Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Tufts

MEDFORD -- The #4 Tufts University field hockey team advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship semi-finals for the second consecutive season with a 4-1 victory over #9 Skidmore College in a quarterfinal game on Sunday afternoon at Bello Field.

Tufts, which improved to 18-1 on the season, will play Salisbury University in the national semi-finals at Mount Holyoke College next Saturday. Skidmore, which was making its fifth appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals, finished the year with a 17-4 record.

The Jumbos took an early lead when they were awarded a penalty stroke after a Skidmore foot foul stopped a goal from going in. Tufts senior co-captain Margi Scholtes (Grosse Pointe, MI) remained perfect for the season at four for four on strokes when she scored just 1:27 into the game.

Skidmore charged back and evened the game at 1-1 in the middle of the first half when junior Carolyne McManama (Medfield, MA) was in perfect position to receive a crossing pass from junior Katie Potter (Rumson, NJ) and score her third goal of the year with 18:41 on the clock.

However, Tufts junior Jess Perkins (Barrington, RI) scored two similar goals before the end of the half and the Jumbos led 3-1 at intermission. Both came on direct strikes off penalty corner chances. On the first, Perkins took the insert from senior Michelle Kelly (Downingtown, PA) and blasted a shot into the cage less than three minutes after Skidmore had tied the score. The third Tufts goal came on a corner inserted by junior Tess Guttadauro (Carlisle, MA) that Perkins stopped and scored on a deflected shot in the 28th minute. Perkins had scored a similar goal in a 5-1 Tufts NCAA second-round victory on Saturday.

The Jumbos had advantages of 9-5 in shots and 4-3 in corners during the first half.

Into the second half, heavy Tufts pressure on the Thoroughbreds' cage led to another goal. Skidmore junior goalie Liz Catinella (Sudbury, MA) made three of her four saves in the game during the sequence, but Tufts was awarded a corner. Shortly later, Kelly scored off a pass from senior Amanda Russo (Garden City, NY) 11 minutes into the second half for a 4-1 Jumbo lead. Kelly had four goals in the NCAA games for the weekend, including a hat trick versus MIT.

Both teams earned plenty of penalty corners in the second half, with Tufts getting eight and Skidmore seven. However, only one shot was put on goal for the remainder of the game. Tufts finished with a 17-11 margin in shots and 12-10 in corners. Tufts sophomore goalkeeper Marianna Zak (Concord, MA) had one save in the victory, while Catinella made all four of her saves in the second half for Skidmore.

The Jumbos played in the NCAA semi-finals and championship game at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania last season. They defeated Messiah, 5-2, in the semis and lost 3-2 in overtime to Bowdoin in the national championship game. Tufts, making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance overall, is now 6-4 in the tournament overall and 5-1 in the last two seasons.