This Week in Tufts Athletics: February 8 - 14

MEDFORD – Another team will compete in the NESCAC Championships again this weekend as the women’s swimming and diving team heads up to Middlebury for the conference championship meet.  Men’s and women’s basketball close out their regular season schedules with conference tilts against Williams on Friday.

Men’s hockey has an important NESCAC road weekend Saturday and Sunday as they try to climb the NESCAC standings before the regular season ends.  Men’s and women’s track and field will run at Boston University and at the MIT Invitational this weekend.  Men’s and women’s squash have busy weeks ahead of them.  

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MEN'S HOCKEY: Saturday at Amherst & Sunday at Hamilton

--The men’s hockey team had an offensive explosion this past weekend, scoring the most goals the team has scored in a single game since 2010 in an 8-1 win over Connecticut College on Saturday night.  The Jumbos will look to carry that offensive momentum into a key NESCAC weekend on the road this Saturday and Sunday.  The Jumbos travel to Amherst on Saturday for a 7:30 pm contest with the Purple and White and will then Hamilton on Saturday at 3 pm.

--The Jumbos (4-6-4 NESCAC record) are currently in seventh place in the conference standings, just behind sixth place Amherst (5-6-3) and fifth place Bowdoin (6-5-3).  Hamilton (7-5-2) and Middlebury (5-3-6) are tied for third place, with Trinity in second place (11-3-0) and Williams in first place with a 11-2-1 NESCAC mark.  The Jumbos play Amherst and Hamilton this weekend, and then host Bowdoin and Colby next weekend, and are looking to earn the highest seed possible for the NESCAC Tournament.

--Eight different Jumbos tallied goals this past weekend in a 4-1 and an 8-1 win over the Camels of Connecticut College.  Sophomore Chad Goldberg, senior co-captain Stewart Bell and rookies Nick Abbene Clay Berger all scored twice over the weekend.  Eleven different Jumbos tallied assists, including two from junior Matt Pugh, Goldberg and classmate Brian Brown.  Junior Mason Pulde made 50 saves in the win on Friday night while sophomore Nik Nugnes picked up the win on Saturday and sophomore Ryan McConnell played seven solid minutes in net in relief on Saturday night.

--Goldberg and Bell lead the offense with six goals each while Brown has a team-leading 15 points from five goals and ten assists.  Rookie David Lackner has also tallied six goals this season and sophomore Nick Flanagan and junior Matt Pugh have each scored four times.  Pulde currently has the best save percentage in the NESCAC with a .951 mark this season.  The Jumbos are currently tied with Hamilton and Williams for the best scoring offense, averaging 2.80 goals per game, which is the third best mark in the NESCAC.

--First up this week for the Jumbos will be a rematch with Amherst.  The Jumbos played the Purple and White earlier this semester, but suffered a 4-2 setback.  Amherst holds a 7-9-4 overall record this year with a 5-6-3 mark in conference play.  The Purple and White are 3-5-1 in NESCAC games this second semester, with the win over the Jumbos, an overtime win against Connecticut College, and most recently a 2-1 edging of Colby this past weekend.  The Purple and White have the advantage in the series with the Jumbos, 18-1-1, dating back to 1999.

--Sophomore Thomas Lindstrom is leading the Purple and White offense with seven goals and ten assists this season for a team-leading 17 points.  After him, classmate David White is helping with three goals and 11 assists, while senior Topher Flanagan has scored four times and helped eight others.  Senior Dave Cunningham has the most starts in net and owns a .927 save percentage with a 2.07 goals against average.  But, the last time the two teams played junior Adam Ellison got the start in net and made 19 saves in the win.

--After the contest with the Purple and White on Saturday, the Jumbos will travel to central New York to take on Hamilton on Sunday afternoon.  The last time these two teams faced off they played to a 1-1 tie on the Jumbos home ice in Malden.  Hamilton has a 12-5-2 advantage in the series, dating back to 1999. After the Continentals and Jumbos tied, Hamilton picked up wins over Amherst and Daniel Webster, but then they fell to Trinity, topped Wesleyan and most recently had a rough weekend, falling to Colby in overtime (2-1) and then losing to Bowdoin 6-2 this past Saturday.  The Continentals are currently tied for third place in the conference standings with Middlebury with a 7-5-2 NESCAC record and a 12-6-2 mark overall this season.

