|Junior Beth Krikorian is one of the Jumbos' top returning players on offense.|
MEDFORD – Thirteen players who saw action at the NCAA "Final Four" last fall are back to lead the 2019 Tufts University field hockey team into a new season.
Head coach Tina Mattera's Jumbos advanced to the national final for the fourth time in program history last year. Returnees Beth Krikorian and Rachel Hamilton scored goals in a 3-1 semi-final win over Johns Hopkins. Tufts lost 2-0 to New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCSAC) rival Middlebury College in the final, but the NCAA run provides this year's team with more than half a roster of big-game experience. The Jumbos also played in the conference final last season and finished the year at 19-3, matching the program record for victories in a season.
The team did take a few signficiant losses to graduation at each position. National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Americans Gigi Tutoni at forward and Issy DelPriore on defense, as well as NFHCA All-Region midfielder Fallon Shaughnessy departed. However, eight Jumbos who started 15 or more games a year ago and 11 of the 13 players who scored goals in '18 are back.
Hamilton, who tallied eight goals and four assists for 20 points last fall, is the top returning scorer. Krikorian finished third on the team with seven goals and four assists for 18 points. Senior midfielder Marguerite Salamone, who led Tufts with seven assists a year ago, has been a starter since freshman season. Seniors Brigid Gliwa, Julia Todesco and Shannon Yogerst add to the veteran presence on the roster, as do juniors Kassidy Rogers-Healion and Alexis Chauvette.
Junior Melissa Manzello returns to anchor the defense. In goal, Tufts' Andie Stallman was second in the nation and led NESCAC with a 0.37 goals against average last fall. She was also in the national top 25 with an .808 save percentage.
Tufts will be tested right way. The Jumbos, ranked second in the NFHCA pre-season national poll, play their season-opener at 11th-ranked Williams College on Saturday. Seven NESCAC teams overall are ranked in the NFHCA pre-season top 20.