Just a week after their close win against Colby, Tufts women’s lacrosse took to Bello Field again, besting Amherst 14–9.
In addition to another NESCAC victory, the win against Amherst also boosts Tufts up to the No. 2 rank in the season so far. Among the leaders of the game was sophomore midfielder Ella Lesperance, who scored four of the seven goals in the second quarter. Lesperance began her streak when she tied the game 5–5 for the Jumbos with an assist from junior midfielder Emma Joyce. After first-year attacker Allie Zorn stole back the lead just before halftime, Lesperance quickly raised the score again, scoring twice within 30 seconds.
The Jumbos were on high alert throughout the game coming back from a 3–1 deficit in the start of the second quarter, gaining momentum with goals from sophomore attacker Margie Carden and junior midfielder Madeline Delaney before Lesperance’s run.
Similarly to last week’s game against Colby, Tufts and Amherst continued to closely battle throughout the third and fourth quarters, constantly trading goals. In addition to the game leaders Lesperance and Carden, sophomore midfielder Caroline Conaghan put two away later in the fourth quarter to bolster Tufts’ lead.
While the offensive side of the Jumbos clearly shone, the defense is really what grounded the team and secured the win against the Mammoths.
Senior goalie Courtney Kaufman had nine saves, six of which were in the shot-heavy second half. Additionally, the Tufts defense only allowed four goals in both the third and fourth quarters combined, solidly guarding the precious and growing lead.
Joyce praised her defensive teammates for their performance.
“I think our defense played extremely well on Saturday,” Joyce said. “I think we really locked them down … [and] in general our defense really stepped up. Courtney Kaufman, our goalie, has been playing excellent for us.”
Joyce also set the scene about how the Jumbos felt walking into the game.
“[The Mammoths] were definitely circled on our calendars,” Joyce said. “I mean, we obviously pay close attention to every game but this one in particular since we lost to them in overtime last year.”
She continued to outline some differences between this year’s Amherst game and the last one.
“I think our team this year is very good at switching gears if we’re down; we don’t freak out. I think last year, we were kind of stunned a little bit that we were in it that close with them and weren’t able to really pull ourselves out,” Joyce said. “I think that’s what changed this year. I think our team is just more calm. So far, earlier in the season, we’ve been in, already, two close tight games and we’ve been able to come out with a win, which is huge.”
Joyce attributed this shift in team cooperation and mood to their fall 2022 offseason preparation.
“I mean, this is our first fall at least since I’ve been here that we’ve had a normal NESCAC fall, so the entire fall we weren’t able to be with coaches,” Joyce said. “I think that really helped … allow us to get closer on and off the field without as much pressure.”
Although the Amherst game was a victory for Tufts, it also taught the team some valuable lessons and strategies to apply to games to come.
“I think it’s super exciting because we all know that we could have definitely played better and you know, at least me personally I know I could have finished on a few more goals or shots,” Joyce said. “We haven’t scratched the surface of our true potential, so I think that’s really exciting that we’re able to come out with these big wins, knowing that we are fully capable of more.”
While most Tufts students are resting, Jumbos women’s lacrosse will be putting in the work playing not one but two major adversaries over spring break.
“We’re going to Baltimore, which I’m super excited about … and we are playing [Washington and Lee] and Salisbury, so those are two huge opponents,” Joyce said.
Similar to Tufts’ matchup against Amherst, Joyce shared how Tufts has some feelings of revenge to let loose over break.
“We lost to Salisbury my freshman year in the national championship so obviously, that’s a game that we want to win. … I think at least the seniors and juniors who played in that game kind of want revenge,” Joyce said.
Overall, Joyce expressed her eagerness to get into their next competition.
“I think we have one of the hardest schedules in [Division III] right now so I think spring break is going to be huge, just [in terms of learning] and spending quality time together,” Joyce said.