GENEVA, N.Y. - Tufts Woman's Soccer defeated Penn State Behrend 2-0 at William Smith College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday behind two goals in the first 15 minutes from Liz Reed.
|Liz Reed scored her ninth and tenth goals of the season, tying the team lead.|
The Jumbos came to play in their second straight year making the NCAA Tournament. Along with whipping winds on the field, Tufts brought a flurry of shots in the early portion of the game as midfielders applied pressure right out of the gates. It would take just eight minutes for the sophomore Reed to light up the scoreboard after a clever give-and-go play with fellow sophomore Sophie Lloyd. Reed's ninth goal of season came on a powerful blast from about 30 yards out, after taking a touch pass from Lloyd and firing a scorcher into the bottom right of the net.
In the first half Tufts showed how to turn defense into offense by winning the midfield, and stopping clearing attempts from the Lions. This kept the ball in Jumbo control, where the offense was having their way on the edges. The speed and quickness of sophomore Hannah Isenhart and senior Alessandra Sadler created several crossing opportunities from both sides of the field.
An Isenhart cross would initiate Tufts' next score just 14 minutes into the game as she found Lloyd who launched a shot that was blocked by Lion goalkeeper Madi Jones. Reed found herself in the right place at the right time when the rebound trickled under her feet, and she buried her second goal of the game with a one-touch shot, placing the Jumbos up 2-0. The quality of Tufts' scoring opportunities stood out in the first half as all nine of their shots landed on net, whereas the Lions produced just one shot on net in four attempts.
Jenna Troccoli acted as a true leader in the center of the field for Tufts both offensively as well as defensively, showing why she was selected All-NESCAC first team. Troccoli played her usual feisty defense, getting into Lion midfielders and turning them over. However, she may have impacted the game most with her passing, as every through-ball she sent seemed to leak past the defense and hit a teammate in stride. This played a huge role in generating quality chances for the offense.
As the second half wore on the Jumbos showed maturity and maintained composure. Rather than continue their initial aggressive offensive game plan, Tufts switched to a damage control mindset where they held much of their focus on the defensive end. Instead of attacking the ball on the touch, Jumbo defenders gave a bit of extra space and kept Lion attackers in front of them, playing it safe and not allowing any big plays. This tactic paid off, allowing Penn State Behrend just two shot attempts in the entirety of the second half as the Jumbos were on their way to finishing off the 2-0 win.
Statistically, the Lions were led by Brenna McGuire with three shots, while goalkeeper Madi Jones made an impressive 10 saves. The Jumbos were led offensively by Reed's two goals and Lloyd's two assists, while goalkeeper Emily Bowers made one save on the six shots she faced. Corners were 6-0 in favor of the Jumbos.
The win is the first in NCAA play for Tufts since 2007. They will get set to play the host William Smith Herons in the second round tomorrow at 1 pm in Geneva, N.Y.
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Garrett Kerr