ross scoring five goals and adding three assists and Meek scoring three goals with three assists. Bowser led all scorers with an impressive six goals. At a final score of 23-5, the Jumbos proved themselves a cohesive unit, though continued to look forward toward upcoming challenges.
“Even though we beat Castleton, we always take one game at a time,” senior tri-captain defender Jaymi Cohen told the Daily in an email. “We have to prepare and prove ourselves on the field each time we step out there, no matter who the opponent is. We have to prepare for every opponent but at the end of the day, we stay focused on who we are and what we want to accomplish.”
The first-years were integral during the game against Castleton on Monday, as Freliech scored the first goal of the season unassisted. She tacked on another goal five minutes later in the first half. Classmates Toner, Adamec and midfielder Annie Sullivan followed, scoring their first collegiate goals throughout the rest of the contest. Both goalies are newcomers following the graduation of both of the team’s goalies from last season. While Evers played the majority of the game, junior newcomer Ruth Barry also stepped in for the final minutes.
“The first-years on our team have already stepped up to be role players,” Cohen said. “Every member of our team has an important role in our successes no matter what the grade. We always have a team-oriented mindset where nobody cares who gets the credit, as long as we get the job done. The [first-year] girls on the team have already bought into this idea, which is really important for our success.”
Bowser also spoke about the importance of the first-years on the team.
“We have been very impressed with how the team has developed with the new [first-years],” Bowser said. “Everyone is playing a part and working hard to challenge each other regardless of age. They bring strong energy every day to practice and represent Tufts lacrosse in a great way.”
The team has started strong, though they look forward to constant improvement during practices as the rest of the season progresses.
“We have a lot to take away from the MIT game, including some areas of the game that we can work on,” Cohen said. “We don’t have a lot of time to think about any one game we played because we have so many others coming up. We have two hard days of practice to prepare for Midd[lebury] on Saturday.”
Tufts looks to take down Middlebury tomorrow to set the tone for its NESCAC games this season as it kick off its campaign towards a conference title, though the team is still taking it one game at a time.
“One major goal for the season is just to improve every day,” Cohen said. “As long as we stay focused on who we are and what we want to accomplish, we will all be on the same page moving forward. One of our major goals this year is to win NESCACS on our home field. But in order to get there, we have to work on the little things and come to practice every day focused in competition and focused on our fitness and fundamentals. At the end of the day, we need to get better every day and get the job done on the field.”
This mentality has put the Jumbos in a good position to start the season, and it may lead them far as they look forward to upcoming games following recent success. Tufts plays Middlebury at home this Saturday at 2 p.m.