This Week in Tufts Athletics: November 7 - 13

MEDFORD –  What a big and exciting week for Tufts Athletics.  Welcome to This Week In Tufts Athletics’ playoff edition.  Field hockey and volleyball both host NCAA Tournament play at home this weekend.  Men’s and women’s cross country will head to Westfield State for the NCAA Regionals.  Men’s soccer hits the road to travel to Rowan University for NCAA Tournament play.  And football heads to Middlebury for their last regular season game with the chance of a league championship on the line.
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Field Hockey Hosts NCAA Tournament at Ounjian


After winning their first NESCAC Championship since 2009 the No. 3 Tufts field hockey team received a first round bye and will host second and third round play at Ounjian Field on Saturday and Sunday.  Joining the Jumbos in Medford will be Skidmore College, University of New England and St. Josephs’s.  The Jumbos are making their ninth NCAA appearance overall and will be looking for their second National Championship.  Tufts will take on University of New England in the first game at 11 am on Saturday, following by a match up between Skidmore and St. Joseph’s in the second game at 2 pm. Saturday’s winners will play on Sunday at 1 pm.

First up for the Jumbos will be University of New England who was the automatic qualifier from the Commonwealth Coast Conference and topped Maine-Farmington on Wednesday in a first round game, 5-0. The Nor’easters were ranked No. 19 in the most recent National Field Hockey Coaches Assocation of American national poll and own a 20-3 record this year with those three losses coming to Bowdoin, Trinity and Babson in double overtime. The Nor’easters are averaging 4.4 goals per game this year, outscoring opponents 101-19.  Vonde Saunders is the leader with 22 this year while Nicole Matarozzo has scored 19 times.  The Jumbos and the Nor’easters last faced off in 2014 with the Jumbos winning, 3-0.  It’s also Tufts that has the advantage in the series, 3-0, dating back to 1999.

The other game on Saturday features Skidmore and St. Joseph’s.  Winners of the Liberty League, Skidmore was ranked No. 11 in the most recent NFHCA national poll and owns a 15-5 record this year.  The Jumbos last played Skidmore back in 2009 when they beat the Thoroughbreds, 4-1, in NCAA Regional play.  St. Joseph’s college has a 14-6 record this year and is coming off a 1-0 victory over Montclair State in first round action on Wednesday.  The Jumbos have not faced off with the Monks in program history, dating back to 1999.


Cousens Gym Hosts Eight Team Volleyball NCAA Regional


Things didn’t go exactly as planned last weekend for the Tufts volleyball team, as the Jumbos fell, 3-2, to Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship match in Cousens Gym.  But, the Jumbos are right where they want to be nonetheless, and have received a bid into the NCAA Tournament and are hosting an eight-team regional in Cousens Gym this weekend.  The Jumbos will just be looking for a different result come Sunday.

Joining the Jumbos in the regional is Maine Maritime Academy, Springfield College, Endicott College, MIT, Framingham State University, University of Massachusetts—Boston and Johnson & Wales.  There will be four games played on Friday, two on Saturday and the regional final on Sunday with a trip to the national quarterfinals on the line.  The final three rounds of the Championship will be held November 17-19 at the Kolf Sports Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 

Playing in a regional for the third time, the Jumbos won the regional title in Cousens Gym back in 2009.  Their road to that goal will begin on Friday with a match up against Maine Maritime (22-8).  In other first-round action, Springfield (27-5) will take on Endicott (22-11), MIT (28-4) plays Framingham State (22-11) and UMass-Boston (28-4) battles Johnson & Wales (33-0).  The Jumbos topped MIT this year but fell to Springfield and UMass-Boston.

First up for the Jumbos will be Maine Maritime, who won the North Athletic Conference over Colby-Sawyer to earn an automatic bid.  The Mariners are 22-8 this year, and have taken on Colby twice (lost both times) and Bates twice (one once and lost once). Those are the only two common opponents the Jumbos and the Mariners have this year. Gillian O’Neal leads the offense with 3.99 kills per set while Maria Perez is the defensive leader with 4.01 digs per set. The last time the Jumbos and the Mariners faced off was back in Cousens Gym in 2009 when the Jumbos hosted the NCAA Regionals and beat the Mariners in the opening round, 3-0.

