This Week in Tufts Athletics: October 24 - 30

MEDFORD – It’s a huge NESCAC week for Tufts Athletics. Men’s and women’s cross country will run at the NESCAC Championships this weekend.  Men’s soccer, women’s soccer and field hockey all face off with Bowdoin to wrap up their regular season schedules and then begin NESCAC Tournament play on Saturday. Football travels to Amherst on Saturday and volleyball will host Connecticut College on Saturday.

Both sailing teams are off to Coast Guard this weekend, the women for the Victorian Coffee Urn and the co-ed team for the Erwin Schell Trophy.  The men’s and women’s crew teams will race at the Head of the Fish regatta on Sunday.

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Field Hockey Plays For First Place in NESCAC Standings


Every time the Tufts field hockey team faces off with perennial power Bowdoin, it’s a big deal.  But, this year’s game is even bigger as the Jumbos have the chance to earn first place in the conference standings for the first time since 2010.  The Jumbos currently sit in first place the conference standings with a 7-2 mark.  Hamilton is second with a 7-3 record, and their NESCAC schedule completed.  In a four way tie for third place is Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury and Trinity.  The Jumbos and the Polar Bears face off on Wednesday, and Middlebury takes on seventh place Williams while Amherst plays Trinity. If the Jumbos win, things are nice and easy and they will secure the top seed in the tournament and hosting rights for the duration of the tournament.  If the Jumbos fall to Bowdoin, they will be in a tie for first place with Hamilton, Bowdoin, possibly Middlebury if they beat Williams and also the winner of the Trinity and Amherst game.  So, things are a lot more complicated if the Jumbos lose.

Bowdoin is 11-3 overall this year and 6-3 in conference play and were ranked No. 3 in the most recent National Field Hockey Coaches Association national poll, right in front of the No. 4 Jumbos.  The Polar Bears have suffered three one-goal losses this year, 3-2 to Middlebury, 2-1 in overtime against Hamilton and 2-1 the next day at Williams.  With wins over Amherst, 3-0, and Trinity, 1-0, the Polar Bears do have some wins against some of those top NESCAC teams.  This has been the year the Polar Bears have had to deal with the loss of two-time NESCAC Player of the Year, Rachel Kennedy, who was the program’s career leader in goals and points. The Polar Bears also lost Kim Kahnweiler to graduation, who was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year last year.

The Jumbos lost, 4-3, when the two teams faced off in Medford last year.  The Polar Bears got a penalty stroke goal with 3:04 left on the clock last year to take the 4-3 win over the Jumbos.  The Polar Bears have the advantage in the series with the Jumbos, 19-6, but the Jumbos have fared pretty well recently.  All six of those wins have come in the last eight years.  Senior Kimmy Ganong has been the offensive leader for Bowdoin, scoring 15 times this year and assisting five others.  Senior Clara Belitz has played nearly all the minutes in goal and has a 0.72 goals against average with a .625 save percentage.

Tufts at Bowdoin: VIDEO | LIVE STATS  

Men's & Women's Cross Country at NESCAC Championships

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will head up to Colby this weekend for the NESCAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Quarry Road Recreational Area in Waterville, Maine.  The Jumbos will be looking to knock off powerhouse Williams and bring home a conference title.  The Ephs won the men’s and women’s side last year, while the Jumbo women finished second and the Jumbo men earned third place, just behind Amherst.

The NESCAC is filled with ranked teams in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll.  On the men’s side Williams is third, Amherst is ranked eighth, Colby sits at NO. 14, Middlebury is No. 21 and Connecticut College is No. 31.  The Jumbos were ranked this year, but dropped out in the most recent poll.  On the women’s side Williams is ranked No. 5 just ahead of the No. 6 ranked Jumbos.  Middlebury is No. 8, Bates is No. 20 and Amherst is No. 23 to round out women’s ranked NESCAC teams.

What the Jumbos have on the men’s side that many don’t is experience.  Seniors Tim Nichols and Luke O’Connor finished fifth and sixth at last year’s meet and will be looking to make their senior year the best yet. Nichols won the Bates Invitational this year and ran the fastest time in program history 23:58 in the Gold Division race at the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh to finish 14th overall.  Nichols and O’Connor also finished first and second at the recent Connecticut College Invitational with Nichols edging O’Connor by a mere 26 seconds to win. Sophomores Dylan Jones and Andrew Doherty Munro have also been solid for the Jumbos this year, consistently placing in the top five throughout the fall.

