NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 2 Tufts 2, No. 7 Amherst 0

No. 2 Tufts advances to the NESCAC Semifinals
No. 2 Tufts advances to the NESCAC Semifinals

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – Senior Hanaa Malik's game-winning goal lifted No. 2 Tufts to a 2-0 win over No. 7 Amherst in the NESCAC Quarterfinals Sunday afternoon at Ounjian Field.

With the win, the Jumbos improve to 15-1 overall and 1-0 in the postseason. Tufts will face No. 3 Williams in the NESCAC Semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m., at top-seeded Middlebury as the Panthers will be hosting the remainder of the tournament. Tufts last made the semifinals two seasons ago, using that momentum to make an NCAA Championship run all the way to the championship game. Amherst falls to 10-6 mark.

In an evenly played early first half, both teams maintained possession well and moved the ball 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.

The Jumbos' quick play and constant pressure resulted in back-to-back penalty corners. In the 11th minute, the Jumbos broke through. Junior Marguerite 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 Amherst goalkeeper Katie Savage, giving the Jumbos a 1-0 lead.

Off of another penalty corner near the end of the half, Tufts almost extended its lead. Krikorian put a shot at Savage that was deflected in front and saved.  

In the second half, junior Rachel Hamilton tested Savage in the 48th minute, ripping a direct shot on goal that was kicked away. A few minutes later, the Mammoths had a string of three consecutive penalty corners. Not willing to budge, the Jumbo defense cleared the area each time and didn't allow a shot on goalkeeper Andie Stallman during that stretch.

With a little over five minutes remaining, first-year Claire Foley gave the Jumbos a more comfortable lead. In front of the net, Foley collected a loose ball and dribbled for a moment, eventually lifting a shot past Savage to give the Jumbos the final 2-0 advantage. Tufts improved to 9-0 at home this season.

Stallman collected her seventh straight win and had one save, and the Jumbos have only allowed one goal total in the last seven games. Tufts outshot Amherst 17-3 and held a 7-5 advantage in penalty corners. Savage had four saves in the loss.