|University of New England||Tufts University|
MEDFORD, Mass. – Two goals in a span of 5:21 midway through the 1st half were enough to lift No. 3 Tufts University past No. 19 University of New England by that 2-0 margin in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship on Saturday (Nov. 12) at Ounjian Field.
The Jumbos (17-2) advance to the national quarterfinals on Sunday, where they will meet Skidmore College (a 2-0 winner over Saint Joseph’s College of Maine). UNE’s record-setting season comes to a close at 20-4 overall.
The Nor’easters pinned Tufts in its own end for most of the initial 10 minutes, but, other than a shot just wide, could not generate any scoring opportunities.
Tufts soon found its stride, and converted the third in a string of penalty corners as Erin Sanders (Katonah, N.Y.) received Mary Travers’s (Princeton, N.J.) insert on the left side and sent a blast into the cage with 17:22 elapsed.
Pressure from the hosts continued, and in the 23rd minute, Travers collected the rebound off her own shot on the right side and slipped one inside the near post for a two-goal cushion.
UNE battled following intermission, holding the Jumbos off the board while getting a couple chances on offense, but was unable to make a dent in the scoreboard.
It was the first time all year that the Nor’easters were kept scoreless.
Holly Smith (Peabody, Mass.) was solid between the pipes for UNE, making nine stops, and got a defensive save in support from Kersey Boulay (Liberty, Maine) during the opening period.
For Tufts, which finish ahead in shots (20-3) and corners (7-1), Emily Polinski (East Brunswick, N.J.) denied the one attempt that came on-target.
The Nor’easters established a program-best 20 victories in 2016, and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament for a third straight campaign after captured the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship for the third time in as many years. The only setbacks on the ledger came to opponents ranked in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III Top 20 Poll.
With the conclusion of the season, so does the line on the senior class of Desirae LeBlanc (Manchester, N.H.), Brooke Marshall (Bow, N.H.), Nicole Matarozzo (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Abbey Rouillard (Claremont, N.H.), and Smith — a group that saw the program through its best four-year stretch (71-24) in 14 seasons of existence, including 46 triumphs against two losses versus league competition. Matarozzo departs as UNE’s career leader in goals (52) and points (125), while Smith tops the all-time list of goalies in wins (71), goals against average (1.30), and shutouts (25).