MEDFORD – Senior Hanaa Malik's game-winning goal lifted the No. 4 Jumbo field hockey team to a 2-0 win over Amherst College in the NESCAC quarterfinals Sunday afternoon at Ounjian Field.
|Malik scored the game-winning goal against Amherst|
With the win, the second-seeded Jumbos improve to 15-1 overall and 1-0 in the postseason. Tufts will face Williams College in the NESCAC semifinals this Saturday at 1:30 pm, as the highest remaining seed Middlebury will be hosting the remainder of the tournament. The Jumbos last made the semifinals two seasons ago, using that momentum to make an NCAA Finals run. Seven-seed Amherst's season ended with a 10-6 mark.
In an evenly-played early first half, both teams maintained possession well and the ball was moving from end to end. However, shots were hard to come by, due to each side's aggressive play on the defensive end. Unlike the first time these teams met, the Jumbos weren't able to create as many chances in the early stages.
As the game started to open up, Tufts adjusted well and noticed gaps in the Mammoths' defense. With their quick play and constant pressure, the Jumbos received back-to-back penalty corners. Being a crucial part of the offense this season, junior Marguerite Salamone has set up countless penalty corner goals. In the 11th minute, the Jumbos broke through. Salamone inserted a pass to sophomore Beth Krikorian towards the right half of the circle. She laid a pass to her left to Malik, who one-timed a shot past goalkeeper Katie Savage, giving the Jumbos a 1-0 lead.
Off of another penalty corner nearing the end of the half, Tufts almost extended their lead. Krikorian, who can release quick shots, put one on Savage that was deflected in front and was saved.
The second half, much like the first half, saw shifts in momentum early on. Junior Rachel Hamilton tested Savage in the 48th minute, ripping a direct shot on goal that was kicked away. Only a few minutes later, the Mammoths had a string of three penalty corners all in a row. Not willing to budge, the Jumbo defense cleared the area each time and didn't allow a single shot on freshman goalkeeper Andie Stallman during that stretch.
Nearing the end of regulation, with a little over five minutes remaining, freshman Claire Foley gave the Jumbos a more comfortable lead. In front of net, Foley collected a loose ball and dribbled for a brief moment, eventually lifting a shot past Savage for a 2-0 advantage. This would be the final score, as Tufts has yet to lose a game at home (9-0).
Stallman collected her seventh straight win and had one save, while the Jumbos have only allowed one goal total in those games. Tufts outshot Amherst 17 to three and had seven penalty corners compared to the Mammoths' five. Savage had four saves in the loss.
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Ryan Servant