Foley's 4th Quarter Goal Sends Field Hockey to NESCAC Championship Game

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Sophomore Claire Foley's fourth-quarter goal propelled the No. 4 and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) third-seed Tufts University field hockey team to a 1-0 victory over the No. 8 and NESCAC fourth-seed Williams College in s NESCAC Semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Middlebury College.

Sophomore Claire Foley's game-winning goal was her third of the year.

The Jumbos advance to the NESCAC Championship for a rematch of last season's conference final against No. 2 and NESCAC top-seed Middlebury on Sunday at noon. The host Panthers won 3-0 against Hamilton in the other conference semifinal today.

The Jumbos improve to 14-3 on the season while the Ephs will fall to 13-4.

Early on in the game, Foley earned the Jumbos a penalty corner. Senior Marguerite Salamone inserted the pass to classmate Rachel Hamilton who fired a shot on goal that went just wide. Another penalty corner from Salamone to Hamilton resulted in a shot that was blocked out of play. Krikorian found free space on the restart and fired a shot on Ephs goalkeeper Abby Lloyd. She turned the shot away and kept the contest tied early. The Jumbos controlled much of the play in the first quarter as neither team found the back of the cage.

The Jumbos earned a penalty corner early in the second quarter. Salamone set up on the right corner and sent it to the middle of the arc for Krikorian. She passed back to her right for Hamilton who fired a shot that went just wide. At the ther end, Claire Fitzpatrick of Williams fired a shot that was blocked and then the rebound went just wide following the Ephs' first penalty corner of the contest.

Elizabeth Welch drove down the left sideline for Williams and cut in once she got to the end line. Sophomore goalkeeper Andie Stallman made a sliding challenge to force a shot from Welch.

Another Jumbos' penalty corner by Salamone went to Krikorian. She fired a shot on goal, but it was blocked away. However, the rebound could not be corralled. The Ephs attempted to clear, but were unable and that resulted in another corner for the Jumbos. Hamilton received the pass from the corner and slapped a shot on goal that forced Lloyd to make save. Williams cleared, however a turnover got the Jumbos back on the attack.

Tufts earned another penalty corner. This one resulted in their best opportunity to that point in the contest as Salamone sent a pass to Krikorian. Krikorian found Hamilton on her right. She passed back across the arc to sophomore Sophie Schoeni who fired a shot that Lloyd saved. Her rebound try was also saved by the Eph goalkeeper.

Williams was on the attack early in the fourth quarter. They were unable to gain any opportunities from it. Tufts sophomore Marin Waddington used strong possession skills down the right sideline to gain a penalty corner. Sophomore Gillian Roeca fired a shot on goal after strong passing by the Jumbos. The loose ball resulted in the eighth corner for the Jumbos. Salamone sent a pass to Roeca. Roeca stopped the pass for Krikorian. She held her possession and fired a shot from the top of the arc that Foley tipped to beat Lloyd and gave the Jumbos a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.

On the restart, Williams pushed the action and earned a penalty corner. Kate Gregory fired a shot that was blocked away by the Jumbos.

Following a green card on Fitzpatrick, the Ephs forced a turnover on the attempted clear by the Jumbos. Emma Ticknor earned a shot that was saved by Stallman before Tufts cleared away the threat. The Jumbos tried to close out the contest by controlling possession. However, a turnover was forced by the Ephs and they eventually earned a penalty corner. They did not convert on the opportunity as a pass went out of play. Tufts closed out the remaining two minutes of play with lock-down defense.

Stallman improves to 14-3 on the season after making two saves in the shutout victory. Lloyd falls to 13-4 after making six saves on seven shots on goal.

The Ephs will await the NCAA tournament draw to see if their season will continue on.