SALISBURY, Md. – Three different goal scorers helped lift the Jumbos past Smith College, as the No. 4 nationally ranked field hockey team opened up NCAA Tournament play with a 3-0 win Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium on the campus of Salisbury University.
|Chauvette scored the game-winner in the 3-0 win|
With the win, the Jumbos advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament. They will play tomorrow at the same site against host Salisbury starting at 1 pm. A berth into the final four will be at stake. Smith College was eliminated from the tournament with the loss, finishing the season with a 15-8 record.
Starting the first half, the Jumbos' possessed the ball well in the Pioneers' end, with swift and quick passing. This created early chances, but each opportunity was defended nicely by Smith. After a sequence of three penalty corners, sophomore Beth Krikorian almost opened up the scoring in the seventh minute. A shot was ripped past Smith goalkeeper Channy Cornell, but Beatrice Chaudoin was positioned well and cleared the ball out for a defensive save.
Shortly after, the pressure started to mount as Smith found themselves locked in their own zone. Krikorian, who created quality scoring chances by putting shots into the middle of the circle, centered a ball that was met by sophomore Alexis Chauvette and a Smith defender. Both collided and the ball was initially deflected in front. Corralling it after, Chauvette put a shot towards Cornell that was deflected off the stick of a Pioneer and slipped into the back of the cage for a 1-0 Jumbo lead.
Continuing to apply movement in the Pioneers' end, the Jumbos found themselves with yet another scoring chance just a little over a minute later. Junior Marguerite Salamone from the right side of the field drilled a shot that was saved by Cornell, producing a rebound right in front. Senior Hanaa Malik was perfectly positioned, gathered the rebound and put it past Cornell for a 2-0 advantage.
Heading towards the end of the frame, the Jumbos led in all categories. With 12 shots and 12 penalty corners against them, Smith bent but wouldn't break. Behind Cornell's seven saves, this game was still in reach for the Pioneers in a 2-0 deficit at halftime.
Entering the second half, Smith made it difficult for the Jumbos to produce offensively. Throughout the course of the game, Tufts' defense made it hard for Smith to create passing lanes, and as a team they controlled the overall tempo.
In the 46th minute, the Pioneers received a penalty corner and almost netted their first goal of the game. Sammie Pavlov was denied by a kick-save from Jumbo freshman goalkeeper Andie Stallman.
With equal possession early in the second half, both teams remained scoreless in the frame. However, in the 53rd minute, the Jumbos extended their lead. They capitalized on a Smith turnover in their own end, as Salamone ripped a shot from the top of the circle that slipped by Cornell for a 3-0 lead.
Nearing the end of regulation, the Jumbos replaced Stallman with freshman goalkeeper Emma Smith. Pavlov, who led the Pioneers with four shots, lifted a shot in the air that was stopped by a jumping Smith, which was her first save of the season.
The Jumbos had a total of 17 shots, while the Pioneers only had five. A penalty corner advantage of 16 to four also belonged to the Jumbos. Stallman finished the game with two saves, while Cornell had eight.
Tufts will be attempting to reach their fifth NCAA final four on Sunday.
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Ryan Servant