Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
GENEVA, N.Y. - Tufts fell 1-0 Saturday at William Smith College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a hard-fought 108-minute game from both sides.
William Smith was able to control the ball out of the gate and place a shot on net in its first possession. The Herons produced one of their best opportunities just two minutes into the game with a through ball, leaving Jumbo goalkeeper Emily Bowers as the last line to stop a fast break. Bowers quickly committed to stopping the charge, coming off her line and blocking the shot. She then chased down the rebound nearly 20 yards out of net, diving and stealing it from a forward to end the threat.
The Jumbo defenders settled in and recovered. Tufts' backline did not allow another quality opportunity for the rest of the half, and it adjusted to the Herons' offense, cutting off angles and anticipating passes. As the defense played better, extra possessions allowed Tufts' offense to settle in. The Jumbos worked several times to gain possession deep in the box, resulting in two first-half corners, before the teams entered the break tied 0-0.
It seemed Tufts had taken control of momentum when the second half opened up, with the Jumbos taking a 6-1 shot advantage in the first 10 minutes. However, Tufts couldn't get a shot past Herons senior goalkeeper Veronicia Romines, who made several impressive saves. Romines and Bowers stole the show in a back and forth game where the teams were trading offensive punches. Every great offensive move was met with a brilliant save. Bowers finished regulation with seven saves, while Romines saved nine shots as the teams entered overtime in a stalemate.
Overtime play resembled much of what was seen in the second half, with lots of up-and-down play resulting in a plethora of opportunities for both offenses. Despite the fast-paced offensive game neither team was able to find the game-winning goal in the first overtime. With the second overtime winding down, William Smith's Sheila McQuillen scored the difference-maker on a chip shot from about 20 yards out in the 108th minute, propelling the Herons into the "Sweet 16."
Tufts finished the season with an 11-6-2 record, William Smith improved to 16-3-0 and will play the winner of the Amherst/MIT match next weekend in the round of 16.