MEDFORD – The No. 4 seeded Tufts women's soccer team advanced to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship game against top seeded Williams College this past weekend after making a run in the conference tournament beating No. 5 Trinity College 1-0 and No. 6 Hamilton College 3-2.
The Jumbos then earned their sixth NCAA Division III Championship berth after receiving an at-large invitation for the first time since 2007. This Tufts squad (10-5-3) will travel to The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing Township for a four-team NCAA Regional. The Jumbos will play Virginia Wesleyan University (14-6-1) in the first round on Saturday, November 11 at 1:30 p.m.
"It's been amazing to be able to play so closely with another freshman because we've both been going through the same things when it comes to the nerves of our first playoff games or just the adjustment to collegiate soccer," Lloyd said, "During the games, we really feed off each other's energy and our goal every game is to stay connected and be on the same page while we play."
"With her being from California and me being from Massachusetts, we were quite literally from opposite coasts, yet we click when play together on the field," Reed said, "During each game we learn more about each other's strengths. She is a skilled athlete, and is always hungry to improve, which is great to be surrounded by. She motivates me to continue to work hard, and achieve my goals through dedication to the sport."
On September 30, the Jumbos went down 1-0 against Amherst College at the 79:47 mark. However, the freshman duo did not back down from the challenge. Reed tied the game 1-1 with less than six minutes left in the contest on an unassisted goal for her first collegiate score. Lloyd then finished off the comeback by scoring only two minutes into the first overtime period off of an assist by senior forward Mariah Harvey-Brown.
Lloyd, a Los Altos, California native, was recognized as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year and an All-NESCAC Second Team honoree. She was ranked second in the NESCAC in goals scored and third in points and led this Jumbo team in both categories. Lloyd was also the team leader in game-winning goals with four. One of the most memorable game-winners came in the NESCAC semifinal where she scored twice against Hamilton College to punch the Jumbos' ticket NESCAC Championship game for the first time since 2005. Reed was responsible for the third goal of the 3-2 win.
"One of the biggest reasons Liz and I have been able to play so well this season is because the freshman class was so well integrated into the team from the very first week of preseason," Lloyd said, "Our team is so close and has so much chemistry that every game, practice, and team event is so much fun. Going out onto the field, I know that everyone on the team is playing for each other and that is one of the best feelings in the world. We are extremely excited to be in the NCAA Tournament and want to make the most out of every post-season game we get to play."
The Lynnfield, Mass. native Reed ranks second on the team in goals (6), assists (3) and points (15). Reed caught fire in the week of October 16 where she scored four goals in two games earning a NESCAC Player of the Week award. She scored a pair of goals against non-conference opponent Endicott College and NESCAC opponent Bates College. She scored her first goal during this hot streak only 1:03 into the Endicott game sending the ball from outside the box, off the crossbar and into the net.
"As a team, we have achieved many goals set at the beginning of the season through grit, consistency, and hard work during every minute of practice and every film and technical session," Reed said, "As a freshman and having just entered the NESCAC environment, it is nerve wracking yet exciting to be able to help a dedicated team succeed in each competitive game. To make it to the NESCAC finals and to earn a bid in the NCAA Tournament, there is no better feeling. Just as we have approached each game in the NESCAC league with a readiness and an energy emphasized by each team member, we will be ready to attack the first NCAA game against Virginia Wesleyan."
Written by Colin Mason, Athletic Communications Intern