MEDFORD – The Tufts University women's lacrosse team will make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA "Final Four" this weekend in Ashland, Virginia.
Head coach Courtney Shute's Jumbos will play Salisbury University in the NCAA semifinals on Saturday with a 2:30 pm start. The game will be played at Day Field on the campus of Randolph-Macon College.
Tufts is one of three New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams to advance to the Final Four. Middlebury and Wesleyan will square off in Saturday's other semifinal at 11:30 am. The national championship game will be played between the semifinal winners on Sunday at 2 pm.
The Jumbos (19-2), whose 19 victories are three more than any team in Tufts history has previously recorded, defeated York College (Pa.) 11-6 at home on Bello Field in the NCAA Quarterfinals Sunday. They had a 17-13 win over TCNJ in the third round at home on Saturday. Tufts opened NCAA play with an 18-0 win against Plymouth State, just the fourth shutout in NCAA Division III Tournament history. The Jumbos were the NESCAC runner-up after a 9-1 season in the league.
NESCAC nearly sent all four teams to the NCAA semifinals, but Salisbury (19-3) scored with four seconds remaining in regulation to eliminate Amherst 8-7 in the quarterfinals on Sunday. The Sea Gulls started their NCAA run with a 16-3 victory against Lebanon Valley in the second round, then won 18-8 against Colorado College in third round. The York College team that Tufts just defeated in the national quarterfinals topped Salisbury in the Capital Athletic Conference championship game 13-11. Like Tufts, Salisbury received an at-large berth into NCAA's.
No Tufts team has advanced farther in the NCAA Tournament than these 2019 Jumbos. The 2009 team, which earned Tufts' first-ever NCAA bid, advanced to the Regional final where they lost at Franklin & Marshall 12-7. The Jumbos have won games in each of their five NCAA apperances and have an 8-4 tournament record overall. They qualified in 2011, 2015 and 2018 as well.
Salisbury is a three-time NCAA champion who most recently won back-to-back national titles in 2013 and 2014. The Sea Gulls are making their 17th consecutive NCAA appearance and 20th in the last 21 years since earning their first berth in 1999. Salisbury is 48-16 in NCAA games and has played in seven finals including four times finishing as national runner-up.
Middlebury (20-1) is a six-time NCAA champion (most recently 2016) in its 25th national tournament, including nine in a row. The Panthers are 63-18 in NCAA games since their first berth in 1994. Wesleyan (17-3) is in its third straight NCAA Tournament (2-2) and in the Regional round had wins over Washington & Lee (13-7) and Gettysburg (10-7), the top two teams in the final Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association national poll.
The Jumbos' only losses this season have come against Middlebury, both by 10-9 scores during the regular-season (April 20) and then again in the NESCAC Championship Game on May 5. Tufts defeated Wesleyan twice, 17-10 in the regular season (April 6) and 11-8 in the conference semifinals on May 4.
Tickets for the Final Four weekend can be ordered online at NCAA.com/Tickets through noon on Friday, May 24. Tickets will also be available on site (cash only). All-session tickets are $25 for adults, $7 for youth ages 3 through 12, and $15 for students and senior citizens ages 60 and above. Single day tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for youth ages 3 through 12, and $10 for students and senior citizens ages 60 and above. Children ages two and younger will be admitted free.