Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Senior Gigi Tutoni scored two goals to help propel Tufts past third-seeded Williams in a NESCAC Semifinal game, 3-0.
With the win, the second-seeded Jumbos advance to the NESCAC Championship game, tomorrow at 1 p.m., where they will take on top-seeded Middlebury. The Panthers have appeared in the championship game the past eight seasons, while the Jumbos last made it in 2016 when they defeated the Middlebury, 3-1.
In a game that was delayed roughly two hours due to weather, neither team seemed impacted by the wait. After an early penalty corner by the Ephs was turned away, the Jumbos had their own shot when junior Rachel Hamilton received an inserted pass from junior Marguerite Salamone towards the left side of the circle. Hamilton sent a pass to first-year Sophie Schoeni, who centered the ball to a waiting Tutoni in front of the cage. Quickly gathering the ball in traffic, Tutoni put a shot on goal that trickled past Eph goalkeeper Emma Santucci for an early 1-0 lead.
Last season's NESCAC defensive player of the year, Issy Del Priore kept the Jumbos backline in check, making it difficult for the Ephs' offense to create chances in front of first-year goalkeeper Andie Stallman. The tough defense was similar to the previous meeting between the two squads, as Williams was held to just six shots in a 2-0 Jumbo win On October 20.
Nearing the end of the first half, Molly Lohss had a key chance for Williams, but was denied by a stretching Stallman. Each team finished the half with four shots.
The second half saw Abby Lloyd replaced Santucci in net for the Ephs. With a majority of possession in the Jumbos defensive end, Williams had a number of opportunities. The Jumbos would not allow a single shot from Williams after the Ephs had a shot called off due to a foul in the circle.
In the 48th minute, the Jumbos extended their lead on another penalty corner. Schoeni centered a ball into the middle for a waiting Tutoni, who won the battle for the ball against an Eph defender. The ball took a knee high bounce and Tutoni sent it in the air past Lloyd for a 2-0 lead.
The Jumbos earned another penalty corner, capitalizing on the effort. Sophomore Beth Krikorian received a pass up top and put a shot towards the right side of the goal. First-year Gillian Roeca was planted in front, deflecting the shot past Lloyd for a 3-0 advantage.
The Jumbos compiled a total of 11 shots, while the Ephs had four. Eight penalty corners belonged to Tufts, while Williams had two. Stallman won her eighth straight game in net, collecting a total of two saves in the win.
The second-seeded Jumbos will meet top-seeded Middlebury tomorrow in the NESCAC Championship game, slated to begin at 1 p.m. on Kohn Field.