The game was close for the first 20 minutes before the Jumbos pulled away to improve their record to 1-1. Keene State, playing its season-opener, dropped to 0-1.
Brigid Bowser figured in each of Tufts' first three goals with two tallies and an assist as the hosts took a 3-1 lead at 21:12 of the first half. However, Keene closed the margin to one when Jenna Bellano scored while the Owls were playing with a man-advantage at 9:40 making it 3-2.
The Jumbos took a 5-2 lead into halftime after goals by Bowser and Callahan to finish first-half scoring. Tufts had large advantages in shots (13-4), draw controls (7-1) and ground balls (17-9) for the first 30 minutes.
Tufts had a five-goal run overall after scoring the first three of the second half. Bowser scored one and assisted another to start the second half helping Tufts take an 8-2 lead at the 21:15 mark.
Keene's Eliza Witherbee scored at 19:55 to stop the Tufts streak. However, the Jumbos had the next four to take a commanding 12-3 advantage. Junior Lindsey Walker netted two of the goals for Tufts. From 5:57 of the first half to 5:46 of the second, the Jumbos out-scored the Owls 9-1.
The visitors closed the game with goals by Emilee Silegy and Bellano 13 seconds apart for the 12-5 final.
Walker and senior Eliza Halmo both had two goals and an assist for Tufts. Junior Emily Wright was superb on defense, causing seven turnovers. She was one of three Jumbos who scooped up four ground balls. Wright and Bowser each had three of Tufts' 11 total draw controls. Senior goalie Rachel Gallimore played 56:31 in the Tufts cage and made three saves.
Witherbee's two goals and an assist led Keene. Amanda Maker had three ground balls and caused two turnovers. Bellano and Kaitlin Nolan both won three draws. Senior goalie Erin Taylor made 13 saves, including nine in the second half.
Tufts had a 32-12 shots advantage and also won the ground-ball battle 29-17.
The Owls return to Keene to make their home debut against Castleton State College at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Tufts will travel to Eastern Connecticut State on March 8.
Story Courtesy Tufts University