On the women’s side the Jumbos will be looking to fill the shoes of graduated seniors Audrey Gould and Olivia Beltrani.  But, they have plenty of experience coming back, as senior Kelly Fahey and junior Brittany Bowman have been stellar for the Jumbos this fall and both have NESCAC Championship experience.  In addition to those two the Jumbos also have seniors Alice Wasserman, Samantha Cox and Lindsay Atkeson who have all been able to contribute this fall.  Sophomore Natalie Bettez has had a stellar second season with the Brown and Blue  and has been a consistent scorer for the Jumbos this fall.

Going into the weekend the Jumbo men and women both have some big meet experience this year that should help them in this weekend’s championship setting.  Hopefully good weather helps the Jumbos bring a cross country title back to Medford this weekend!

FBALL: Saturday at Amherst at 1 pm
What you need to know: Last year when the Jumbos and the Purple and White faced off it was a battle of two undefeated teams.  This year is a bit different and the Jumbos will also be hoping for a different result as last year.  The Jumbos fell 32-7 last year at home, but are hoping for better results this year on the road.  With a record of 3-2 the Purple and White are currently in fifth place in the conference standings.  Middlebury and Trinity are still both a perfect 5-0 and tied for first place while the Jumbos and Wesleyan are both tied for third place with a 4-1 mark.  The Purple and White started off the season on a good note, with a 34-0 win over Hamilton and then picked up a 31-10 win over Bowdoin.  They were just edged by Middlebury, 27-26, then topped Colby 41-0 before being shut out 2-0 this past weekend at Wesleyan. Sophomore quarterback Nick Morales is third in the conference ranks with 177.8 yards per game and sophomore running back Jack Hickey is averaging 54.4 yards per game through five games.

MSOC: Tuesday at Bowdoin at 2:30 pm and Saturday in NESCAC Tournament
What you need to know: The men’s soccer team also has a big week ahead of them, with a Tuesday match up against Bowdoin to lead them into the conference tournament which begins this Saturday.  The Jumbos are currently in second place in the conference standings and can finish no lower than second place.  But, a Jumbo win coupled with an Amherst loss or tie will give the Jumbos first place and hosting rights for the duration of the tournament.  The Purple and White narrowly beat Wesleyan this past weekend, picking up a double overtime 3-2 win, and will face off with Trinity on Wednesday. But, the only thing the Jumbos can worry about is beating Bowdoin.   The Polar Bears are 7-3-4 overall this year with a 3-3-3 mark in conference play.  The are currently in seventh place in the conference standings and will be looking for a win on Tuesday to improve that.  Bowdoin has had trouble finishing things in regulation this year, as eight of their games have gone to overtime, and six of those double overtime. Sophomore Moctar Niang is leading the offense with six goals this year.  The Jumbos tied the Polar Bears 0-0 in the regular season finale last year and then lost to them 1-0 in the NESCAC Quarterfinals.  The Jumbos have a slight advantage in the series, 9-8-3, dating back to 1999, but will absolutely be looking to avenge last year’s performance when they travel up to Brunswick on Tuesday.

WSOC: Tuesday at Bowdoin at 3 pm and Saturday in NESCAC Tournament
What you need to know: The women’s soccer team has also guaranteed themselves a place in the NESCAC Tournament and for that reason knows they have a big week coming up.  The Jumbos will face off with Bowdoin on Tuesday with a chance to improve their seeding in the conference tournament which begins on Saturday.  The Jumbos know they will be hitting the road for Saturday’s game, but they don’t know where they are headed yet.  Currently tied with Connecticut College for sixth place in the conference standings, a win over Bowdoin on Tuesday would move the Jumbos into fifth place and they would face off with the fourth place team. With a setback to Bowdoin the Jumbos would either finish in sixth or seventh place, depending on what else happened in the conference this week.  Either way, up first for the Jumbos are the Polar Bears who have a 9-4-1 record overall this year with a 5-3-1 mark in conference play. The Polar Bears started their season well, going 6-2 in the month of September.  But, since then they have compiled a 3-2-1 mark in October, most recently playing to a 0-0 tie with Connecticut College this past weekend.  The Jumbos fell to the Polar Bears, 3-2 in the regular season last year, and then faced off with them again that same week in the NESCAC Quarterfinals but weren’t able to manage a win. The Jumbos and the Polar Bears have faced off in the regular season finale and then the NESCAC Quarterfinals, both in the same week for the past three years.  In 2013, the Jumbos fell in the regular season but then topped the Polar Bears in conference tournament play. The past two years the Polar Bears have gotten the best of the Jumbos, winning in the regular season and the conference tournament.  But, the Jumbos own the 11-6-3 advantage in the series, dating back to 1999, and will be looking to put another win in the first column this week!

