Women's Lacrosse Earns NESCAC Finals Berth With Comeback Win Over Colby

MIDDLEBURY, VT – The Tufts University women's lacrosse team outscored Colby College 4-0 in the fourth quarter to take a 10-7 win in the semifinal round of the NESCAC Championship on Saturday at Middlebury College.

The Jumbos (14-3) will now play the host Panthers for the conference title on Sunday at 1 pm. Middlebury defeated Wesleyan 16-6 in Saturday's other semifinal at the site.

Tufts trailed today's game against Colby 7-5 when Jumbo freshman Ella Lesperance scored with just 10 seconds remaining in the third to cut the gap to 7-6. On the play, Tufts caused a turnover in their defensive end with 20 seconds remaining, then sprinted down the field for a quick transition goal with Anna Clarke assisting.

Jumbo goalie Molly Laliberty would make three of her 14 saves in the fourth quarter as Tufts surged past Colby. Caroline Walter scored on a free-position bounce shot that tied the game at 13:36. After a draw control by Clarke, Kathryn Delaney scored with free position just 23 seconds later to give Tufts the lead 8-7.

The score remained that way for five minutes until Walter scored again, wrapping around the goal and lifting the ball over the goalie's left shoulder with 8:36 to play. Caroline Conaghan then finished the scoring and Tufts was able to shut out the Mules for the full 15-minute period. They limited Colby to just five shots in the frame.

The victory for Tufts was revenge for a 9-4 loss to the Mules in the season-opener.

Tufts had taken a 3-1 lead in the first quarter with Clarke scoring a pair. The Mules were able to close within 5-4 at the half following second-period goals by Ally Franz, Gianna Bruno and Julia Jardina.

The Mules (14-3) then ran off three in a row in the third, including two by Franz to lead 7-5 before Tufts came back.

Walter's three goals led the Jumbos, while Genna Gibbons finished with three draw controls, two caused turnovers and two ground balls. The Jumbos finished five for 10 on free-position shots.

For Colby, Franz scored four times, Sarah Stark had five ground balls and Eliza Dean recorded two caused turnovers and four draw controls. Emily Podgorni finished with 12 saves in goal.

Tufts is the defending NESCAC champion and will play in its third straight conference final tomorrow.