|Emily Wright won four draw controls and caused three turnovers for Tufts
MEDFORD - In a game that wasn't over until a last-second Hamilton free-position shot hit the post, the #18 Tufts women's lacrosse team scored an important 9-8 win over the Continentals in a NESCAC game at Bello Field Saturday afternoon.
Tufts and Hamilton are battling for position in the upcoming conference tournament. After today's action, the Jumbos (6-4, 3-3) are tied for fifth in the conference and Hamilton (4-6, 1-6) is in ninth place.
The game was an exciting back-and-forth battle throughout. After Hamilton's Margaret Gabriel scored the first goal of the second half on a free-position shot to tie the score at 6-6, the Jumbos rallied for three in a row to take a 9-6 advantage with 17:50 on the clock. Sophomore Caroline Ross, senior co-captain Gabby Horner and sophomore Brigid Bowser scored the goals in a seven-minute span.
After more than 10 minutes of scoreless play, the Continentals cut the margin to 9-8 with tallies by senior co-captain Kathryn Maiorano at 7:12 and first-year Casey File at 3:18. That set up the dramatic conclusion.
After the eighth Continental goal and a Tufts time-out, Bowser won the ensuing draw control for the Jumbos. Tufts possessed the ball until little more than one minute remained, but then turned the ball over.
Hamilton, looking to set up a potential game-tying shot, was contained by the Jumbo defense and turned it over. However, Tufts could not clear the ball as Hamilton's Ashleigh Stephan intercepted a pass. With less than 10 seconds remaining, she charged towards the Tufts cage and earned a free-position shot when the Jumbos were given a yellow card while defending her. With the game in the balance, Stephan's shot hit the left post and bounced away as time expired.
The Jumbos had taken an early 3-0 lead in the first half, with Ross scoring one and assisting another during the opening run. Hamilton retaliated with three of the next four to pull within 4-3 on first-year Taylor Ryan's free-position goal at 6:35.
Junior Kali DiGate extended Tufts' lead to 6-3 with the second straight Jumbo goal at 4:56, but the visitors closed the half with two in a row including senior co-captain Katie D'Antonio's with 10 seconds left. That trimmed Tufts' lead to 6-5 at intermission.
Ross led the Jumbos with three goals and an assist, while Bowser also had four points with two goals and two assists. Junior Emily Wright caused three turnovers defensively, Bowser came away with seven draw controls and senior Kelley Cohen was one of three Jumbos to finish with three groundballs. Junior goalie Rachel Gallimore made two saves in the win.
Gabriel was the lone multiple-point scorer for Hamilton, as she recorded two goals and an assist. Senior Lauren Brady caused two turnovers defensively, while sophomore Ann Pooley scooped up a game-high five groundballs. Junior Kari Koga and first-year Hannah Rubin split halves in goal, with Rubin making four of the pair's five overall saves.
Tufts postd a 22-17 edge in shots, though Hamilton won the groundball battle 17-15. Tufts was dominant on draw controls, taking 13 of 19. Five of the Continentals' eight goals came on free-position chances, while Tufts only tallied two in that fashion.