The Jumbos play the last match of the day on Friday, starting at 8 pm. Springfield and Endicott start at 12:30 on Friday, MIT and Framingham play at 3 pm and UMass-Boston and Johnson & Wales begin at 5:30 pm.

Tufts vs. Maine Maritime: VIDEO | LIVE STATS


MXC: Saturday at NCAA Regional Championships at Westfield State
What you need to know:  The men’s cross country team is ranked No. 21 in the country and will face some of the nations best this weekend in the NCAA Regional Championship at Westfield State.  Led by seniors Luke O’Connor and Tim Nichols, two Jumbos that have plenty of championship experience, the Jumbos will look for a strong performance this weekend to help them qualify for the national meet at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky next weekend.  

The Jumbos are familiar with the course they are running on this weekend as they traveled to Westfield State earlier this earlier this year for the James Earley Invitational.  While the top seven runners didn’t compete in the event that weekend, they did travel out to Westfield and did warm up on the course to get a feel for it and to prepare for this weekend.  The Jumbos finished third at the Regional meet last year and received a bid to compete in the NCAA Championships.

With a bunch of highly ranked New England teams, the Jumbos will have their work cut out for them this weekend.  Williams sits at No. 3 in the national rankings, with MIT at No. 5, Amherst No. 7 and Middlebury No. 17.  Right behind the Jumbos is No. 23 Colby and No. 26 Brandeis.  With so many highly ranked teams in the New England region, this weekend’s race is sure to be an exciting one.

WXC: Saturday at NCAA Regional Championships at Westfield State
What you need to know: The women’s cross country team will also be running for a bid to the NCAA Championships this weekend as they head to Westfield State for the NCAA Regional Championships.   The NCAA Championship meet is next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky at the Lake Breeze Golf Course.  The Jumbos graduated two key seniors from last year’s squad, but they picked up right where those two left off and have had an very successful 2016 campaign. 

After last year’s second place finish at Connecticut College at this NCAA Regional meet, this years Jumbos are looking for the same or better results.  Junior Brittany Bowman, senior Kelly Fahey and sophomore Natalie Bettez have been staples of the Jumbos line up all year long and will look to turn in strong performances on Saturday yet again.  Senior Lindsay Atkeson, classmates Samantha Cox and Alice Wasserman and sophomore Kelsey Tierney have rounded out the Jumbos line up this year and will look for their best race this weekend.  Bowman, Fahey and Cox all placed in the top 35 last year, earning All-New England honors and hope to add another All-Region honor to their resume this year.

The Jumbos need to finish in the top two to get an automatic bid, but a top five finish would be pretty good and should send them to national meet because of how strong the New England region is.  The No. 6 ranked Jumbos sit just behind No. 2 MIT and No. 5 Williams with No. 8 Bates just behind them.  Also making an appareance in the national rankings is No. 10 Middlebury, No. 19 Amherst and No. 31 Brandeis, and Bowdoin was receiving votes in the most recent poll.  Having raced on this course earlier this year for the James Earley Invitational, the Jumbos should be ready to go on Saturday!

MSOC: Saturday vs. Springfield at Rowan in NCAA Tournament at 7:30 pm
What you need to know: Once again the men’s soccer team is granted another life as the Jumbos received an at large bid into the NCAA Tournament and will travel to Rowan this weekend to being tournament play.  The Jumbos (9-5-2) are making their third consecutive NCAA appearance, dating back to 2014 when the Jumbos won the program’s first National Championship.

The Jumbos will take on Springfield on Saturday, as Rowan and Lehman face off in the other first round game in Glassboro, N.J.  Rowan and Lehman play at 5 pm as the Jumbos and the Pride will start at 7:30 pm.  The Pride are 18-1-1 this year with that lone loss coming to Babson in overtime in the middle of October, and the tie to Wheaton in the middle of September.  Springfield has won their last six, including a 3-1 win over Wheaton in the NEWMAC Championship last weekend. Senior Luke Alvaro has led the Pride offence this year with 18 goals and five assists.  Junior Cam Powell has helped with ten goals while sophomore Christian Schneider has scored seven times and helped nine others.

