#6 Field Hockey Knocks off #1 Middlebury on Seniors Day, 1-0

MEDFORD – A third-quarter tally by sophomore Gillian Roeca propelled #6 Tufts University Field Hockey to a 1-0 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) victory over #1 Middlebury College at Ounjian Field on Saturday. The Jumbos snapped a 20-game win streak for the Panthers.

Shannon Yogerst was one of five Jumbo seniors honored before the game.

The Jumbos, who honored their five seniors prior to the contest, improve to 13-2 on the season with an 8-1 record in NESCAC play. The Panthers suffer their first loss of the season and are now 13-1 with an 8-1 record in league contests.

Middlebury controlled the pace for the first couple of minutes until the Jumbos pushed the pace back on the Panthers. Tufts forced the Panthers back into their defensive end and earned a string of penalty corners. During the four penalty corners, the Jumbos got shots on goal by seniors Rachel Hamilton and Marguerite Salamone and Roeca. Hamilton had another shot late in the sequence, but it was deflected wide.

The Panthers controlled the early pace of play in the second quarter with help from a green card on Salamone. Once the penalty expired, the Jumbos again pressed Middlebury deep into their defensive end. However, a foul got them out of the press.

Another strong push by the Jumbos resulted in another corner for Tufts. Hamilton received the Salamone pass, but her shot went just wide left. The teams traded green card opportunities, but neither team gained a strong opportunity to find the back of the cage.

Tufts came out of the half on the attack as Salamone nearly broke the scoreless tie, but a jumping, blocker save by Grace Harlan kept the score at zeros. Just minutes later, the Jumbos earned two penalty corners, but both shots by Hamilton were blocked by the Middlebury defense.

On their fourth consecutive penalty corner, Salamone sent a pass to Hamilton. Instead of shooting, Hamilton sent a pass back to Salamone who turned and chipped a pass into the middle of the arc, which found a crashing Roeca who volleyed the pass home to give the Jumbos a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

A five-minute yellow card issued to the Jumbos gave Middlebury all the confidence and opportunity to attack the Jumbo cage. A near goal came for the Panthers with less than a minute to play in the third quarter. A foul was called after the play which negated the Panther tally and helped the Jumbos head to the final regulation period with the smallest of leads, 1-0.

Middlebury jumped on the attack early in the fourth quarter with a set of three penalty corners. They earned opportunities to get shots on goal, but strong Jumbo defense blocked away two shots to clear the pressure. The Panthers earned another penalty corner. The play found its way from the left corner to the top right of the arc for Erin Nicholas. She sent a ball into traffic that was deflected on goal by Julia Richards. However, Jumbo sophomore goalkeeper Andie Stallman made the save.

The Jumbos possessed play for the final six minutes and did not allow the Panthers an opportunity to tie the score.

Stallman made three saves on three shots on goal in the win. She improves to 12-2 on the season. Her counterpart, Harlan, made five saves on six shots on goal in the losing effort. She falls to 13-1.

The Jumbos return to action on Wednesday when they wrap-up their regular season against Bowdoin College at Ounjian Field. They are slated to start at 7 pm. The Panthers host Williams College in their regular-season finale at 6:30 pm Tuesday.