|Senior Jamie Love-Nichols assisted the second Jumbo goal
CAMBRIDGE – In the first meeting between both programs, the Tufts University women's soccer team defeated host MIT, 2-0, in a non-conference tilt on Tuesday afternoon. The Jumbos, ranked No. 5 in the current NSCAA New England poll, improved to 6-2-2 on the year while the No. 7 Engineers saw their ledger lower to 7-3-2.
MIT nearly opened the scoring in the first minute on a breakaway by first-year Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, CT), but she was called off-sides. Both sides battled for possession throughout the majority of the half until Tufts broke through in the 28th minute. On a turnover by the Engineers, Jamie Love-Nichols (Cortez, CO) sent a through-ball to Maeve Stewart (Palo Alto, CA) on the near side where she lofted a shot from 20 yards away that went into the far top corner of the goal.
The Cardinal and Gray had two quality chances to tally the equalizer late in the half, but couldn't capitalize on the opportunities. Awarded a free kick just beyond the top of the box, sophomore Samantha Fleischmann's (Eastchester, NY) strike went over the crossbar. Later on following its second corner kick in a row, sophomore Michaelann Rodriguez (Florence, AL) managed to head the ball in the midst of a scramble, but MIT was offsides.
The Jumbos increased their advantage to 2-0 in the 56th minute courtesy of Alyssa Von Puttkammer's (Park City, UT) free kick at the top of the box. Von Puttkammer sent the ball over the wall and forced first-year goalie Emilee Johnson (O'Fallon, MO) to back-pedal while looking into the sun. She punched the ball upwards, but it ricocheted off the crossbar and into the net. Tufts almost struck again seven minutes later when Stewart lobbed a dangerous ball into the box from 30 yards out. However, Johnson grabbed it before the visitors could make a play on it.
The Engineers continued to attack down the stretch, testing goalie Phoebe Hanley (Mamaroneck, NY) who started the second half. Junior Leslie Meyer (Brownsburg, IN) had a 20-yard shot glance off the crossbar while sophomore Kaitlyn Nealon's (Yorktown Heights, NY) 40-yard free kick was easily corralled by Hanley.
In her intercollegiate debut, Johnson finished the game with four saves for MIT. Kristin Wright (Austin, TX) did not face any shots on goal in the first half while Hanley made three stops.
Both squads return to conference play on Saturday. Tufts will host nationally-ranked No. 14 Williams College in a NESCAC match-up. MIT will travel to NEWMAC foe Mount Holyoke College.