WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- On Cole Field this afternoon, the fourth-seeded Tufts Jumbos (9-4-3) edged the sixth-seeded Hamilton Continentals (10-4-2) 3-2 to earn a spot in the NESCAC championship game. First-year Sophie Lloyd posted the game-winning goal in the 71st minute.
Hamilton first-year Cat Gambino scored just 39 seconds into the match. She received a cross from senior Katja Dunlap and converted with a quick, strong finish to the lower-right corner of the net.
Lloyd equalized in the 21st minute. After dribbling deftly through the box, she sent a well-placed shot into the bottom-left side of the goal.
The Continentals continued to threaten, however, and regained the lead at 34:24. Junior Jessie Murray launched a low corner kick toward the six-yard line, and Gambino knocked the ball to Dunlap, who pushed it past Emily Bowers, the Jumbos' junior goaltender.
Hamilton continued to create chances throughout the remainder of the half. A header from sophomore Maddie Dale split the Tufts defense, and fellow sophomore TT Fletcher ran onto the ball, but her shot sailed high. Junior Katie Tenefrancia also sent a long-range shot above the goal. Tufts sophomore Jenna Troccoli created an opportunity for the Jumbos after racing downfield, but her shot went wide, and the score remained 2-1 after 45 minutes. Hamilton led 7-2 in shots at the break.
Tufts competed with more intensity throughout the second half and forced Hamilton goalkeeper Emily Dumont, a senior, to make several impressive plays. In the 61st minute, she stepped up to grab the ball in traffic, and two minutes later, she punched a shot from Tufts junior Emma Ranalli over the crossbar.
But at 64:38, Tufts tied the game again. On a breakaway, first-year Liz Reed got behind Dumont with a feint and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Reed set up the gamewinner seven minutes later as she ran down the flank and crossed the ball to Lloyd, who scored with a low, powerful touch.
Both teams hustled throughout the final 20 minutes, but the Jumbo defense remained stalwart to secure the 3-2 win.
Tufts will face the top-seeded Williams College Ephs (15-1-1) in the NESCAC championship game on Cole Field tomorrow at noon.