The No. 1 Tufts men’s soccer team defeated Trinity Saturday at Bello Field. With the 2–0 win, the Jumbos advanced to 8–0–1 on the season and 4–0–1 in conference play. The Bantams fell to 1–8 on the season and 0–5 in NESCAC play.
Tufts started the game strong offensively with two corner kick opportunities in the first 15 minutes, the second of which led to a shot that was saved by sophomore goalie Everett Lyons.
In the 23rd minute, the Jumbos bombarded the Trinity defense with three consecutive shots, but failed to capitalize. An initial shot by senior midfielder Brett Rojas was blocked by the defense and rebounded to the foot of senior midfielder Zach Lane. Lane then fired a shot that was saved by Trinity junior midfielder Dagoberto Nunez Jr. who was protecting the now-empty net. A second rebound came to senior midfielder/forward and co-captain Gavin Tasker who took a shot that was saved by Lyons.
The Jumbos were finally able to convert in the 24th minute when they finally found the back of the net thanks to a goal by Rojas, who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.
The goal was Rojas’ second of the year and seventh point of the season. Rojas’ goal was set up by junior midfielder/forward Alex Ratzan, who stole the ball from Trinity and nabbed his second assist of the season.
After a number of close opportunities, the Jumbos struck again in the 87th minute thanks to a goal from junior forward Max Jacobs. Jacob’s third goal and 10th point on the season was assisted by sophomore midfielder Zach Seigelstein. After a throw-in went to Jacobs, he passed the ball to Seigelstein, who then returned the ball to Jacobs as he was breaking toward the net.
Tufts dominated the stat sheet, outshooting Trinity 21–4 and leading the Bantams 7–1 on corner kicks. The victory marked the first career win for sophomore goalie Erich Kindermann in his first career start.
On Wednesday, the Jumbos played to a 1–1 draw after two overtime periods at Wesleyan. The game advanced Wesleyan to 4–1–3 overall and 1–1–3 in the NESCAC.
The Jumbos offense once again started off strong with two corner kicks in the first three minutes of the game. These were just two of the Jumbos’ eight corner kicks in the match. However, they were unable to convert thanks to a clearance by the Cardinal defense and a header by senior forward Joe Braun that went high over the crossbar.
Tufts and Wesleyan played back and forth until the 40th minute when a header from Jacobs was tipped off the crossbar and rebounded to the middle of the box where junior defender/midfielder Derek Enge was in position for a rebound. Enge headed the ball down and through the goalkeeper’s legs to put Tufts on the board. This was Enge’s first goal on the season.
In the 62nd minute, a Wesleyan counterattack put pressure on the Tufts defense and resulted in a corner kick. Sophomore defender Nicholas Wallick pinged a shot into the bottom of the goal to tie the match at 1–1. Enge spoke on the impact of this goal and this team’s response.
“I think the [Wesleyan] goal was a little bit of a wake-up call for us,” Enge said. “Energy was a little bit low in the game, and the goal made everyone lock in. We had some really good performances from players in the back. [Sophomore] Aidan Welsh stepped in and played really well with the rest of the backs. They held things down while we were committing numbers forward. Finding our groove and taking care of the ball with possession really helped us.”
Following the Wesleyan strike in the 62nd minute, the score remained even at 1–1 for the remainder of the contest. Tufts had a number of prime scoring opportunities, including a shot by Lane in the 63rd minute that struck the crossbar, and a shot by Tasker that went high. In double overtime, a Wesleyan attack in the 109th minute almost won the Cardinals the game, with a corner kick and three consecutive shots that were all blocked.
Tufts outshot Wesleyan 23–12 in the contest. Enge talked about Tufts’s high shot totals.
“This year, we have had a little bit of a shift where we are more attacking focused as a team,” Enge said. “We have started taking risks and sending the fullbacks forward to get some of those shots. Obviously, we love to have high shot totals, but at the end of the day, the goals are what matter. I think we need to start being a little more clinical in front of goal and get a few more of the shots on target and more of the shots on target converted to goals.”
Looking forward, Tufts will face Babson on the road this afternoon. Enge spoke on what he wants to see from the Jumbos on Tuesday.
“We need to get back to what we were doing really well earlier in the season,” Enge said. “We need to try to go out, put teams under pressure early, and make sure that we sustain that pressure. Keep them pinned in their half as much as possible and limit their opportunities on the counter-attack.”
Prior to the start of the season, coach Josh Shapiro spoke about how the team looks ahead by taking their contests one game at a time, a philosophy that the Jumbos will undoubtedly implement following their game against the Beavers.
“You’re only as good as you perform in your next match,” Shapiro said. “Based on that match and how you perform, you have to reevaluate what to do next.”