The Tufts University women’s lacrosse team will return to action on Saturday with a trip to New London, Connecticut for a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) game against the Connecticut College Camels.
It will have been 392 days since the Jumbos last played, and head coach Courtney Shute’s team is raring to go. Tufts will be led by returnees from the 2019 team that reached the NCAA “Final Four.” The Jumbos then had a 3-0 start in 2020 and were ranked #2 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association national poll before the season was canceled due to COVID. Tufts has won 22 of its last 25 games entering the 2021 season.
(Photos from 2019 season)
Tufts returns a ton of firepower on attack, as players who scored 46 of the team’s 47 goals in three games last year are back. Emily Games, who netted a school-record 62 goals in 2019, will close out her All-American career with an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic. Senior Catherine Lawliss led the team in scoring through its three games last year and has tallied 104 points in 43 career games (2.42 average). Junior Colette Smith had a 48-goal freshman season when she was Rookie of the Year in the talent-stacked New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). All three players were selected Inside Lacrosse Division III Media All-Americans for the shortened 2020 season. Senior Kirsten Grazewski (45 points in 39 career games) quarterbacks the attack group, while seniors Kate Majoy and Claire Wright along with junior Mae Briody – fourth on the Final Four team with 13 assists - are also key offensive figures.
The midfield group is just as deep, with Coach Shute noting that the Jumbos could run out three lines comfortably. Juniors Anna Clarke (five goals and a team-high 11 draws in 2020) and Kathryn Delaney (29 draws in 2019) are seasoned veterans now and will be joined by classmate Ananda Kao as the top unit. Sophomores Caroline Walter and Sami Rothstein are emerging leaders, while sophomore Kate Wujciak and freshmen Emma Joyce and Caroline Sapir are part of the young and talented position group that does not include any seniors.
Defensively Tufts will be led by by US Lacrosse Magazine 2021 Division III Preseason Goalie of the Year Molly Laliberty. After splitting time in goal during the “Final Four” season, Laliberty recorded a 5.60 goals against average and 61.1 save percentage in three games as the starter last year. She was ranked seventh nationally in save percentage and 11th in goals against average when the season ended. Sophomore Courtney Kaufman gives the Jumbos two excellent goalkeepers.
Senior Lindsay Erickson, who tied for the team lead in ground balls last spring, returns as the leader of the defensive line. She is joined by junior returning starter Madison Lehan and senior Emma Tomlinson as the top defenders. Sophomore Becca Gable, sophomore Ali Savidge and freshman Meg Hatton make up the young talent on defense.