Cardinals Take Another NESCAC Nationally Ranked Rival Down to the Wire but Fall to Tufts, 7-5, Then End Season at Conn
Trailing 5-3 with 23:25 left in the second half, 17th-ranked nationally Tufts netted the final four goals of the game to extend its winning streak vs. Wesleyan to seven game and keep alive its hopes of a first-round NESCAC tournament game with a 7-5 win Sat., April 19. Wesleyan closed out the year at Conn. College Wed., April 23 as both the Cardinals and Camels were 0-9 in league action while Wesleyan went 5-0 in non-conference play and Conn was 4-1. The game proved extremely close but the Camels came away with a 10-9 victory.
Shots favored Tufts, 21-15, as did ground balls, 19-10. Wesleyan keeper Nina Labovich '16 (#24, main photo) collected 11 stops on the day with a solid performance.
Wesleyan recovered from a 3-2 deficit with three straight goals over a span of just 1:14 early in the second half. The teams were tied at intermission, 2-2, but Tufts drew first blood in the second half with a free-position shot at 27:40. Meredith Smith '17 (#29, photo insert upper right) got her second goal of the outing and 19th of the season with a two-thirds length of the field run up the right side and high shot to even the score at 3-3 with 24:39 on the clock. Martha Harding '16 (#4, photo insert lower right) gave Wesleyan its first lead of the game at 4-3 only 22 seconds later with a high shot off a pass by Abby D'Angelo '14. It was Harding's second goal of the game and 14th of the season. Leah Sherman '15 (#21, photo insert lower left) finished the Wesleyan charge at 23:25 with her 13th goal of the year by penetrating the middle of the Jumbo defense and depositing a high shot into the net.
The Jumbos started their 4-0 burst to the final horn at the 17:34 mark with a high shot, making it a 5-4 game. At 12:26, the Jumbos knotted the count at 5-5, then took the lead for good at 6:58 on a run through the middle and another high shot. The Jumbos padded the lead at 5:35 with another high shot for the 7-5 final.
Wesleyan had chances to score in the closing moments of the game as Smith hit the crossbar with 1:20 left. Wesleyan got the ball back and Harding took another shot from the left side that was saved and Tufts kept possession for the final minute to run out the clock.
At Conn, the teams were deadlocked at 5-5 heading into halftime. The Camels rattled off three straight to begin the second half for an 8-5 margin. Wesleyan responded with three of its own, the last two by Sherman to complete her hat trick, and make it an 8-8 game with 15:22 left. Conn again took the lead with a pair of marker for a 10-8 bulge with 7:23 left. Abby Wheeler '17 put home her second of the game with 5:29 on the clock but the Cardinals could not come up with the equalizer to force overtime.
With balanced scoring for the year, Wesleyan was led my Smith with 21 points while Maddy Coulter '14, who mised the last two game due to injury, had 20, followed by Sherman (19) and Harding (18). Wesleyan will return six of its top seven scorers, losing just three players to graduation, givng the Cardinals a promising look for the future with seven of its 10 NESCAC loses coming by four goals or less, three of them by a lone marker.