Women's Lacrosse Starts Strong in 18-10 Sweet 16 Win Over Pomona-Pitzer

MEDFORD – The host Tufts University women's lacrosse team outscored Pomona-Pitzer 9-1 in the first quarter today on their way to an 18-10 win in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament at Bello Field.

The Jumbos (17-3) will play Franklin & Marshall at Bello on Sunday night at 7 pm in the "Elite 8," with a berth into the "Final Four" on the line. The Diplomats defeated Ithaca College 12-11 in the other Sweet 16 game played a Bello Field on Saturday.

The loss was the first of the season for Pomona-Pitzer, who finish the year with an 18-1 mark.

Senior Anna Clarke won the opening draw control – her 100th of the season – and went down and scored 11 seconds into the game to get the Jumbos going. In Tufts' nine-goal first period, freshman Caroline Cromwell scored three times, while classmates Margie Carden and Caroline Conaghan had two. Fiona Lewis scored for the Sagehens on a free-position shot.

The game would be even on the scoreboard over the remaining 45 minutes, but the Sagehens would not be able to make-up the big early deficit.

Lewis scored again and Eloise Cherian had a free-position goal pulling the Sagehens within 9-3 at the start of the second quarter. However, the Jumbos would finish the frame with five of the next six goals to lead 14-4 at halftime. Clarke and freshman Ella Lesperance had two apiece for the Jumbos in the period.

The second half would begin in running time and Emma Joyce tallied the first goal for the Jumbos for a 15-4 lead. However, Sydney Landauer scored the next two for the Sagehens to stop the clock at 15-6. Lesperance and Sarah Casey traded goals in the final three minutes and the score was 16-7 after three.

Pomona-Pitzer would outscore Tufts 3-2 in the fourth, led by a pair of goals from Caroline Worthington. Lucy Hodge and Grace Frerich scored for Tufts before Eleanor Mackey netted the final goal of the game for the Sagehens.

Clarke, Cromwell and Lesperance all had three goals for Tufts, with Cromwell adding an assist for a four-point game. Joyce also had four points with two and two. Maddy Lehan continued her strong defensive play with three caused turnovers and four ground balls, while starting goalie Molly Laliberty made six saves in three quarters and Courtney Kaufman had two while finishing up.

Lewis, Landauer and Worthington all scored twice for Pomona-Pitzer, while Worthington added a game-high five draw controls. The Sagehens finished with an 18-11 advantage on draws. Caroline Welch picked up three ground balls and caused a turnover, while goalie Emily Vomvas made 11 saves.

Both teams were strong on free-position shots, with Tufts finishing 5 for 11 and Pomona-Pitzer 5 for 9. Shots were 38-22 Tufts and ground balls also favored the Jumbos (20-12).

The Jumbos will be attempting to advance to their third consecutive Final Four tomorrow (2019, 2021).

Watch the Tufts Post-Game Press Conference ...