MEDFORD – The No. 4 nationally-ranked and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) third-seed Tufts University field hockey team travels to Middlebury, Vermont for a NESCAC Championship semifinal with No. 8 nationally-ranked and NESCAC fourth-seed Williams College on Saturday afternoon. Game time is 1:30 pm.
The other conference semifinal match-up is between the No. 2 nationall-ranked and NESCAC top-seed Middlebury College and the seventh-seed Hamilton College.
With their quarterfinal win last Saturday, the Jumbos improved to 13-3 on the season. They downed the sixth-seed Colby College by a 4-1 score. Sophomore Gillian Roeca got Tufts on the board in the fourth minute. Junior Beth Krikorian doubled the lead in the 13th minute. Colby cut the lead to one with a fourth-quarter goal, but two tallies by Krikorian three minutes apart later in the fourth capped off the hat trick and gave the Jumbos the win.
The Williams Ephs earned a 3-1 victory over the fifth-seed Bates College in their quarterfinal match-up. Williams is 13-3 on the season following the win. Bates grabbed an early lead, but three second-half goals by Emily Batchelor, Catherine Torres, and Simone Veale propelled Williams into the semifinal round.
The regular-season meeting between Tufts and Williams was both teams' season-opener. The Jumbos grinded out a 2-1 victory as all three goals in the game came in the fourth quarter and were within three minutes of each other. Addie Sidles got the Ephs on the board first, but Jumbo senior Marguerite Salamone found the back of the goal just 27 seconds later. Then Krikorian scored just a minute and a half after that for the eventual game-winner.
Tufts is into the conference semifinals for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. This is the Jumbos' 18th appearance in the NESCAC Tournament overall. They have claimed two conference titles and finished runners-up three times. The Jumbos dropped a 1-0 decision to Middlebury in last season's championship game. The last Jumbo conference championship came in 2016 when the Jumbos downed Middlebury. Tufts is 21-15 all-time in tournament games.
The Ephs are in their 19th year in the NESCAC tournament. They have claimed three NESCAC championships and have finished second in the conference on three other occasions. The last Williams conference championship came in 2004 when they downed Middlebury.
Tufts in tied for fifth in the conference in goals per game with a 2.3 average. Williams is second, averaging 3.1 goals per game. Williams and Tufts are ranked third and fourth, respecitvely, allowing 0.80 and 0.99 goals against averages this fall.
The winners of Saturday's semifinal games will compete for the NESCAC Championship on Sunday at noon in Middlebury.