--Junior Robbie Murden currently has a league-leading 28 points from 13 goals and 15 assists this season.  Sophomore Neil Conway has helped with eight goals and 15 assists and sophomore Brandon Willett has scored six times and helped seven others.  In goal, sophomore Evan Buitenhuis has started all the conference contests and played the most minutes for the Continentals.  He has a .944 save percentage with a 1.90 goals against average.  He made 34 saves in the tie in January, while Jumbo counterpart, junior Mason Pulde made a career-high 53 saves in that 1-1 tie.


--After a competitive season the women’s swimming and diving team is ready for the NESCAC Championships this weekend hosted by Middlebury Friday through Sunday.  The preliminary heats will take place in the morning with championship races in the evening.

--At last year’s NESCAC Championship Williams defended it’s NESCAC title with a conference-record 2,103.5 points.  Bates was the runner up and Middlebury finished third.  The Jumbos finished in seventh place, just behind Connecticut College and ahead of Wesleyan, Colby, Hamilton and Trinity.

--The Jumbos have various times that are in the top ten, and those Jumbos will look for their best swims yet this weekend at the conference meet. Junior Sarah Elghor enters the weekend with the seventh best time in the 50-yard breaststroke.  Her time of 31.67 is less than a second behind the conference leader, Melissa Paione of Bates’ 31.03.

-- Rookie Colleen Doolan will look to have a great first conference meet.  She is currently ninth on the list for the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 58.99, just a little more than two seconds of the conference leader.  She is also fifth in the 200 yard butterfly with a time that is just about three seconds off the conference leader.

--Sophomore Anna Kimura is fifth in the conference with a time of 1:07.78 in the 100 yard breaststroke.  Kimura is also third in the 200 yard breaststroke and will look to take a few seconds off both of those times and move up in the conference standings.

--Junior Amanda Gottschalk has the sixth best time in the 400 yard IM, and is just about two seconds off the conference leader, Megan Pierce from Williams.  She is fourth on the list for the 200 yard breaststroke, just behind Kimura.

--Freshman Caroline McCormick has the tenth best time in the 50 yard backstroke.  The Tufts 200 yard medley relay team has the ninth best time in the conference ranks, and will look to improve on that this weekend with some strong swims.

--In addition to the swimmers, junior Kylie Reiman will look to have one of her best weekends. She earned her best score of the season off both boards just a couple weekends ago at the Middlebury Invitational, totaling 380.85 in the one-meter and 414.10 in the three-meter. At the Invitational she was second behind Williams’ Ari Ross off both boards.

MBBALL:  The men’s basketball team split a conference weekend this past weekend, falling to Trinity on Friday night but the coming back to then ranked No. 11 Amherst on Saturday afternoon on Senior Day in Cousens Gym.  The Jumbos broke back into the national rankings at No. 25 in the most recent national poll, while the Purple and White dropped to No. 19 in the new poll.  This week the Jumbos will have a midweek contest with Pine Manor, before wrapping up their regular season on Friday with a trip to Williams for a 7 pm tip off.

First up this week is Pine Manor, who is currently 14-9 this year.  This will be the first time in team history (dating back to 1999) that the two teams have faced off.  But the Gators and the Jumbos have had some common opponents this season.  They have both beaten UMass-Boston and Emerson, but the Gators fell to Colby while the Jumbos topped the Mules earlier this season.  The Gators have won five of their last six, most recently beating Vermont Tech and Fisher, but falling to Valley Forge at the end of January. Taverick Roberson is leading the offense with 18.1 points per game, while Chancie Williams is adding 14.3 points per game and Curtis Hyman has been helping with 10.9 points per game and eight rebounds per game.

After the contest with the Gators, the Jumbos will turn their attention to Williams, as they make a trip out west on Friday evening for a 7 pm contest with the Ephs.  The Jumbos are currently in fourth place in the conference standings right behind Amherst and Middlebury who are tied for second place.  Trinity will for sure host a quarterfinal game, and depending on this weekends results, Amherst, Middlebury, Tufts Wesleyan and Williams all have a chance to host a quarterfinal game at this point.  

The Ephs are currently in sixth place in the conference standings with a 4-4 mark in NESCAC play and a 14-8 record overall.  This past weekend the Ephs edged Connecticut College, 70-67, on Sunday afternoon after being edged by Wesleyan, 66-63 on Friday night.  The Ephs have contests against the Jumbos and Bates left on their regular season schedule this weekend.  Daniel Aronowitz is leading the offense with 17.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game.  Kyle Scadlock is adding 11.4 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game, and Cole Teal is helping with 10.5 points per game.  The Ephs won last year when the two teams faced off, and have a 15-5 advantage in the series dating back to 1999.

