MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The second-seeded Jumbo field hockey team will be on the road this weekend as the remainder of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament will be held on the campus of top-seeded Middlebury College. On Saturday, Tufts will face third-seeded Williams at Kohn Field, with a start time of 1:30 pm.
With a 2-0 win in the quarterfinals last Sunday against Amherst, the Jumbos (15-1, 9-1) have yet to lose at home this season. Currently sitting at No. 4 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III rankings, the Jumbos haven't lost a game in their last seven outings.
Third-seeded Williams (12-4, 7-3) comes into the contest with tough back-to-back wins against both Middlebury and Bowdoin. Winning six out of their last seven games, the Ephs have been efficient on offense, scoring 23 goals total during that stretch.
These two teams previously met a short time ago, as the Jumbos beat the Ephs 2-0 at Ounjian Field on Senior Day October 20. After an evenly played first half where both teams had quality chances, the game ended up being decided in the second frame. Backed by a game-winning goal off the stick of freshman Claire Foley, along with senior co-captain Gigi Tutoni's goal shortly after, the Jumbos walked away with a 2-0 win.
Tufts is clicking on both sides of play, as their offense and defense have come into sync late in the season. Averaging nearly 23 shots a game, and with a goals against average of 0.56, the Jumbos have applied heavy pressure offensively while allowing a minimal amount in their defensive end. In net, freshman Andie Stallman has won all seven of her starts this season. Tutoni leads the Jumbos in scoring with 10 goals, while Rachel Hamilton is having a great junior season with seven goals and four assists for 18 points.
Since the conference tournament began in 2000, the Jumbos have made 12 conference semi-final appearances. They beat Williams in the semifinals in 2016, helping push Tufts to their fourth NESCSAC final. Currently, the Jumbos hold a 19-14 NESCAC tournament record overall and have won two conference championships (2016, 2009).
Williams made the semifinals last season, falling to Trinity 3-2 in overtime. This marks the seventh straight year that the Ephs have made the conference tournament. They are third in the conference in tournament wins, with a total of 20, also including three NESCAC Championships (2004, 2002, 2001).
The winner of this semifinal matchup will play on Sunday in the NESCAC Championship against either Middlebury or fifth-seed Trinity.