The Jumbos bounced back from its first loss of the season against Middlebury (13–0) with a pair of crucial NESCAC wins last weekend, edging out No. 17 Trinity College (9–4) by a score of 1–0 and recording another shutout on Saturday against Conn. College (3–10) by a score of 2–0. These wins cemented Tufts’ position as a powerhouse, now ranked third in the country.
“Our motto for this week was that we all wanted to win the week, first-year midfielder Claire Foley said. “This weekend we knew we had two tough back-to-back NESCAC games, which is hard because on the second day you’re always a bit fatigued, so we really just worked on working together and making sure that we got [the weekend games] taken care of.”
The Jumbos finished off their weekend on the road on Sunday against the Trinity Bantams, one of the top teams in the NESCAC and a consistent top-20 team in Div. III field hockey this season. A stout defensive battle was to be expected between these two teams. A mere 10 shots were launched throughout the game from both sides combined, with only half of those being shots on goal.
Both defenses came out in the first half sharp. Neither goal was threatened until the 17th minute, when senior forward and co-captain Gigi Tutoni finally got off the first shot of the match, though it went wide and needed no saving from Trinity senior goalkeeper Lori Berger. It would be the Jumbos’ only shot of the half. The same script was written for Trinity later in the half, as sophomore forward/defender Caroline Fisher struck a shot wide, which would be the Bantams’ only chance of the period as well.
Things began to pick up a bit in the second half, with the Jumbos putting some pressure on Berger with some on-goal looks. It appeared that it was only a matter of time until Tufts broke free. That moment came on a penalty corner in the 55th minute.
After a setup from junior midfielder Marguerite Salamone and a pass from junior forward Rachel Hamilton, first-year midfielder/defender Sophie Schoeni took a shot at goal. Sophomore forward Alexis Chauvette deflected it into the net, giving the Jumbos a 1–0 lead. It was the first score of Chauvette’s collegiate career, and also ended up being the game-winner.
“It felt amazing,” Chauvette said of her first college goal. “Luckily, everything was set up pretty perfectly. It was a great corner from Marguerite, and then Rachel Hamilton put up a great pass over to Sophie Schoeni who gave me a really easy finish.”
The Jumbos took the victory, bringing their NESCAC record to 7–1.
On Saturday, Tufts traveled to New London, Conn. to take on the Conn. College Camels. The Jumbo offense was able to get a little more breathing room in this match, getting 20 shots off along with 17 penalty corners. The Camels put up zero in both categories. It was the second of three straight shutouts for first-year goalkeeper Andie Stallman, proving the ability of the Jumbo first-years on offense and defense.
Foley attributed her class year’s success to the team’s positive atmosphere.
“Give that credit to the older girls for integrating us into the team this year,” Foley said. “The best part about it is that with our team dynamic this year, we’re all gelling really well together and we keep pushing each other at practice and our ages don’t really matter.”
While the Jumbo offense wasn’t able to put together a goal in the first half, they quenched their thirst for scores with a pair of goals in the latter period. The Hamilton-Tutoni connection came to fruition five minutes into the half, with Hamilton assisting Tutoni on her ninth goal of the season, which is tied for seventh in the NESCAC.
Foley then chipped in an unassisted goal about 15 minutes later, cementing the Jumbo lead. Despite a few more chances on the offensive end for Tufts, the score remained 2–0 after 70 minutes of action.
The weekend puts the Jumbos at 11–1 on the year, and keeps hold of their second place standing in the NESCAC with two more conference games on the schedule. The first of those two, against No. 16 Williams (8–3), comes at home this Saturday, after a brief visit by Haverford (6–6) on Wednesday night. The Jumbos only have a few more chances to tune up before the post-season, as their regular season finale is just a week from now at No. 11 Bowdoin (10–3) on Oct. 24.
“It’s really important for us to make a statement in every game we play in,” Foley said. “I think the mindset of the team right now is really focused. We know what we want to do, and I think we’re dedicated to doing everything in our power to achieve that goal right now.”