This Week in Tufts Athletics: Feb 27 - Mar 5

MEDFORD – It’s officially tournament time, as both men’s and women’s basketball will begin NCAA Tournament play this weekend.

Men’s and women’s lacrosse both open their seasons this weekend on the road.  Men’s and women’s track and field host the Tufts Last Chance Qualifier in the Gantcher Center on Saturday. Women’s fencing heads to Vermont for the NEIFC Championships on Saturday.

For links to video, live stats and all results, please visit: www.gotuftsjumbos.com.







 

Women's Basketball Hosts NCAA Tournament Play



 

The women’s basketball team is getting ready for their sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, and will host first and second round games in Cousens Gym this Friday and Saturday.  The Jumbos welcome Saint Joseph’s of Maine, DeSales and Husson in the four team regional.  The Jumbos will take on Saint Joseph’s in the first round while DeSales and Husson will open up tournament play against each other.

After reaching the Final Four the last three seasons, and falling in the national championship game last year, the Jumbos are looking to keep their streak going with some different results this year.  But, they will have to take it game by game, and first up is Saint Joseph’s.  The Monks are 24-4 and recently won their second consecutive Greater Northeast Athletic Conference championship with an overtime win over Emmanuel. Kelsey McNamara is leading the offense with 16 points per game and Emily Benway is helping with 14 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game.  The last time the Jumbos faced off with the Monks was back during the 2013-14 season, again in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and the Jumbos pulled out a 66-43 win.

The other first round games has Husson, the North Atlantic Conference champion, taking on DeSales, who received an at-large bid after falling to FDU-Florham in the MAC Freedom tournament.  Husson is 22-4 this year and that is thanks to Kenzie Worcester and Chandler Guerrette.  Worcester is averaging 15.7 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game and Guerrette is helping with 14.2 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game.  For DeSales, who owns a 20-7 record this year, Morgan McCollian is averaging 15.1 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game and Leandra Sterner is helping with 12.4 points per game.

Friday’s games will be at 5 pm and 7 pm, with Husson and DeSales playing at 5 pm and the Jumbos taking on St. Joseph’s at 7 pm.  The winners of Friday’s games will play on Saturday at 5 pm.

Tournament Time For Men's Basketball

 

 

The men’s basketball team plays in a very tough conference.  That was clear on Monday when in addition to Middlebury, who won the NESCAC Championship and received the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, four other NESCAC teams received at large bids to the tournament, giving the NESCAC a total of five teams in the bracket. In addition to No. 6 nationally ranked Middlebury and the No. 14 Jumbos, Amherst, Williams and Wesleyan (all teams receiving votes in the national poll) also made the tournament. The Jumbos will head to St. John Fisher this weekend to play in a four team regional, facing off with Salem State in the first round on Friday night at 5:30 pm.

The berth to the tournament is the fifth in program history for the Jumbos, and gets them a match up with the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference champion in Salem State.  The Vikings are 17-10 this year, and a team the Jumbos are somewhat familiar with.  The Jumbos played their first ever NCAA Tournament game against the Vikings, back in 1995.  But, most recently they face off with the Vikings in the Big Four Challenge at the beginning of the season, which is a tournament with Babson, Brandeis, Salem State and the Jumbos. The Vikings are led by Shaquan Murray and Marcus Faison who are averaging 15.9 and 15.1 points per game, respectively.  Alex Santos is helping with 11.8 points per game and Faison is also turning in 11.1 rebounds per game for the Vikings. The Jumbos and the Vikings haven’t played this year, but they do have some common opponents.  Middlebury, MIT, Brandeis and WPI have all beaten the Vikings, and the Jumbos have beaten them all.  Both teams lost to Bates and Babson this season.  The last time the Jumbos faced off with the Vikings was last season in the opening game of the Big Four Challenge, when the Jumbos won, 90-77.

Joining the Jumbos and the Vikings are the host St. John Fisher Cardinals and St. Lawrence Saints, who will face off in a first round game at 7:30 pm on Friday night.  The Cardinals won the Empire 8 to improve to 22-5 on the season and secure a place in the tournament.  The Saints were granted an at-large berth after falling to Union College in the Liberty League semi-finals. St. John Fisher is 22-5 this season, and received votes in the most recent D3hoops.com national poll.  Ryan Keegan is averaging 18.6 points per game for the Cardinals and is adding 8.7 rebounds per game.  Tyler English is helping with 13.7 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game.  For the Saints, who are 20-6 this season, Riley Nacierio is leading the offense with 19.1 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game while Kyle Edwards helps with 16.8 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The two winners of Friday’s games play on Saturday at 7 pm for a chance to advance to the “Sweet 16.”
 








 


MLAX: Saturday at Stevens at 1:30 pm

What you need to know: The men’s lacrosse team begins their 2017 campaign on Saturday on the road with a 1:30 pm tilt at Stevens.  Coming off a successful 2016 season, where the Jumbos made it to the national championship game, they will be looking to get off to a good start under first-year head coach Casey D’Annolfo. The Jumbos are third in the Inside Lacrosse national poll, and will hopefully bring their potent offense into this year ready to go. The Jumbos graduated their two top goal scorers in John Uppgren and Jake Gillespie, but bring back junior Zach Richman who scored 58 times last year and junior Austin Carbone who added 38 goals and 22 assists last season.  In addition to replacing some goal scorers, the Jumbos will need to do some replacing on the defensive end, as they graduated goalie Alex Salazar.  Sophomore Ben Schmerler played 100 minutes last year and senior Jon Conley saw 43 minutes in goal last year.  Stevens has three games under their belts, winning all three of them, and are ranked 20th in the Inside Lacrosse national poll.  Tommy Dawson has scored 12 times and assisted seven others through three games, while Max Bailey has tallied one score and 13 assists through three games.  The Jumbos opened with a 14-13 win over the Ducks last year.