The Jumbos will bring a strong defense into Saturday’s game, as they have allowed just 0.66 goals per game, a mark that is the 17th best in the country.  The Jumbos have posted eight shutouts this year, seven of those belonging to senior Scott Greenwood who was in goal when the Jumbos won the national championship in 2014.  Offensively, senior Gaston Becherano has been a goal scoring machine for the Jumbos, scoring 11 times this year.  What has made the Jumbos strong is their many offensive options, 17 different players have scored at least a point this year.

The Jumbos will look to shut down Springfield on Saturday and then play in the second round on Sunday at 5 pm against the winner of the Rowan and Lehman game.


FBALL: Saturday at Middlebury at 12:30 pm
What you need to know: Its not exactly the playoffs for the football team this weekend, but its about the same thing.  The Jumbos head up to Middlebury on Saturday for their last regular season game.  With a Jumbo win and a Wesleyan win against Trinity, all three teams would be tied with a 7-1 record and would share the NESCAC title.  So, the Jumbos head up to Middlebury on Saturday to play for chance at a NESCAC title, their first since 1986. The Panthers are also playing for a piece of the title on Saturday.

The Jumbos guaranteed themselves at least a 6-2 season with their 44-16 win over Colby this past weekend.  Combined with last year’s 6-2 finish, the 12 wins in back-to-back season to this point is the most for the program since 1989 and 1990.  Chance Brady brings his spectacular senior season to Middlebury for one final game on Saturday.  Brady has set Tufts’ career touchdowns record with 30 touchdowns in his career and has 14 this season, also a new Tufts record.  With 914 yards on the season, Brady needs 86 yards on Saturday against the Panthers to become the Jumbo’s first 1,000-yard back since 2001 and just the ffith ever. 

The Jumbos bring a strong defense into Saturday as well as they did not allow Colby into the end zone on Saturday and limited the Mules to 15 pass completions on 37 attempts and just 213 total yards.  The Jumbos defense also sacked the Colby quarterback five times this past Saturday in addition to sophomore Tim Preston picking him off for his fifth straight game with an interception.

As has been the case for several years now, Middlebury has the league’s best passing attack this season.  Junior quarterback Jared Lebowitz leads the NESCAC with 310 passing yards per game and 25 touchdowns (nine more than anyone else). His top target is Cornado Banky, who has conference-best marks of 117.9 yards receiving per game and 11 touchdowns.

The Jumbos snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Panthers last year, and will look to make it two in a row this year on the road.  Along with helping their chances of that conference title.



Senior Annie Artz was named NESCAC Player of the Week after the field hockey team won their second NESCAC Championship.  Artz scored twice against Middlebury and scored at least one goal all three of the Jumbos NESCAC Tournament games this year.

Artz along with juniors Ellexa Thomas and Mary Travers were named All-NESCAC selections for field hockey.  Artz and Thomas were selected to the first team while Travers was a second team selection.

Seniors Gaston Becherano, Daniel Sullivan and Zach Halliday of the men’s soccer team were all announced as All-NESCAC selections this year.  Becherano and Sullivan were selected to the first team while Halliday earned a spot on the second team.

For the women’s soccer team it was senior Robin Estus that got the nod for the All-NESCAC teams. Estus, a senior co-captain and midfielder, was selected to the All-NESCAC Second Team for the first time in her career.

Senior co-captain Elizabeth Ahrens and freshman Kelly Klimo were announced All-NESCAC volleyball team selections.  Ahrens was named to the first team and makes it two years in a row with All-Conference honors.  Klimo was put on the second team and is the first freshman All-Conference honoree since 2011.  Head coach Cora Thompson was selected was the NESCAC Coach of the Year.

Junior Alp Rodopman of the Tufts sailing team finished sixth out of 18 at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association Single-handed Championships this past weekend.  In 14 total races, Rodopman compiled finishes leading to a 107 score.  He was four points in front of seve