MEDFORD – The Tufts University women's lacrosse team advanced to the NESCAC Championship semi-finals for the first time since 2015 with a 12-5 victory over Trinity College in the quarterfinal round Saturday at Bello Field.
|Freshman goalie Molly Laliberty made 12 second-half saves.|
Second-seeded Tufts (15-1) got multiple goals from five different players, including a career-high three along with an assist by senior Courtney Grygiel. The Jumbos will travel to top-seed Middlebury College for next Saturday's semifinal. They will play three-seed Wesleyan, a 14-12 winner against Colby in today's quarterfinals.
Seventh-seed Trinity, led by two goals from sophomore Marcella Flibotte this afternoon, dropped to 9-7. The Bantams likely saw their season end unless they earn an at-large NCAA berth.
The Jumbos ended a run of post-season losses to Trinity that had dated back to 2011. The teams had met five times in recent NESCAC Tournament action with the Bantams winning all five including quarterfinal victories in each of the last two years.
Today Tufts shut down the Bantams, with the five goals allowed tying the Jumbos' lowest in a conference game this spring. It's the fewest goals scored by Trinity in a game since their 8-4 loss to Gettysburg in the 2017 NCAA Semifinals. No NESCAC team has limited the Bantams to five goals since Middlebury did it in the 2016 NCAA Championship Game (a 9-5 Panthers win).
Trinity had a 16-10 advantage in shots for the second half today, but Jumbo freshman goalie Molly Laliberty made 12 saves. Jumbo goalies finished the game with 15 saves compared to four for Trinity. Tufts senior defender Hedy Veith posted two caused turnovers and four ground balls.
The visiting Bantams got off to a great start as Flibotte scored the first two goals and one by freshman Christine Taylor gave Trinity and early 4-1 lead.
However, Grygiel's first goal began a dramatic shift in momentum towards the Jumbos. They would score the next nine goals to lead 10-4 with 12:39 remaining in the second half. Another Grygiel goal tied the score at 4-4 with 12:40 on the clock, and then her free-position goal gave Tufts a 6-4 advantage heading into halftime. Like Grygiel, senior Annie Sullivan scored all of her points in the game (two goals with an assist) during the run. Junior Maddie Norman scored twice.
The Bantams would end up scoring just one goal in the final 43 minutes of play. That came from sophomore Katrina Angelucci with 10:21 remaining in regulation, making the score 10-5 Jumbos.
The Jumbos earned a ground ball edge of 19-14 including three by Grygiel in her fantastic all-around effort. Junior Lily Baldwin won three draw controls and caused two turnovers for Tufts, while Norman also won three DC's.
Defensively for Trinity, freshman Anna Costello caused three turnovers and picked up three ground balls. Junior Sarah Montalbano earned three draw controls as the visitors had a slight 10-9 edge in that category. Freshman goalies Gabriella Young (one save) and Addie Newsome (three saves) split time.