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Tuesday, October 03, 2006


MEDFORD -- The Tufts University women's soccer team turned the corner last week, and junior midfielder Martha Furtek (East Falmouth, MA/Falmouth) was the driving force. The Jumbos won their first two games of the season, and Furtek figured in the scoring of all three goals that helped them do so.

The Jumbos entered Tuesday's non-conference game on Kraft Field against local rival Babson College with a 0-2-2 record. An NCAA Tournament "final four" team last fall, the Jumbos lost a lot of offense to graduation and had been struggling to score. They were coming off an encouraging 2-2 tie at Amherst on September 23 during which Furtek scored her first goal of the season.

Against the Beavers, Furtek assisted on a goal and scored one in the first 30 minutes of play to give the Jumbos a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. That would be the final as Tufts earned its first victory.

On Saturday, Tufts played Bates College in front of a large Homecoming Day crowd. The game was a rematch of last year's NESCAC championship game, won 2-1 by Bates in double-overtime on Kraft. Tufts had gained its revenge with a 1-0 win over Bates in the NCAA Tournament last year, but a rivalry had been born and Saturday's match was a big test.

Furtek's blast from the top of the box in the 67th minute stood as the game's lone goal and the Jumbos won 1-0. Suddenly, the team had a three-game unbeaten string and Furtek had scored goals in each game. The Jumbos ended the week with a 2-2-2 overall record and a 1-1-2 mark in NESCAC to tie for fifth place.

With her scoring splurge, Furtek jumped into the top 10 in NESCAC scoring with 1.17 points per game (seven points in six games). Her goal-every-other-game pace (0.5) places her tied for seventh.

The Jumbo defense deserves part of this Player of the Week award, shutting down both opponents last week. Especially for their effort against Bates, who had scored nine goals in its previous two games.

However, it was Furtek who literally kick-started the Jumbo offense as it ended its winless streak. Her three goals are now half of the team's offense through six games.