Women’s Soccer Upsets No. 6 Rochester, Punches Ticket to Final Four

The winning goal came in the 82nd minute of the NCAA tournament quarterfinal game

Sophomore Elsi Aires scored her sixth goal of the 2023 NCAA Division III women’s soccer tournament in the quarterfinal match’s 82nd minute, propelling the Tufts to a 1-0 victory over University of Rochester on November 19.

The win was the Jumbos’ fourth of the tournament, and moves Tufts into the semifinals for the third time in program history—and the first since 2005. The Tufts run (11-5-4) is especially historic since the Jumbos were one of the last teams selected as an “at-large” pick, defeating three ranked teams, including two on their home turf. 

“It was one of the better games I’ve seen in my 30 years of coaching in college,” said Tufts head coach Martha Whiting. “We knew we had our hands full with Rochester coming into the game. If we could just defend their counterattack, I think we felt like we had a pretty good shot. We were patient and when that opportunity came up, we put it away.”

The deciding play would come at the 81:10 mark of the contest, as first-year Waverly Sumner worked her way down the left sideline with speed. After entering the left side of the box, she passed to Aires, who rocketed a shot off her left foot into the top right side, netting her 14th goal of the season. The goal tied Aires with Ariel Samuelson for third-most goals in a season in Tufts women’s soccer program history. 

“I only had four goals last year, but I think as a team we’ve been working so hard out of season, that it’s finally paying off now,” Aires said.

After the goal, Tufts would lock down the game, not allowing another shot from the Yellowjackets. The Jumbos outshot their hosts 15-10 on the game, including a 6-3 edge in shots on goal. Tufts also posted a 6-1 edge in corner kicks, as Aires took seven shots for the Jumbos. Edwards finished with three stops to earn her fourth shutout of the season and second of the NCAA tournament. 

Tufts will travel to Salem, Virginia, to take on California Lutheran University on Thursday, November 30 at 3 p.m. at Roanoke College. Cal Lutheran defeated No. 1 Christopher Newport University in penalty kicks after tying 1-1. Washington University of St. Louis and Messiah College will play in the remaining semifinal at Roanoke at 6:30 p.m. 

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