Medfield, Mass. – In the 70th minute, Sophie Lloyd (Los Altos, Calif.) buried a shot off the outside of her right foot into the corner of the net to lift the Tufts University Jumbos to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Trinity College Bantams in the Quarterfinals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women's Soccer Championship Tournament at Kraft Field on Tufts' campus on Saturday. Tufts improves to 8-4-3 overall and advances to next weekend's semifinal round while the Bantams fall to 7-6-2 on the year.
Both teams had their chances in the first half, but neither found the back of the net as the game entered halftime a 0-0 deadlock. Tufts nearly jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the fifth minute when Alessandra Sadler (Atkinson, N.H.) controlled a loose ball turnover in Trinity's zone. Sadler raced down the far sideline with space ahead of her, but Trinity sophomore defender Kelly Lucas (Ludlow, Mass.) made a great hustle play to get in front of Sadler's shot and re-direct it out of bounds, wide-right of Trinity senior tri-captain and goalie Julia Pitino (Littleton, Mass.). The Bantams had their first true chance when junior Shannon Kennedy (Hartford, Conn.) fired a corner that Jumbo goalie Emily Bowers (Needham, Mass.) punched out of harm's way. The ball rolled right back towards the corner to Kennedy who took a dribble, planted, and fired a shot off her left foot that looked like it had a chance at net, but the shot sailed wide left of the goal to no avail.
With 30 minutes left to play in the half, Bantam first-year Amelia Kroschwitz (Byfield, Mass.) had a shot towards net from just outside of Tufts' goalie box, but the ball was deflected out of bounds. Off the ensuing corner, Trinity senior captain defender Sarah Connors (Winnetka, Ill.) got her head on the service but couldn't do anything with it as her shot sailed high. In the 32nd minute rookie Cami Beath (Kennebunk, Maine) nearly broke ahead for the Bantams as she put the moves on a Jumbo defender at the top of Tufts' goalie box, but her shot had too much on it as it missed high. With eight minutes left to play, the hosts had a chance to break the scoreless tie when Mariah Harvey-Brown found herself with the ball just ten yards in front of Pitino, but as she shot, she lost her footing causing the ball to airmail the goal.
Tufts came out of the half strong, applying pressure on Trinity's back line from the jump, but senior Alexa Barbaresi (Newport Beach, Calif.), sophomore Rhone O'Hara (Woodstock, Conn.), Connors and Kelly came up big in numerous spots all day to keep Trinity in the game. The Jumbos mustered the day's first shots on goal within the first five minutes of the second half but Pitino was there both times to shut the door. Trinity had one of its best chances of the half in the 68th minute off a set piece by O'Hara. The sophomore sent the ball into the box that found Connors who put a head on it, but her shot went directly into the waiting arms of Bowers as the game remained even at 0-0.
The Jumbos found the game-winner just two minutes later in the 70th minute on a rare goalie assist by Bowers. Bowers scooped up a loose ball in the box and waited for the Jumbos to reset down the field. After a few seconds, she bombed the ball downfield which bounced over everyone straight to a streaking Lloyd. Lloyd gathered her momentum and fired a shot off the outside of her right foot that beat Pitino to the corner of the net to put Tufts up, 1-0, which would stand as the final score.
Trinity tried to make something happen in the game's final ten minutes but the Jumbo defensive line limited any true scoring opportunities. Bowers needed to make only one save in her fifth shutout of the fall while Pitino finished the day with four saves.