MEDFORD – This week is shaping up to be a sweet one, as both men’s and women’s basketball head to the Sweet 16. Both men’s and women’s track and field have athletes competing in the NCAA Indoor Championships as well and the women’s fencing team sends some members to NCAA Regionals this weekend.
Men’s and women’s lacrosse remain the only spring teams in action this week. The men have a busy week with three home games on the schedule, while the women head to Middlebury on Saturday.
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"Sweet 16" for Men's and Women's Basketball
It’s a great week to be a basketball player at Tufts. Both the men’s and the women’s teams won NCAA Regionals last weekend, picking up first and second round wins to advance to the “Sweet 16.” Both teams will hit the road this week for NCAA Sectional play, as the women travel to Washington University in St. Louis and the men head over to Babson College.
For the women, this is their sixth straight season and seventh time overall the Jumbos are in the “Sweet 16.” Joining the Jumbos in St. Louis this weekend will be University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Scranton. The Jumbos face off with Scranton on Friday at 6:30 EST while the host Bears take on UW-Oshkosh at 8 pm EST. The winners of Friday’s games play on Saturday at 8 pm EST with a trip to the “Final Four” on the line. The Jumbos were ranked fourth in the latest D3hoops.com national poll and will face off with 17th ranked Scranton. The Lady Royals are 26-3 overall this season and advanced to the “Sweet 16” with wins over University of New England and SUNY Poly this past weekend. The Jumbos and the Lady Royals faced off in NCAA Tournament play last year, as Scranton hosted sectional play and the Jumbos topped them in the “Elite 8” 57-48 to advance to their third consecutive “Final Four.”
The other game in St. Louis has the sixth ranked Bears, who are 25-2 this year, taking on No. 13 UW-Oshkosh, who owns a 26-3 record this year. Despite their recent NCAA success, the Jumbos are the least nationally decorated program in the sectional this weekend. WashU is making their 29th NCAA appearance and they have won five national championships. This will be the 30th time Scranton is in the NCAA tournament and the 14th for UW-Oshkosh. Both programs have won a national championship.
The Jumbo men are no stranger to the “Sweet 16” scene either, as they are making their second consecutive “Sweet 16” appearance this weekend at Babson. The No. 14 ranked Jumbos will take on third ranked Babson on Friday night at 8 pm. The other sectional game on Friday night has second ranked Christopher Newport taking on Keene State at 5 pm. The winners of Friday’s game play for a trip to the “Final Four” on Saturday at 7 pm.
The Jumbos and the Beavers are local rivals and have played plenty in the past few years. The Beavers beat the Jumbos earlier this season in the title game of the Big Four Challenge. Babson is 27-2 this year, with a double overtime loss to Amherst back in December and a loss to MIT in the NEWMAC Tournament Final a couple weeks ago. Wins over Husson and Skidmore helped the Beavers advance to the sectional this weekend. Joey Flannery is averaging 22.7 points per game this year to lead the Beavers.
The other sectional game features Christopher Newport, who have won 21 straight games and were in the “Final Four” last year, taking on Keene State. The Owls are back in the “Sweet 16” for the second year in a row after beating fifth-ranked Ramapo this past weekend, 92-91, in overtime. The Captains have two setbacks this year, one to Marietta and one to Salisbury, both in first semester play. Keene State lost to Eastern Connecticut State in the Little East Conference tournament final, but they had a great regional, beating Amherst, 69-66, and then upsetting Ramapo, 92-91, in overtime.
Championship Time for Men's and Women's Track and Field
Both the men’s and women’s track team will be represented at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday in Naperville, Ilinois as the teams travel to North Central College. The men are sending four Jumbos to the Midwest, while the women have two Jumbos heading that way.
On the women’s side juniors Brittany Bowman and Annalisa DeBari will compete at the national meet. DeBari is the eighth seed in the 60-meter hurdles. She will be in the preliminaries on Friday at 2:30 pm and will need to be in the top eight to qualify for Saturday’s 2:35 pm final. Bowman is seeded 12th in the 5,000 meters and will run a straight final on Friday at 5 pm. Bowman hit her qualifying mark at the first meet of the season at the BU Season Opener on December 3. DeBari ran her qualifying time of 8.85 seconds in the 60 hurdles on Saturday at the Tufts Final Qualifying Meet. The mark was 0.21 faster than her previous season-best time of 9.06 seconds and vaulted her into the NCAA field. Neither Bowman nor DeBari have NCAA track championship experience, but Bowman has run in the national cross country race. She was an All-American in 2017 at the NCAA Cross Country Championship this past November.
