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#6 Herons down #22 Jumbos, advance to sectional round

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

Senior Julia DiMenna’s scored in the 62nd minute to lift the sixth-ranked William Smith College soccer team to a 1-0 victory over 22nd-ranked Tufts on Cozzens Field Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Herons are now 13-1-6 overall this season and advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Jumbos conclude the season with a 10-6-2 overall record.

Kirsten Nelson played all 90 minutes in goal and made five saves for William Smith. Hayley Bernstein started in goal for the Jumbos and made four saves.

KEY STATS:

  • With the win, William Smith advances to the sectional round for the seventh consecutive season. The Herons have made 11 trips to the sections since it was introduced in 2004.
  • Tufts finished with a 10-9 edge in shots and a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks.

FIRST HALF:

  • William Smith had a 6-3 edge in shots in the first half.
  • Seneca Blakely-Armitage had the game’s first scoring chance in the 20th minute. Her shot from the left side of the 18-yard box was turned aside by Bernstein.
  • Ava Ruppersberger’s follow-up attempt was blocked by a defender.
  • In the 41st minute, Bernstein made a diving stop on a shot from Ruth Hotaling.

SECOND HALF:

  • Tufts came out of the halftime break and applied pressure on the offensive end of the field.
  • In the 54th minute, Maddie Pero blasted a shot from 20 yards out that was stopped by Nelson.
  • Less than a minute later, Elsi Aires had a shot blocked by a defender.
  • In the 62nd minute, William Smith launched a counter-attack out of the midfield. Ava Ruppersberger lofted a pass deep into the offensive zone. Blakely-Armitage ran onto the end of the pass and immediately crossed the ball into the box. DiMenna chipped a shot into the lower right corner of the cage. It was her sixth goal of the season and first career tally on her home turf.
  • Tufts’ best chance to tie the game came in the 85th minute. A bouncing ball in the 18-yard box found the foot of Elsi Aires. Julia Bergslid in at the last second to block the scoring chance.

QUOTABLES:

“It was a very different game than yesterday, which we expected,” Head Coach Aliceann Wilber said. “I give a lot of credit to Tufts. They’ve got a very fluid attack and move off each other really well and have a lot of technical players and athleticism. I think we did a very credible job of defending. As the game moved on, we found more coherency in our play to build a little better. I thought we were a little strung out and weren’t building with numbers the way we were capable of, and some of that was due to Tufts and the pressure they were putting on us. It was a great goal from Seneca and Julia and that’s what we needed.”

“You could feel the momentum building. Tufts was really tight on the back line and came to play. I saw the window open behind the defense and just took the opportunity, ran behind them, and shot,” DiMenna said on her goal.

On the Herons’ defensive effort, DiMenna said, “When we were tied, and even when we were up, Tufts just kept coming at us and our defense just stopped them over and over. I never doubted them. They just kept talking it out with each other and covering for each other and made the game more exciting.”

“I think Julia had a fantastic game for us today,” Wilber said. “She was able to hold the ball until we could get a few more numbers in the box for us. Getting that goal was a shot of adrenaline that we needed to settle the game a little. We started to connect with passes.”

On advancing to the sectional round:
“I think that we are pretty healthy and we will wait to see who we play. The team is excited to be in the sweet 16.” Wilber said about moving on.  

DiMenna  added, “You can feel that everyone is two feet in, too, so it’s really exciting to advance with this group of girls.”

UP NEXT:

William Smith will be back in action next Saturday, November 19, when they take on eighth-ranked Amherst. The location and game time is yet to be determined.