MEDFORD - Senior Rachel Aronow scored four times to lead eight goal-scorers overall as a vastly-improved Wesleyan University women's lacrosse team defeated Tufts University, 15-8, in a NESCAC game played at Bello Field Saturday afternoon.
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The 20th-ranked Cardinals improved to 10-4 overall and 6-3 in NESCAC under second-year head coach Kim Williams. Wesleyan, fifth in the conference with one game remaining, won just six NESCAC games total from 2010-16.
Tufts, ranked 18th nationally, dropped to 9-5 overall and 4-5 in the league as their four-game winning streak ended. The Jumbos, led today by four goals from junior Caroline Nowak, sit seventh in NESCAC entering the final week of the regular season.
Meredith Smith on a free-position shot and Antonia Kaz scored the first two goals of the game for Wesleyan. Nowak tallied twice in less than a minute and Cecicly Freliech added another as Tufts took a 3-2 advantage at 17:56 of the first half.
The Cardinals would take control of the game by scoring the next eight goals to lead 10-3 early in the second half. After Tufts' go-ahead goal, Wesleyan won seven of the next nine draw controls including three by Abigail Horst and two from Caroline Sgaglione. Aronow led the Wesleyan run with three goals while Smith added two assists. The Cardinal lead was 9-3 at the half.
After Wesleyan's eight-straight, Tufts would get two of the next three on free-position shots by sophomore Megan Toner and Nowak to pull within 11-5 at 17:53 of the second half. However, Wesleyan answered by scoring three times after shooting-space fouls during a four-goal run that gave them a 15-5 advantage and running time with under five mninutes remaining in regulation. The Cardinals finished the game seven for eight on free-position opportunities.
Nowak stopped the clock with another free-position goal at 2:55, but Wesleyan was able to cruise to the win with the Jumbos addding two more goals in the final 90 seconds of play.
Two Tufts goals were disallowed during the game, both on free-position shots. One was due to a false start at 10:59 of the first half, and the other because of an illegal stick with six minutes remaining in regulation. Senior Grace McCann was excellent in goal for Wesleyan with 10 saves, including a pair on free-position shots early in the second half which allowed the visitors to keep their distance.
Senior Liana Mathias added two goals with two assists and two groundballs for Wesleyan, which has now won four of its last five games. Horst scored twice while winning five draw controls. Sgaglione caused a pair of turnovers.
Freliech finished with three draw controls and three groundballs while also scoring a goal for Tufts. Sophomore Dakota Adamec had a goal and an assist to go with four draw controls and two groundballs. Sophomore Audrey Evers started in goal and made four saves in 44-plus minutes of action.
The team stats were close across the board as Tufts had a slim 26-23 advantage in shots and groundballs were tied 10-10. Wesleyan finished with a 13-12 advantage in draw controls while the teams combined for 13 free-position goals (Tufts 6 for 15).
Wesleyan hosts Connecticut College and Tufts welcomes Bowdoin in the regular-season finale for both teams on Wednesday.