On the men’s side four Jumbos will be getting on a plan this weekend. Senior Tim Nichols, junior Stefan Duvivier and sophomores Josh Etkind and Hiroto Watanabe all qualified to compete at the NCAA Indoor Division III Championship. It will be the first NCAA trip for all but Nichols, who is no stranger to the national scene as he competed at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets last year and has four years of NCAA cross country events under his belt. He is qualified in two events for this year’s meet. He is ranked No. 1 in the 5,000 meters with a blistering 14:19.45 that he ran at home in the Gantcher Center on February 4. He is also in the 3,000 meter run at No. 12 with an 8:21.51. He will run a straight final for the 5K on Friday at 5:25 pm and then a straight final in the 3K on Saturday at 5:15 pm.
Duvivier enters the meet with a high seed as well as he is second in the high jump. His 6’10 3/4" (2.10m) qualifying mark won the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association (NEICAAA) title on February 24. He is entered in a straight final at the meet this weekend on Saturday at 11 am. Watanabe will run the 800 meters, a race he ran his qualifying mark for this past Saturday at the Tufts Final Qualifier. His previous season-best of 1:54.13 would have got him in as well, but the new time put him in the top 10 (ranked 9th). The preliminary race will be on Friday at 5:20 pm with the final (he needs to finish in the top eight to make that) scheduled for 4:25 pm on Saturday. Rounding out the Jumbos in Illinois will be Etkind who blazed a time of 8.16 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles at the NEICAAA meet on February 24, which is good for the No. 12 seed in the NCAA event.
The men finished 21st as a team last year, and will look to get back into the top 20 after finishing 15th in both 2014 and 2015. The NCAA meet is being held at the Res Rec Center in Naperville, Illinois.
MLAX: Wednesday vs. Keene State at 3:30 pm, Friday vs. Middlebury at 6 pm and Sunday vs. Endicott at 3 pm
What you need to know: After picking up a win in their first game of the season this past weekend, the men’s lacrosse team has a busy week at home ahead. The Jumbos, who were ranked No. 3 in the most recent USILA national poll, will start the week with a 3:30 pm tilt against Keene State on Wednesday. On Friday, the Jumbos open NESCAC play as Middlebury visits Medford for a 6 pm start. The Jumbos round out the week at home on Bello with a Sunday game against Endicott with a 3 pm start. First up for the Jumbos is Keene State. The Owls are currently 1-1 after opening their season with a win over Western New England and then falling to RPI. The Jumbos won, 21-13, last year when the two teams faced off, and have the 3-0 advantage in the series, dating back to 1999. On Friday the Jumbos open up NESCAC play with Middlebury visiting Medford. The Jumbos and the Panthers have a close history, as the Jumbos won twice last year, once in the regular season and then again in the NESCAC Championship game, and with those two wins took a 12-11 advantage in the series all time, dating back to 1999. The Panthers opened their season this year with wins over Connecticut College and Endicott. Junior Henry Riehl leads the Panther offense with eight goals in the two games and senior Jake Schneider has scored five times in two games. Senior Will Ernst has started both games in goal for the Panthers and has a 59.1 save percentage and a 9.0 goals against average. The Jumbos will round out the busy week with a Sunday contest against Endicott at home. The Gulls have started a bit rough, with an 0-3 mark, but all have been good opponents as they lost to Stevens and Union (who were both getting votes in the USILA national poll) by just one goal, and then fell to No. 12 Middlebury. The two teams played a close one last year, as the Jumbos picked up an 11-10 overtime win. That win gave the Jumbos the 14-3 advantage in the series, dating back to 1999. Will Jennings is leading the Gull offense with seven goals and five assists so far this year.
