This week, Tufts women’s soccer played its first two games of the season against Emerson College as well as the defending NCAA Div. III champions — and its fierce NESCAC rivals — Williams. The team picked up a convincing 3–0 win at home against Emerson but lost a late winner away at Williams to start the season 1–1.
In the first half of the Williams game, the two teams were locked in somewhat of a stalemate. Both teams were pressing each other hard, but neither side was able to create a definitive scoring chance. Despite some dangerous-looking dribbles from Williams first-year forward Jasmine Moore that were snuffed out by the Tufts backline, along with a shot from distance by Tufts junior forward Liz Reed that flashed just over the crossbar, the score remained level going into halftime.
The first goal of the game came quickly after the beginning of the second half. First-year goalkeeper Hayley Bernstein swatted a cross from Williams junior midfielder/defender Georgia Lord out of the air, but it fell to Williams sophomore forward Rain Condie, who slotted the ball home for the first goal of the game. After the goal, Tufts poured on the offensive pressure in response to the 1–0 deficit, managing 13 shots in the span of 25 minutes. Their efforts were rewarded in the 74th minute when junior forward Sophie Lloyd played a ball into the box to Reed, who deftly placed the ball just outside of the Williams goalkeeper’s reach to level the score at 1–1. This was Reed’s second game on the scoresheet this season following a brace against Emerson. The goal was her third in just two games.
The scores didn’t remain level for long, however. Just two minutes following Reed’s goal, Lord got on the end of a cross from junior midfielder Aspen Pierson to score her first goal of the season, making the score 2–1 in favor of Williams. The Ephs saw out the rest of the game and retained their 2–1 lead, ultimately being rewarded with the win. The scoreline didn’t tell the tale of the game, however, as Tufts outshot Williams in the second half with a whopping 17 shots to Williams’ four.
The Jumbos were a bit disappointed with the result, considering their good offensive display in the second half.
“At Williams, we dominated [the] second half,” Reed said. “We outshot them and outplayed them at multiple points during the game, and it showed us that the bar for this season for this team is high and we should strive for nothing but the very top. The score was not a good representation of the game.”
Against the Emerson Lions, the Jumbos took an early lead and nabbed their first goal of the contest and season in the 19th minute. Junior midfielder Hannah Isenhart whipped in a cross from the right wing that found senior midfielder Tally Clark inside the box, who was able to get a shot off. Her shot cannoned off the post but fell to Reed, who put the ball away in the back of the net. Just over four minutes later, Reed got her second of the game. Senior co-captain and midfielder Jenna Troccoli carried the ball to the right flank and pulled it back to Reed, who was lurking in space around the 18-yard line. Reed fired a shot from just around the 18, which flew past Emerson sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rose to make the score 2–0 in favor of Tufts.
Tufts held Emerson to a 2–0 lead for the majority of game and kept possession in Emerson’s end of the field for most of the second half, outshooting the Lions 24 to two in the entirety of the game. In the final minute of regulation, first-year midfielder Margaux Ameer passed the ball to sophomore forward Sophia Wallach, who took a touch toward the middle of the field and took a shot from 20 yards out that flew right under the crossbar to bring the score to 3–0.
This was Wallach’s first goal of her Tufts career, and she was thrilled to have gotten it.
“I felt an amazing sense of pride after scoring my first goal as a Jumbo,” Wallach said. “This is the highest level of athletics I have ever participated in (compared to club and high school soccer) and to be able to score a goal on my university’s team is surreal. It makes all of the hard work in the offseason feel like it has paid off in some way.”
The team was pleased with its emphatic win over Emerson.
“We’ve been talking since November of last year about what our goals are as a team and how good we know we can be this upcoming season,” Wallach said. “The emphasis this week has been on taking our season one game at a time and knowing that our team’s success will come with patience, focus and hard work. The win against Emerson is a huge step in the right direction,[and] as we play more and more our confidence will continue to build and that will lead us towards good results later in the season.”
Reed was on top of her game against Emerson and Williams. She was pleased to get three goals and is using it as motivation for the season to come.
“It felt great to open up the season with two goals,” Reed said. “I think the idea was to try to set a good opening for what we hope will be a long season with runs in the NCAA and NESCAC tournament, but for now we are focusing on one game at a time. Getting a goal against Williams proved that they can be beaten and that on another day the result could have gone our way. They are not invincible.”
The Jumbos are back in action Sept. 10 as they play Lasell College at home on Kraft Field.