WBBALL:  The women’s basketball team had a great weekend last weekend, clinching the number one seed in the NESCAC Tournament and knocking off then second ranked Amherst, ending a 121 game winning streak and handing the Purple and White their first loss of the season.  In the most recent national poll, the Jumbos jumped up to No. 6 while the Purple and White fell to No. 7.  In addition to the win over Amherst, the Jumbos topped Trinity on Friday night.  With the Jumbos having the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC tournament they will face off with the eighth seed in the first round of play.  That will be either Middlebury or Bates.

The Jumbos have a relatively quiet week this week, with only a Friday contest against Williams on the schedule.  The Jumbos topped the Ephs two times last year, once in the regular season and once in the NESCAC Tournament and have a 10-9 advantage in the series against the Ephs dating back to 1999.  The last Eph win came back in the 2010-11 season, when the Ephs won twice, both times in overtime. The Ephs are currently tied for fourth place in the conference standings with Colby and Connecticut College, with all three teams having a 5-3 record in conference play this season.  The Ephs are currently 17-5 this season, and have won six of their last seven games, with that lone loss coming to Amherst.  Amanni Fernandez is leading the Ephs with 16.1 points per game, while Devon Caveney is adding 14.6 points per game and Katie Litman is helping with 10.0 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game.  

MTRACK: The men’s track and field team had successful weekend, racing at home and hosting the Tufts Cupid Challenge on Saturday at the Gantcher Center.  There was no team scoring in the event, but senior Veer Bhalla had a great day for the Jumbos running the nation’s fastest time in the 800 meters to lead the Jumbos.  Juniors Luke O’Connor and Tim Nichols also added top 10 times on Saturday in their respective events.

The Jumbos will look to post some more national marks this weekend.  On Friday and Saturday select Jumbos will travel to Boston University to compete in the David Hemery Valentine Invitational.  The Jumbos will also travel to MIT on Saturday to compete in the MIT Invitational.

WTRACK: The women’s track and field team hosted a competitive Tufts Cupid Challenge this past Saturday at the Gantcher Center.  There was no team scoring at the event but some Jumbos ran national qualifying times. Senior Audrey Gould and sophomore Brittany Bowman both ran top times in the 5,000 meters.  Gould timed 17:31.81 for second place at the meet and the seventh fastest time in the nation.  Bowman’s time of 17:40.55 was third in the race and is ranked No. 11 nationally.  

The women will have another big weekend this weekend as they head over to Boston University for the David Hemery Valentine Invitational on Friday and Saturday and also over to MIT for the MIT Invitational on Saturday.

MSQUASH:  The men’s squash team wrapped up competition in the NESCAC Championships last weekend.  The Jumbos fell to Amherst in the opening round, 9-0, and then were edged by Connecticut College and Hamilton in consolation matches.  Both matches were extremely close as the Jumbos fell, 5-4, in both matches.

The Jumbos will have a busy week this week with four matches on the schedule.  First up is Brandeis on Tuesday night at the Belmont Hill School at 8 pm.  The Jumbos faced off with the Judges earlier this season and won, 9-0.  They will be looking for similar results on Tuesday evening. On Thursday the Jumbos will face off with another familiar opponent, as they travel to Boston University to take on the Terriers at 7 pm.  The Jumbos topped the Terriers, 7-2, earlier this season.

After the two familiar teams, the Jumbos will play two they have not played yet this season.  First up is Wesleyan on Saturday at 2 pm. The Cardinals are currently 10-5 this season and are ranked 20th in the College Squash Association rankings.  Most recently they topped Connecticut College in the opening round of the NESCAC Championships, but then fell to Bates, 9-0.  The Cardinals won two consolation matches, topping Bowdoin, 6-3, and then beating Colby, 5-4. The Jumbos have not faced off with the Cardinals yet this season, but they lost twice last year.  

After the match with the Cardinals, the Jumbos will take on Vassar at Wesleyan at 4 pm.  The Brewers are currently ranked 33rd in the College Squash Association rankings and have a 1-11 record this year, with that lone win coming back at the end of October against Siena. The Jumbos faced off with the Brewers last year, and won, 8-1.

WSQUASH: The No. 25 women’s squash team is coming off a three win week.  The Jumbos opened the week with a 7-2 win over Boston College before heading into NESCAC Championship play.  The Jumbos opened the tournament with an 8-1 loss to Bates, but then came back and won consolation matches against No. 23 Wesleyan and Connecticut College.  Freshman Hannah Burns won all four of her matches during the week and was awarded NESCAC Player of the Week honors for her performance.

