In a hard-fought battle between two NESCAC opponents, the Tufts women’s soccer team was able to come out on top, beating the Colby Mules 3–1 on Saturday. The home victory was the team’s first conference victory of the season, following a 2–1 loss against Williams on Sept. 7. With the win, the Jumbos improve their overall record to 5–1.
The game started off fast with goals scored by both sides early on. The Jumbos got the scoring started early in the first half on a penalty-kick goal in the 18th minute by senior midfielder and co-captain Izzy Moore. However, Colby quickly responded and tied the game up at 1–1 a little over a minute after Moore’s goal.
Astonishingly, the back-and-forth scoring continued as Tufts first-year midfielder Madeleine Pero put the Jumbos up 2–1 less than 30 seconds following the game-tying score by the Mules. Pero’s goal was off an assist from junior forward Liz Reed, who recorded her fourth assist on the season.
The scoring stalled for a while, until the 57th minute of the second half, when junior forward Sophie Lloyd assisted Reed, who was able to score to give the Jumbos a 3–1 lead. Reed, who was a first-team All-NESCAC selection last year, leads the Jumbos in goals on the season with six. The goal remained an insurance score throughout the match, as Colby was unable to put the ball in the net for the rest of the game. Lloyd’s assist on Reed’s goal marked her fifth on the season, which is tied for first in the conference.
Additionally, the Jumbos kept the ball downfield for much of the game, as they had 22 more shots in the game than the Mules. Their offense was also able to move the ball around all game, as two of their goals came off of assists.
Reed spoke about her feelings toward Saturday’s win, commending teammate Pero’s goal.
“Saturday was our first NESCAC home opener, so it was fantastic to get the win out of that. Especially to win not only by just one goal but two, which is fantastic to have in our response to when Colby scored on us,” Reed said. “[Pero’s goal] was a very, very fast and very well-executed ball, so I’m very happy about what happened this Saturday.”
Alongside the offensive prowess, the game was highlighted by a great performance by the Jumbos defense. The Jumbos backs only gave up one early goal and limited the Mules to only five shots in the game. First-year goalkeeper Hayley Bernstein saved two potential goals during the match, recording her fifth win of the season in the net (5–1) in the process.
The Jumbos’ high-powered offense has been the key to the hot start to the season for the Jumbos, who have averaged over three goals a game so far this season. They have also relied heavily on their teammates to help them score, as only one of their 19 goals this season has been unassisted.
Coach Martha Whiting expressed her satisfaction with how the team played on both sides of the field immediately following the victory.
“Today we were moving the ball really, really well,” Whiting said. “We were playing quickly. I thought overall our team defense was spot on today, and that was really nice to see. We definitely believe in ourselves this year.”
Moving forward, the Jumbos have their work cut out for them. With the majority of their non-conference games behind them, the Jumbos will look to succeed in a very competitive NESCAC conference, where three teams are currently ranked in the top 25.
Having only played two in-conference games, one of which they lost, the Jumbos currently sit tied for the No. 8 spot in the NESCAC. That being said, the Jumbos still have the chance to prove themselves as contenders for a top spot in the NESCAC. Out of Tufts’ nine remaining games, eight are NESCAC matchups.
Reed spoke about the competitiveness of the NESCAC.
“The NESCAC is definitely the best [Div. III] league out there, in my opinion,” Reed said. “Every competition is a battle, and it can go any way at any time. No. 1 Williams was just beaten by Trinity, and Trinity is usually at the bottom, so the NESCAC is very unpredictable. It’s a very competitive league.”
The Colby game marked the Jumbos’ fourth consecutive win on the season, as they look to continue this hot stretch and improve their strong start to the season in their game at MIT on Tuesday.
Reed closed by sharing what she is excited about moving into the rest of the season, stressing that the Jumbos are hungry to make a statement in the Div. III arena.
“We’re really excited for every battle that comes towards us, especially the more difficult in-rank teams,” Reed said. “We want to make a statement so that we get an NCAA bid. Overall, it’s a fantastic ride, and we’re excited for what’s to come in the future.”