Field Hockey

Emma Tufts’ ‘shark attack mentality’ sparks Syracuse field hockey’s offense in win over Indiana

Jessica Sheldon | Photo Editor

Emma Tufts scored a goal in her first start of the season on Sunday.

Elaine Carey drove along the end line, passing by two Indiana defenders. She pushed the ball forward and hit a dribbler that bounced between another two defenders, landing in front of the net.

Waiting for the pass was Emma Tufts, who took a step forward, wound up and lofted the ball in the air. Indiana Goalie Katie Johnson stuck her stick up and jumped up to hit the ball away, but missed. The ball snuck underneath the crossbar and landed inside the goal, giving Syracuse a two-goal lead early in the second half. Tufts threw her hands in the air and walked toward Carey, who met her in front of the Hoosier net with a hug.

Tufts’ goal helped No. 2 Syracuse (14-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) end the regular season with a 3-0 win over Indiana (8-11, 3-5 Big Ten) on Sunday at J.S. Coyne Stadium. Despite being involved in just one scoring play, Tufts was in the middle of many scoring opportunities for the Orange.

“We were working really well together in the circle and (Elaine) passed it across the circle and I just got a stick in it,” Tufts said. “I’m always aggressive in the circle.”

Emma Lamison recovered a loose ball and backhanded it toward the net. It was lofted in the air and landed in front of Tufts, who ripped a hard shot on goal. Though the shot barely missed the goal and went wide left, Tufts was in the middle of yet another scoring opportunity.

“(Emma) is really willing to put her body on the line and is feisty,” senior forward Liz Sack said. “She is so open-minded and I think that’s making it really easy for her to get into scoring opportunities or be involved in setting up other people.”

In her first start of the season, Tufts impacted the outcome of the game. The sophomore took five shots, including four on goal. Tufts accounted for a third of SU’s 15 shots. Her five shots also tied Indiana’s total.

Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley declined to speak to the media after the game.

Tufts has appeared in 10 games this season, playing in each of the last six, including a 5-0 win over Cornell in which she scored her first goal of the year. While this was just her first start this season, she made two starts last season.

“No matter what if she starts or not … her mentality is all the same,” junior back Lies Lagerweij said of Tufts. “She just goes for it.”

Whether it was waiting for a ball to be centered inside the circle or driving past Hoosier defenders, Tufts brought a spark to the Orange offense. On nearly every play, she was right beside her teammates, ready to keep the possession going with a quick pass or shot on goal.

“That’s what our mentality is as forwards,” Tufts said on her aggressiveness and activity inside the circle. “Shark attack mentality. Anything you can get a stick on.”

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