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No. 12 Tufts holds off No. 12 women's lacrosse team's comeback

Joan O'Neill '12 had career-highs in both goals (5) and assists (2) against the 12th-ranked Jumbos.

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Twelfth-ranked Tufts University built an 11-4 halftime lead, and then fended off a comeback by the No. 15 Bates College women's lacrosse team enough to post a 17-14 victory in NESCAC action at Bello Field on Wednesday afternoon.

The Jumbos, who have scored 54 goals in the their last three games, were led by four goals from sophomore Lara Kozin. Tufts also got three goals apiece from Casey Egan and Jenna Abelli. Winners of three straight, Tufts improved to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the league.

Bates came within two goals twice in the final five minutes of the game. The Bobcats (2-3, 2-2 NESCAC) were led by first-year Joan O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.), who notched a career-high in goals for third straight game with five, and added a career-high two assists. Sophomore Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.) finished with two goals, seven draw controls, and four ground balls in an excellent game for the Bobcats.

The Jumbos looked like they were on their way to running time in the early-going. They scored the first four goals, two by Egan, and led 10-2 at the 7:50 mark following a free-position goal by Emily Johnson. Both goalies were good in the first half, with Bates junior Mara Krueger (St. Louis, Mo.) making eight saves, and Tufts junior Sara Bloom stopping seven shots. Tufts had a 23-14 shots advantage after 30 minutes.

Dannis had scored the last goal of the first half with 28 seconds left to start a four-goal Bobcat run that pulled the visitors within 11-7 at 19:56 of the second half. O'Neill scored a goal and assisted twice early in the second. Tufts scored three of the next four goals, and four of the next six to take a 15-9 advantage on Abelli's free-position strike with 10:05 remaining.

However, Bates rallied to score the next four, two by senior Molly Radis (Peaks Island, Maine), and suddenly it was only a 15-13 Tufts advantage with 4:34 on the clock. Abelli and O'Neill traded goals, making the score 16-14 Tufts with 3:16 to play. Dannis controlled the ensuing draw, but Bates turned it over. Tufts went on the offensive and got a goal from Sterling Champion with 2:10 left. Dannis won the draw again for Bates, but the Bobcats turned it over again and Tufts was able to effectively run out the clock.

Alyssa Kopp had six draw controls and four ground balls for Tufts. Bloom totaled nine saves for the victory in net. As a team, Tufts had advantages in shots (37-31) and draw controls (18-15).

Sophomore Caroline Pierce (Weston, Mass.) had five ground balls along with a goal for Bates, which won the ground ball battle 17-13. Radis won three draws and caused two turnovers in addition to her two goals. First-year Jenn Brallier (Chambersburg, Pa.) controlled four draws for the visitors, who got 12 total saves from Krueger. Junior Briana Gross (Andover, Mass.) and senior Morgan Maciewicz (Marblehead, Mass.) scored two goals apiece, with Maciewicz adding an assist.

Both teams scored on four of 10 free-position shots. The high-scoring game, which also featured six yellow cards and 39 fouls, clocked in at a lengthy 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Bates goes to Amherst for a 2 p.m. NESCAC contest on Saturday.

Stats and Play by Play: #12 Tufts 17, #15 Bates 14