MEDFORD - Fourth-ranked Tufts Field Hockey will be hosting No. 20 Amherst College this Saturday at Ounjian Field as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship quarterfinals are set to start at 1:00 pm.
The Jumbos finished the regular season with a 14-1 record, while finishing as the two-seed in the tournament with a 9-1 conference record. They ended on a six-game winning streak, only allowing a total of one goal in those games. Seventh-seeded Amherst (10-5, 5-5) will be traveling to Medford to take on the Jumbos after their 2-0 loss to Trinity on Wednesday.
These two teams met earlier in the season, as the Jumbos' hosted Amherst in late September. In a nail-biting finish, Tufts knocked off the Mammoths 3-2 in overtime behind senior co-captain Gigi Tutoni's game-winning goal. Amherst was out-shot by a large margin during the game, but did hold a 2-1 lead in the second half that was quickly erased.
At home, Tufts held a perfect 8-0 record and only surrendered six goals during the regular-season. Stellar defensive play has been an important factor to assembling the near perfect 14-1 record. Since the Amherst game, the Jumbos went 7-1, with their only loss coming in overtime against No. 1 Middlebury on the road. Amherst finished on a high-note as well, going 6-2 to close out the regular-season.
Behind a tenacious backline led by senior Issy Del Priore, sophomore Melissa Manzello, freshman Sophie Schoeni and freshman Marin Waddington, the Jumbos are second in the league with fewest goals against with nine total. Tutoni, junior Rachel Hamilton and sophomore Beth Krikorian have been key factors on the offensive side of things. Freshman Andie Stallman has won her last six starts in net.
This marks the 16th straight season the Jumbos have made the NESCAC tournament and the fourth-straight year that Ounjian Field has hosted a quarterfinal. Head coach Tina Mattera, who started with Tufts in 2004, hasn't missed a tournament in all 15 years. In 2016 the Jumbos defeated Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship game 3-1. Tufts won its first conference title in 2009 and also played in the 2008 and 2010 championship games. They have a combined 18-14 record in the conference tournament.
Amherst has made the NESCAC Tournament every year since 2006 and lost their only Championship appearance against Williams in 2001. They have compiled a 10-16 record in the 16 years they have been in the conference tournament. The Mammoth's Franny Daniels is third in the league this fall with 13 goals, while Laura Schwartzman leads the conference with 13 assists.
The winner of this quarterfinal matchup will play next Saturday in the semifinals, as the highest remaining seed will host.
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Ryan Servant