VBALL: Saturday vs. Connecticut College at 2 pm
What you need to know: The women’s volleyball team had a huge week last week and they will have a relatively quiet one this week as they only have one match on the schedule.  They will use that to get ready for the NESCAC Tournament which will be in Cousens Gym next weekend, November 4 through 6. But first up the Jumbos have to finish off their regular season schedule and their NESCAC docket with a 2 pm match against Connecticut College on Saturday.  The Camels are 11-9 overall this year with an even 4-4 mark in NESCAC matches.  The Camels are currently in seventh place in the conference standings with a big weekend coming up, as they need to win to help them make the conference tournament.  They will be battling for seventh through ninth place in the conference standings with Bates and Hamilton.  The Jumbos will face off with the eighth seed in the opening round of NESCAC Tournament play, and its likely to be one of those three.  The Jumbos won last year when the two teams faced off and have a 19-1 advantage in the series, dating back to 1999.


Chance Brady, Senior, Football

Senior running back and tri-captain Chance Brady had a big weekend.  He scored four touchdowns in the Jumbos 35-16 win over Williams, breaking the Tufts’ career rushing touchdowns record with 25.  The four scores also tied the team record for touchdowns in a game.  Brady rushed for 157 yards on 26 carries averaging six yards per run, and of course adding the four scores.  For his performance he was also named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week.



Kelly Klimo, Freshman, Volleyball

Rookie libero Kelly Klimo was instrumental for the Jumbos defensively in a big week.  Klimo turned in a career-high 26 digs in a 3-1 Wellesley, averaging 6.5 digs per set.  In a five-set win over MIT Klimo registered 17 digs and two service aces to help the Jumbos pick up an important win over a regional rival.  She added 12 digs in Tufts’ 3-0 win over Babson and 13 digs in a 3-0 setback to Springfield.  Klimo finished the week with 68 digs, averaging 4.53 per set and was named to the all-tournament team at the New England Challenge.


Senior forward Gaston Becherano posted his team-leading sixth game-winner during the eighth minute in a 1-0 victory over visiting Williams Saturday afternoon on Bello Field.  The Jumbos honored their seniors prior to the start of the game on Saturday.

The football team picked up a 35-16 win over Williams on Saturday as senior running back Chance Brady scored four touchdowns and broke the Tufts football program’s career rushing touchdowns record.  The four scores also tied a Tufts single-game record held by four other Jumbos.  For his performance, Brady was named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week.

The field hockey team picked up two wins this week, starting with a 6-0 win over Gordon and finishing the week with a 3-2 win over No. 20 Williams on Saturday on Senior Day at Ounjian Field.  Senior Mary Kate Patton scored the first goal at Gordon on Thursday and then picked up the third goal for the Jumbos off a penalty stroke on Saturday against Williams.  Junior Mary Travers also scored twice this week for the Jumbos.

The volleyball team had another busy week, opening the week with a 3-1 win over Wellesley on Wednesday night.  The Jumbos then fell to Springfield on Friday night at home to open play in the New England Challenge, but rebounded and beat local-rival MIT, 3-2, on Saturday and followed that with a 3-0 blanking of Babson Saturday afternoon.

Senior tri-captain Owen Elliott of the golf team received Division III All-New England honors after he just missed finishing as the medalist while leading the golf team at the New England Championship on Sunday and Monday.  Led by Elliott’s 73 on Monday morning, Tufts moved up five positions from Sunday to tie for fourth place overall.

The women’s crew team competed at the prestigious Head of the Charles this past weekend with two different boats.   The first women’s boat crossed the finish line in a time of 18:52.7, earning them a seventh-place finish. The lineup was coxswain Jill Armenia, Emma Conroy, Libby Lichter, Emma Mitchell-Sparke, Sera Busse, Prairie Hammer, Camden Myles, Natalia Kastenberg and Hayley Cohen.

The men’s crew team also raced in the Head of the Charles this past Sunday, and the Tufts Men’s 4+ of Andrew MacMillen, Doug Burt, Zach Merchant, Ashton Knight and Emily Kim earned 11th place which allows at least one Tufts entry into the event for next year’s regatta.

The starters from the co-ed sailing team took the weekend off, but the second team represented the Jumbos well with a second-place finish out of 17 teams at the Oberg Trophy held on the Charles River.  The Jumbos B team led the day by placing second in their division.  Four sailors produced the effort as sophomore Jack Bitney skippered the first through eighth races and classmate Florian Eenkema Van Dijk took over for the ninth through 12th.  Senior Natalie Danziger crewed for Bitney and senior crew Sam Gates was with Van Dijk.

The No. 16 Tufts women’s sailing team had a strong sixth-place showing out of 17 teams at the Mrs. Hurst Bowl hosted by Dartmouth.  The Jumbo nearly finished in the top five teams, but lost a head-to-head tie-breaker against Yale.  Tufts place sixth among the A division contestants.  Senior MaryClaire Kiernan skippered with classmate Julia Fuller as crew.