Coming off its first home loss this fall against Bowdoin in the final game of the regular season, the Tufts field hockey team defeated Colby 4–1 during the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC tournament. The Jumbos are the No. 3 seed in the tournament, and this year marks the 17th year in a row that they have qualified for the NESCAC tournament.
The Jumbos scored within the first four minutes of play, propelling them to a 1–0 lead early in the first quarter. Junior defender Melissa Manzello drove the ball to the circle where it deflected off a Colby players stick and was received by sophomore midfielder Gillian Roeca. Roeca dribbled through the Mules’ defense and nailed a hard shot into the left corner of the goal.
Tufts received a penalty corner toward the end of the first quarter but was unable to score on the play. Another corner was called a minute later when a foul occurred in the circle, and Tufts was given another opportunity to increase its score. Senior midfielder Marguerite Salamone passed the ball to junior midfielder Beth Krikorian, who then took a direct shot on goal. The ball was netted for another direct shot to the left corner of the goal.
As the game continued, Tufts lost some of its momentum and suffered from a lack of shots on goal during the second and third quarters. Early in the second quarter, Colby’s Kaitlyn Smith received a green card, but Tufts was unable to capitalize on this advantage. The Mules led the third quarter with more shots on goal, yet they failed to tie the score.
Looking to make a comeback, the Mules’ Delaney Keithly netted a goal six minutes into the fourth quarter.
However, that was all the Mules could muster as the Jumbos were eager to further their lead. Within the last five minutes of the game, Krikorian finished off the game with two more goals for a hat trick. Krikorian scored her second goal of the game near the stroke mark, when Krikorian tapped the ball past the goalkeeper and into the goal. For the final goal of the game, Krikorian took a free hit just outside the circle, dribbled the ball five yards before taking a reverse hit, ultimately netting the fourth goal of the game.
Despite a slow second and third quarter, the Jumbos amassed four goals in total. In their regular season face-off on Sept. 21, Tufts had barely grazed past Colby as sophomore midfielder Claire Foley netted a game-winning goal seconds before the game ended.
Coach Tina Mattera spoke about the team’s inconsistency in the NESCAC quarterfinal win against Colby.
“I thought we played well in the first and fourth quarter, and I thought we had stuff to work on in the second and third,” Mattera said. “I’d like to see us be a little bit more consistent.”
This win sets Tufts back on track for a top NESCAC performance after an overtime loss to Bowdoin last Wednesday that capped off the regular season.
Prior to the Bowdoin game, Foley spoke about the team’s excitement heading into its match with the Polar Bears.
“Our next game is Bowdoin. Biggest game of the season, so we are really excited about that,” Foley said. “We are just working to continue off of where we left off and really just play well again.”
The Jumbos and the Polar Bears went into overtime tied 1–1. Krikorian scored an early goal for the Jumbos in the first two minutes and another mid-game goal by Polar Bear Peyton Jackson were the only goals scored during the four quarters of regulation.
During overtime, a shot by sophomore midfielder/defender Sophie Schoeni that found the cage was ultimately waived off. The Polar Bears earned a penalty corner a minute before the end of overtime period, giving them the opportunity to take the lead. The initial corner shot was saved, but the rebound was scored by Georgie Coetzer, leading to the Polar Bears’ win.
When asked about the team’s performance during the Bowdoin game, Mattera shared her frustration.
“I think we outplayed them and out-shot them, and it was really tough to have a referee call the game,” Mattera said. “In my head, we got a goal and we could have won, and that is pretty frustrating.”
The Jumbos now move on to the NESCAC semifinal, matching up against No. 4 seed Williams this weekend.
“Williams plays a very fast-paced game and pressures the ball very hard,” Mattera said. “We are going to work on moving the ball quickly and two-touch hockey to get in and around them. They also tend to throw a lot of aerials like all the other NESCAC teams. We need to work on how to defend those. They also have the leading scorer in the conference [Emma Ticknor], so we will be watching a lot of film on her and figure out how to slow her down and shut her out.”
Reigning national champion Middlebury will host the semifinals and final this weekend. Tufts will play Williams on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., following the other semifinal matchup between No. 1 Middlebury and No. 7 Hamilton at 11:30 a.m.
The winners of the two semifinals will play in the NESCAC championship at 12 p.m. on Sunday.