In a close game this weekend against the Trinity Bantams, the Tufts field hockey team pulled away 1–0. The victory on Ounjian Field this Saturday propelled the Jumbos to 7–2 for the season and to a 4–1 record in the NESCAC, while the Bantams fell to 5–5 and 1–5 in NESCAC play after losses this weekend against Tufts and Bates. The Jumbos remain undefeated in their home games.
The Jumbos started the game with high pressure, and the ball remained in the Jumbos offensive fifty during the majority of the first quarter. Within the first few minutes of the quarter, the Jumbos had three attempted shots on goal, setting an aggressive tone for the game. Sophomore midfielder Claire Foley entered play at the six-minute mark looking to score early to gain a lead during the first quarter of play.
Within three minutes of entering the game, Foley netted the game’s only goal. The play was set up when senior midfielder Marguerite Salamone gained possession of the ball after a turnover and sent a hard pass to sophomore midfielder Gillan Roeca, who was open for the ball just outside the circle. Roeca swiftly dodged a defender putting pressure on her in the circle and proceeded to send the ball to Foley who quickly netted the ball, for what would be the game-winning goal. The goal scored against the Bantams marked Foley’s fourth goal of the season.
The early lead for the Jumbos heightened the energy of the game, compelling the Bantams to take an aggressive stance in the early second quarter of the game. Trinity’s attempts to work the ball through the center of the field remained futile, as Tufts’ defense consistently gained possession of the ball on turnover plays. Two attempts on goal were made by Tufts during the second quarter, yet both were ultimately unsuccessful for the Jumbos.
Going into the third quarter of play, an aerial ball was launched into the air by the Jumbos in order to keep the ball in the Bantams’ defensive circle early on. During the quarter, there was noticeable hacking and high balls, creating quick turnovers due to frequent fouls. Tufts worked the ball through the backfield in hopes to outlet the ball upward, but was constantly met with double teams in the Jumbos’ attacking half. This led to two penalty corners for the Jumbos in the third quarter, but the team was unable to capitalize on these opportunities to further their lead. Towards the end of the third quarter, the play shifted closer to the Tufts’ defensive half, as the Bantams gained some momentum after a failed corner attempt against the Jumbos.
The Jumbos controlled most of the fourth quarter, despite the increasing tension for the Bantams offense to score. Trinity was able to get one attempted shot on goal, which was saved by Tufts sophomore goalkeeper Andie Stallman. A fast break in the middle of the final quarter and pressure during the last three minutes of the game were blocked by the determined Tufts defensive line. Tufts emerged with the victory when the final whistle blew, with a final score of 1–0.
Stallman described how cooperation among players allowed for the victory against Trinity on Saturday, despite the team’s 1–0 loss to Wesleyan earlier in the week.
“I think the team really stepped it up after a hard loss on Tuesday [against Wesleyan],” Stallman said. “We went into Thursday and Friday practice with a lot of energy and intensity, which we brought into our warm-up and game [on Saturday]. Everyone was really excited and had a good time playing as a team.”
Overall, the Jumbos played with a remarkable focus on Saturday coming off the upset against the Cardinals. Coach Tina Mattera shared what she believed contributed to the team’s success against Trinity.
“I was really proud of the team, we talked about playing with grit and determination, and we did that,” Mattera said. “I think we really worked hard and won the fifty-fifty balls and took care of business. It wasn’t the prettiest game but we were able to get it done. I was pretty furious after the Wesleyan game, and I emailed the team and told them not to wear their pinnie to practice for two days, and that it was a tryout. We had a really fun, competitive practice on Thursday, good practice on Friday, and I started three different people on the team [Saturday] to mix things up.”
On Oct. 1, the Jumbos fell short against the Cardinals, although the Jumbos had many more overall total shots on goal and corner plays. Though there were many attempts on goal, the Jumbos were unable to capitalize. Wesleyan scored late in the third quarter, and Tufts was unable to recover after the goal deficit.
Looking forward to a road-trip doubleheader against Amherst and Hamilton this upcoming weekend, Mattera discussed how the team plans on approaching its games.
“We have a doubleheader weekend next week, so it will be really interesting,” Mattera said. “We have to prepare for Amherst and Hamilton, and I think we just need to keep getting better. The team is doing some good things, and we still need to work on our defense, our goal scoring. I think if we can start putting more balls in the cage, we will be in good shape.”
Stallman also remarked that she will use the experience against Trinity as preparation for Hamilton and Amherst.
“Hopefully we can take this game against Trinity, remember how it feels, and really push forward with this game in mind,” Stallman said. “I think it was a really good game to show us just how much we can really push ourselves and how much we can do when we work as hard as we can.”