Tufts falls to Trinity in NESCAC quarterfinals

Tufts sophomore attacker Emily Games fends off a defender in Tufts' 14–9 win against Bates on April 17. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily

Three days after defeating Bowdoin 11–10 to earn the third seed in the NESCAC tournament, the No. 8 Tufts women’s lacrosse team fell to sixth-seeded Trinity 12–10 in the quarterfinal round on Saturday.

The Jumbos hosted the No. 11 Bantams (11–5, 6–4 NESCAC) under sunny skies at Bello Field due to a quirk in the conference standings. With Trinity in a three-way tie for fourth place, the No. 4 to 6 seeds were decided randomly. Despite a legitimate claim to being the most dangerous of the three teams, the Bantams were seeded sixth — earning a matchup with the third-seeded Jumbos.

Heading into the quarterfinal match, Tufts had earlier beaten Trinity 12–9 on March 24, but was 0–4 against the visitors in tournament play. The Jumbos had a point to prove as well, having fallen at a similar stage to the same opponents last year.

After a slow start by both teams, the hosts opened up a 3–1 lead on a goal from junior attacker Dakota Adamec at the 9:04 mark. However, the Bantams responded with three goals of their own in less than two minutes. Adamec and Trinity senior midfielder and co-captain Allie Barrett then traded goals, with Trinity maintaining a one-goal advantage. Junior midfielder Annie Sullivan and sophomore attacker Emily Games each scored for the Jumbos with under five minutes to play in the first half, and the hosts entered the break with a slim 6–5 lead.

The Bantams came out hot to start the second half, as first-year midfielder Kendall Milligan scored twice in the first 5:15, sandwiching senior attacker Kiley Coffey’s goal to grab an 8–6 advantage. Tufts struggled with turnovers throughout the second half, committing 10. However, the Jumbos bounced back, scoring three goals in quick succession. Games’ second strike of the contest once again gave Tufts a one-goal lead.

Trinity tied the score at nine with 13:33 to play on another Barrett goal before the visitors added two more to open up an 11–9 advantage with less than eight minutes left. Sullivan brought Tufts within one at the 7:12 mark with an unassisted goal. Coffey responded with a quick goal, though, and the Bantams shut down the Jumbos’ attack to secure a 12–10 upset victory.

Barrett and Coffey each scored three goals for the visitors, while Adamec led the Jumbos with three of her own. Despite winning the battle in draw controls (14–10) and shots (34–30), Tufts’ offense was unable to match its league-leading mark of 14.56 goals per game.

Three days prior, Tufts battled No. 13 Bowdoin (12–4, 6–4 NESCAC) in Brunswick, Maine in a consequential regular-season finale. The teams traded runs throughout, with the Jumbos grabbing an early 3–0 lead before falling behind 4–3. Tufts finally regained the lead on senior midfielder Caroline Nowak’s goal with 27:21 to go in the second half and survived a late Bowdoin comeback for an 11–10 victory.

With the win, the Jumbos secured the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, while the Polar Bears fell into the aforementioned three-way tie for fourth place.

Despite its tough loss to Trinity in the quarterfinals, Tufts (12–4, 8–2 NESCAC) is likely to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament due to its strong play during the regular season. The Jumbos will have to wait until the conclusion of the conference tournament, however, before learning their fate.