MEDFORD – For the first time in program history, the Tufts University women's lacrosse team will host NCAA weekend games at Bello Field this Saturday and Sunday.
The Jumbos, NESCAC runners-up after a close 10-9 loss to Middlebury in the conference final on Sunday, received one of the four top seeds in the tournament field with their at-large berth into the NCAA's on Sunday night. They earned one of 10 first-round byes. Tufts' Bello Field will host a first-round game between Plymouth State University (11-5) and New England College (14-5) on Saturday at 1 pm. The winner of that game will play the Jumbos in the second round on Sunday also at 1 pm.
Tickets prices are $8 for adults, and $5 for students, children, and senior citizens. Tufts students are free with ID. Tickets will be on sale one hour prior to game time each day.
Head coach Courtney Shute's Tufts team has tied the school record for wins in a season with its 16-2 mark this spring. The Jumbos had their second-best finish in NESCAC with a 9-1 mark for the #2 seed in the conference tournament. They defeated Trinity College 12-5 in the quarterfinals and Wesleyan University 11-8 in the semifinals before falling 10-9 at Middlebury College in the championship game. It was the Jumbos' first conference championship game appearance.
This is the fifth NCAA Tournament berth for the Jumbos and second in a row. They won a second-round game against FDU-Florham 17-8 last season before they were eliminated 12-11 by Franklin & Marshall. That gave the Jumbos a 5-4 overall record in the NCAA's. Tufts hosted a mid-week first-round game in 2009, but never a weekend pod.
Plymouth State won the Little East Conference with a 12-7 victory over Southern Maine on Sunday. The Panthers are in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time. They have a 1-7 record in their previous NCAA games. New England College will be making its second NCAA appearance, but first since 2004. The Pilgrims won the NECC Championship against Becker College 18-6.
The winner of this weekend's first and second rounds move on to the NCAA Regionals May 18-19. Should Tufts advance out of this weekend's second round, the Jumbos would have a good chance to host the Regional at Bello.
The NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Committee selected 42 teams that will compete in the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship. Thirty-one conferences were awarded automatic qualification for the championship. One team was selected from Pool B, which consists of independent institutions and institutions that are members of conferences that do not meet the requirements for automatic qualification. The final ten berths are reserved for Pool C, which includes the remaining institutions in conferences with automatic qualification that are not the conference champion plus remaining independents and members of non-qualifying conferences.
Six NESCAC teams made the tournament with Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Middlebury and Wesleyan joining Tufts.