WLAX: Sunday at Middlebury at 2 pm
What you need to know: The women’s lacrosse team started their season on the right foot this past weekend, picking up a 12-5 win over MIT this past weekend. Sophomore Dakota Adamec scored five times to lead the Jumbos offensively. The Jumbos now have the week to prepare to take on defending national champion, Middlebury, on the road on Sunday at 2 pm. The Panthers were 22-1 last year, with that lone loss coming to Trinity in the regular season. They then beat the Bantams in both the NESCAC Championship game and the National Championship game. However, they did graduate their three leading scorers in Bridget Instrum (63 goals), Laurel Pascal (51 goals) and Alli Sciaretta (45 goals). They welcome back senior Mary O’Connell who scored 36 times during her junior campaign. The Panthers have a game under their belts this season and O’Connell notched four goals while Emily Barnard scored three times and Emma McDonagh added three of her own. In goal for the Panthers, freshman Julia Keith made the start, but both sophomore Kate Furber and junior Alex Freedman saw significant minutes. The Jumbos lost to the Panthers twice last year, once during the regular season and then again in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. The Panthers were ranked No. 1 in the most recent Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association national poll.
WFENCE: Sunday at NCAA Regional Championships at Yale
What you need to know: The women’s fencing team has rounded out their regular season after competing at the NEIFC Championships this past weekend at Vermont. The Jumbos now have seven Jumbos that will compete at the NCAA Fencing Regional hosted by Yale this Sunday. Juniors Bridget Marturano and Nayab Ajaz will compete in saber, senior foil captain Juliet Hewes and sophomore Zoe Howard in foil and senior co-captains Anna Gooch and Chandler Coble and junior Grace Tellado in epee.
Vincent Pace, Junior, Men’s Basketball
Junior Vincent Pace helped the Jumbos pick up NCAA Tournament First and Second Round wins at St. John Fisher this past weekend. On Friday night in the Jumbos 84-81 win over Salem State the guard scored 13 points with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. He then exploded for 37 points to lead the Jumbos to a 94-81 win over host St. John Fisher on Saturday evening, adding six rebounds and an assist to his efforts. With the wins the Jumbos advanced to the NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16.”
Jac Knapp, Sophomore, Women’s Basketball
Sophomore Jac Knapp had a breakout weekend for the No. 4 Tufts women’s basketball team this past weekend. She was the Jumbos leading scorer in two NCAA wins this past weekend in Cousens Gym. On Friday night in the Jumbos 65-44 win over Saint Joseph’s of Maine she scored 18 points with five rebounds and four assists. She then added 13 points with four rebounds and two assists in the Jumbos 64-44 win over Husson on Saturday evening. The Jumbos won both NCAA Tournament First Round and Second Round games this weekend, advancing to the “Sweet 16” this weekend.
The No. 4 women’s basketball team was home this past weekend, and they picked up two NCAA Tournament wins to advance to the Sweet 16. The Jumbos opened tournament play with a 65-44 win over St. Joseph’s of Maine on Friday night. They then topped Husson on Saturday evening to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16.
The No. 14 men’s basketball team won two important games and earned a trip to the Sweet 16 this past weekend as well. The Jumbos were on the road at St. John Fisher and opened up tournament play with a win over Salem State on Friday night. The Jumbos then topped the host Cardinals on Saturday behind a career-high 37 points from junior Vincent Pace.
Junior Annalisa DeBari had a great day in Gantcher this past Saturday, exploding for a time of 8.85 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. DeBari entered the meet ranked No. 36 nationall with a 9.06 time. Her 8.85 was 0.21 faster than her previous time, moving her up to No. 8 in the national standings.
At the final qualifying meet at Gantcher on Saturday Hiroto Watanabe of the men’s track and field team lowered his season-best time in the 800 meters by almost a second. His time of 1:53.50 on Saturday improved upon his previous season-best of 1:54.13.
The men’s lacrosse team opened their 2017 campaign on the road on Saturday with a convincing 19-6 win at Stevens. Senior Austin Carbone scored four goals with three assists to the lead the Jumbos offense, and sophomore Ben Shmerler and junior Robert Treiber split time in goal making eight and nine saves, respectively.
The women’s lacrosse team started off with a tally in the win column as well, traveling over to MIT and handing the Engineers a 12-5 setback on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Dakota Adamec was the offensive leader, finishing with five goals. The Jumbos get right back to work this week, preparing to take on Middlebury, the 2016 NCAA National Champion, this weekend on the road.
The women’s fencing team earned a strong fourth-place finish out of 14 teams at the 2017 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championship this past weekend. The Jumbos finished behind Brandeis, MIT and Boston College. The Jumbos were fifth in both the saber squad standings and the epee squad rankings and were sixth in the foil.