The Jumbos have another busy week of play ahead.  First up is a Thursday contest at Boston University at 7 pm.  The Jumbos have picked up a win against Boston University earlier this season, topping the Terriers 9-0 in November.  After the contest with the Terriers, the Jumbos will head to Wesleyan on Saturday to take on the Cardinals and Vassar.  First up with be a 2 pm match against the Cardinals.  The Jumbos edged Wesleyan this past weekend, 5-4, and will hope to pick up another win against a NESCAC opponent and higher ranked opponent. After the match with the Cardinals the Jumbos will face off with Vassar at 4 pm.  The Jumbos have not faced off with the Brewers this season, but they topped them 6-3 when the two teams played last year. The Brewers are 6-5 this season, most recently topping Smith, but falling to Wellesley and Mount Holyoke in the Seven Sisters Championships.

Veer Bhalla, Senior, Men’s Track and Field

Senior Veer Bhalla turned in his strongest performance of the year this past Saturday in the Gantcher Center at the Tufts Cupid Challenge.  With the Jumbos facing some of their toughest competition of the year, Bhalla came with his A game.  The senior won the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.32, which is also the fastest time in the country, putting him at the top of the national list in the 800.  He won the race on Saturday by three seconds.  

Michela North, Junior, Women’s Basketball

Junior Michela North hit a jumper with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Tufts a 52-49 lead and those were the decisive points as the Jumbos ended Amherst’s 121-game, home winning streak.  She finished with a game-high 16 points, including eight in the fourth quarter when Tufts outscored Amherst, 19-14.  North turned in 16 points and 13 rebounds against Amherst and also added 10 points and nine rebounds in a win over Trinity on Friday evening.  The Jumbos clinched the number one seed in the NESCAC Tournament.

The women’s basketball team opened up their weekend with a 61-38 win over Trinity on Friday night.  Senior Michelle Wu scored 12 points in 22 minutes off the bench for the Jumbos.  But, the big win came on Saturday afternoon when the Jumbos knocked off then second ranked Amherst, ending a 121 home game winning streak for the Purple and White.

Men’s track and field senior Veer Bhalla ran the nation’s fastest time in the 800 meters on Saturday at the Tufts Cupid Challenge at the Gantcher Center.  Bhalla and juniors Luke O’Connor and Tim Nichols all ran national top ten times in their respective events.  Bhalla’s time of 1:52.32 is the No. 1 time in the nation as he won the race on Saturday by three seconds.  Nichols won the 5,000 meters and O’Connor took first in the 3,000 meters.

The men’s basketball team split a NESCAC weekend at home this Friday and Saturday.  On Friday night the Jumbos fell to Trinity before coming back and topping then ranked No.11 Amherst on Saturday on Senior Day at Cousens Gym.  Junior tri-captain Tom Palleschi turned in 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocks against Trinity on Friday and then 20 points, nine rebounds and four blocks to lead the Jumbos against Amherst on Saturday.  For his performance he was named the NESCAC Player of the Week for the second time this season.

The women’s squash team competed in the NESCAC Championships this weekend.  The Jumbos opened up their week with a 7-2 win over Boston College on Monday before traveling to Trinity for the NESCAC Championships Friday and Saturday.  The Jumbos fell to Bates in the opening round of play, 8-1, but then came back and beat Wesleyan and Connecticut College in the consolation bracket of play.  Rookie Hannah Burns won all four of her matches this weekend, and was named the NESCAC Player of the Week.

The women’s track and field team hosted a very competitive Tufts Cupid Challenge in the Gantcher Center this past Saturday.  Senior Audrey Gould and sophomore Brittany Bowman both ran top national qualifying times in the 5,000 meters.  Gould, who was running for the first time in three weeks, timed 17:31.48 for second place at the meet and it’s the seventh best time in the nation as of Saturday night. Bowman ran a time of 17:40.55 for third at the meet and eleventh nationally.

The men’s squash team picked up a 9-0 win over Boston College on Monday evening.  They then hit the road to compete in the NESCAC Championships on Friday and Saturday at Trinity and Wesleyan.  The Jumbos fell to Amherst in the opening round of play, 9-0, and then lost two very close consolation matches.  The Jumbos fell to Connecticut College, 5-4, and then Hamilton, 5-4.

The women’s fencing team won five of it’s six matches at the third Northeast Fencing Conference meet of the season hosted by Smith on Saturday.  The Jumbos posted victories over Smith, Boston University, UMass, New Hampshire and Wellesley.  Tufts was particularly strong in the sabre bouts.  They won by 9-0 scores in that weapon during the BU, UMass and UNH meets and posted a 41-13 record overall in sabre for the day.