WLAX: Saturday at MIT at 1 pm
What you need to know: The women’s lacrosse team opens their season on Saturday and they don’t have to travel far to do it.  The Jumbos will head across town to take on local-rival MIT on Saturday at 1 pm.  The Jumbos, who are receiving votes in the most recent Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association national poll, return a good core of their group from last season and are looking to make a great run in 2017.  The Jumbos will need to replace some goal scorers as their top two goal scorers from last year in Caroline Ross (42 goals, 23 assists) and Brigid Bowser (38 goals, 8 assists) graduated. Back for the Jumbos is junior Taylor Meek who scored 18 times last season, and helped 11 others.  In addition to her, senior Kate Mackin, junior Caroline Nowak and sophomores Dakota Adamec, Ceceily Freliech and Megan Toner all scored double digits goals last year. The Jumbos also return sophomore Audrey Evers who played nearly every minute in goal for the Jumbos last season.  MIT has one game under their belts this season as they opened up their season with a 24-16 win over Keene State on Wednesday evening. The Engineers were 12-6 last season, falling to Babson in the NEWMAC semifinals. The Jumbos won, 13-9, when the two teams played last year.

MTRACK & WTRACK: Saturday at Tufts Last Chance Qualifier at 11 am
What you need to know:  Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams will stay home this weekend, competing in the Tufts Last Chance Qualifier.  The Jumbos are welcoming athletes from 46 different teams to the Gantcher Center on Saturday with the primary goal for athletes in attendance being to qualify for nationals.  The competition will be good and close as many entrants will be ranked within the top 20 nationally in their respective events, and will be on the cusp on earning a bid to NCAAs.  The women’s DMR will feature four of the top eight teams in the country.  In addition to that top athletes from various different schools are entered in their primary events, such as: Adidere Fakorede from Bates is #3 in the weight throw, Jake Lindacher from TCNJ and Neka Dias from Southern Maine who are both #4 in the 60 meter hurdles, Dani Bland from Emory who is #6 in the 60m and #18 in the 200m, Molly Bigeault from Southern Maine who is #7 in the pole vault and many others.  The Jumbos will use their home turf advantage to try and run some final top times and earn a trip to the NCAA Championships.

WFENCE: Saturday at NEIFC Championships at Vermont
What you need to know: The women’s fencing team heads to Vermont this Saturday for the NEIFC Championships.  Joining the Jumbos will be Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis, Dartmouth, MIT, Mount Holyoke, Sacred Heart, UMass, University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, University of Vermont and Vassar.  At the Northeast Fencing Confernce Meet #2 at the end of January, the Jumbos weren’t bale to come away with any wins.  But, at the beginning of February, they hosted the Northeast Fencing Conference Meet #3 and picked up wins over Boston University, UMass, Smith, New Hampshire and Wellesley, and were just edged by Sacred Heart.  The Jumbos will use this weekend to get ready for NCAA Regionals, as this is their last competition before NCAA competition begins.

 




 







 

Stefan Duvivier, Junior, Men’s Track and Field

Junior Stefan Duvivier is the All-New England champion in the high jump after clearing 6’10 3/4" at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championships this past weekend at the Reggie Lewis Center.  In addition to topping a field of Division I, II and III athletes from New England, Duvivier’s mark improved upon his own school record and moved up to third-best on the Division III national list for 2017.

 



 

Claire Davidson, Freshman, Women’s Squash

Freshman Claire Davidson won two of her three matches this past weekend, all at the No. 1 position for the women’s squash team, to help the Jumbos finish in the 19th position at the College Squash Association Team Nationals at Princeton this past Friday through Sunday.  Davidson opened the weekend with a 3-1 win in the first spot on Friday over Dickinson’s Hedvika Suchankova.  She wrapped up the weekend with a hard fought five game win in the top spot for the Jumbos against William Smith.  The Jumbos won both matches 6-3, and the win over William Smith helped them earn the No. 19 spot in the final rankings, completing one of the best season’s in program history.

 








 

A bunch of Jumbos earned All-NESCAC honors this week.  Junior Nik Nugnes was named to the All-NESCAC Second Team for hockey, senior tri-captain Tarik Smith picked up All-Conference honors for men’s basketball and juniors Melissa Baptista and Lauren Dillon along with senior tri-captain Michela North all earned conference honors for women’s basketball.

The women’s basketball team traveled out to Amherst for the NESCAC Tournament this past weekend.  The Jumbos beat Bowdoin in semi-final play before falling to Amherst in the NESCAC Championship game.  But, the Jumbos earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and will host first and second round games in Cousens Gym this weekend.

The men’s basketball team hosted NESCAC Tournament play in Cousens Gym this past weekend.  The Jumbos were upset in the semi-final round by Williams, but they earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament and will travel to St. John Fisher this weekend for first and second round play. The Jumbos open on Friday against Salem State.

The women’s squash team wrapped up their season at the College Squash Association Team Nationals this past weekend and the Jumbos won two of their three matches to finish the season ranked No. 19.  They beat Dickinson to open up tournament play on Friday, then fell to Franklin & Marshall in the winner’s bracket and closed out the tournament with a win over William Smith.

Senior Matt Rohrer punched his ticket to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships this past weekend, finishing as the runner-up on the 1-meter board and third in the 3-meter board at the NCAA Division III Diving Regional Championship this past weekend.