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Samuelson Makes Tufts Women's Soccer History

Samuelson Makes Tufts Women's Soccer HistoryTufts senior Ariel Samuelson – the first women’s soccer player in Jumbo history to earn NESCAC Player of the Year honors – is leading her team into the NCAA Division III "final four.”

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.21.05] Tufts women’s soccer standout Ariel Samuelson has scored 14 goals so far this season, a performance that earned her the New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Year crown. Now, as the Jumbos advance to the NCAA Division III semifinals on Nov. 25 in Greensboro, N.C., the senior tri-captain will have a chance to tack on a few more.

“We knew if we had a good regular season we would go [to NCAAs] and that’s exactly what we did,” the pre-med student told the Waltham Daily News Tribune.

Thanks in large part to Samuelson’s contributions, the NESCAC champion Jumbos finished the regular season with an 11-2-1 overall record, winning 10 in a row in September and October. In post-season play, they’ve added another four wins and will head to the NCAA Division III “final four” the day after Thanksgiving, hungry for a national championship title.

But Samuelson, the team’s leading scorer, doesn’t take much credit for giving the Jumbos the boost they needed this season.

“I never shoot the ball, ever,” Samuelson said to the newspaper. “I don’t think I ever use my instep. All my shots are either scrappy or they’re breakaways.”

Tufts women’s soccer head coach Martha Whiting says Sameulson is too modest.

“People who score goals like that are in the right place for a reason,” she told the Daily News Tribune, “because they know where to be and they have a nose for the goal.”

When she recruited Samuelson to Tufts, Whiting was confident that the Newton-North graduate had something special, she told the newspaper. But the coach admitted that she didn’t know how bright Samuelson would shine during her senior season.

“I don’t think we knew what we were getting,” Whiting told the Daily News Tribune. “I knew we wanted her here, because we saw something in her that we knew would fit with what we like to do. She’s very competitive and she works so hard, she’s an athlete, but I don’t know that I really saw her scoring [so many] goals her senior year.”

According to Whiting, Samuelson – who has played both offense and defense during her time at Tufts – used her experience as a defender to her advantage on the front line.

“Her playing in the back for two years gave her a different vantage point, so she was able to see the field from a whole different point of view and was able to see things develop,” Whiting told the newspaper. “She might have a better understanding now of how things are developing in the midfield and in the back.”

Samuelson said that even her friends have noticed an improvement in her play, and Whiting agrees that Samuelson is a smarter player these days.

“At first when she was playing striker, she was ready to get the ball and go to the goal. Now she gets her head up [to see other options] and she’s patient, and she knows she’s not always going to be able to turn with the ball or beat a player,” Whiting told the Daily News Tribune. “She is more multi-dimensional, she’s able to do more things now.”

And that holds true for Samuelson’s abilities off the field as well. After graduation, she will head to medical school, but, surely, she’ll never forget her time at Tufts.

“It’s been amazing,” Samuelson told the newspaper. “I love it here. I love soccer, I love school, I love my friends.”












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