MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Senior co-captain Gigi Tutoni scored two goals to help propel the Jumbo field hockey team past third-seeded Williams College in the NESCAC semifinals 3-0 Saturday afternoon at Middlebury's Kohn Field.
|Tutoni scored two goals in the 3-0 semifinal win against Williams|
With the win, the second-seeded Jumbos (16-1) advance to the NESCAC Championship game tomorrow against Middlebury at 1 pm, again being played at Kohn Field. Middlebury has made the Championship game their last eight seasons, while the Jumbos last made it in the 2016 season when they defeated the Panthers 3-1. With the loss, the Ephs (12-5) have been eliminated in their last three semifinal appearances.
In a game that was delayed roughly two hours by weather, both teams didn't seem to be impacted heavily by the wait. Early on, the Ephs had a penalty corner that was defended nicely by the Jumbos. Shortly after, the Jumbos got a penalty corner of their own. In an offense that thrives off of penalty corners, Tufts made sure to utilize yet another in the fifth minute. Junior Rachel Hamilton received an inserted pass from junior Marguerite Salamone towards the left side of the circle. Hamilton sent a pass to her right to freshman Sophie Schoeni, who centered the ball to a waiting Tutoni in front of the cage. Quickly gathering the ball in traffic, Tutoni put a shot on goal that trickled past Eph goalkeeper Emma Santucci for a 1-0 early lead.
Last season's NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year Issy Del Priore kept the Jumbos back line in check, making it difficult for the Ephs' offense to create chances in front of freshman goalkeeper Andie Stallman. This was the same script last time these two teams met, as Williams was held to just six shots total in a 2-0 Jumbo win late in October.
Tutoni continued to make her presence known throughout the entirety of the half, as the Ephs' defense was tested in their own end. Nearing the end of the frame, Molly Lohss for Williams had a key chance in front of Stallman, but was denied by the stretch of the goalkeeper. Each team finished the half with four shots, as opportunities were hard to come by.
Heading into the second half, the Ephs looked to even the score. Abby Lloyd replaced Santucci in net. With a majority of possession in the Jumbos' defensive end, Williams had a number of opportunities. At times sending the ball into the crease, it seemed that the Ephs were close to knotting the score. However, the Jumbos were composed and didn't allow a single shot from Williams. The one shot that did go in for Williams was called off due to a foul in the circle.
In the 48th minute, the Jumbos extended their lead on another penalty corner. The Jumbos had a very similar play call, where Schoeni centered a ball into the middle for a waiting Tutoni. Doing what she does best, Tutoni won the battle for the ball against an Eph defender. The ball took a knee-high bounce and Tutoni sent it upper left corner in the air past Lloyd for a 2-0 lead.
Approximately ten minutes later the Jumbos struck again, once more off of a penalty corner. This time, sophomore Beth Krikorian received a pass up top and put a shot towards the right side of the goal. Freshman Gillian Roeca was planted in front, deflecting the shot past Lloyd for a 3-0 advantage. This would be the final score, as the Jumbos have now earned their fifth NESCAC Championship finals berth.
The Jumbos compiled a total of 11 shots, while the Ephs had only four. Eight penalty corners belonged to Tufts, while Williams only had two. Stallman won her eighth straight game in net, collecting a total of two saves in the win.
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Ryan Servant