MEDFORD - Head coach Martha Whiting's Tufts University women's soccer team earned its sixth NCAA Division III Championship berth and first since 2007 today when the Jumbos received an at-large invitation into the 2017 tournament field.
Tufts (10-5-3) will travel to The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing Township for a four-team NCAA Regional later this week. The Jumbos will play Virginia Wesleyan University (14-6-1) in the first round on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Undefeated Host TCNJ (18-0-0) will face Roger Williams (14-7-2) in the other first-round match at the site on Saturday at 11 a.m. The first-round winners will then play in the second round on Sunday at 1 p.m. for a berth into the NCAA "Sweet 16." The teams are ultimately looking to advance to the NCAA Championship semi-finals which will be held in Greensboro, North Carolina December 1-2.
Coach Whiting has twice directed Tufts into the NCAA "Final Four." Tufts hosted the semi-finals and championship game on Kraft Field in 2001. In the semi-finals, they defeated Wisconsin-Stevens Point 1-0 in overtime to earn a berth into the championship game. Against TCNJ in the NCAA final the Jumbos lost 2-1 on a last-second goal. When Tufts earned a spot in the 2005 "Final Four," TCNJ was a thorn in the Jumbos' side again winning 3-0. Tufts has a 10-4-4 mark in NCAA play overall with other berths coming in 1998, 2002 and 2007.
The Jumbos are enjoying a resurgent season in 2017. Their 6-2-2 finish in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regular-season was their best since 2010. They earned the #4 seed in the conference tournament and defeated #5 seed Trinity 1-0 to gain their first NESCAC semi-final berth since 2012. The Jumbos then twice came from behind to defeat Hamilton College 3-2 in the semi-finals, advancing to the conference championship game for the first time since 2005. Tufts led host and #1 seed Williams College 1-0 with 10 minutes remaining in the final, but the Ephs scored to tie it and then won in overtime 2-1.
The Virginia Wesleyan Marlins also received an at-large berth into the 2017 NCAA Tournament field after losing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) semi-finals to Bridgewater (Va.) 2-1. Making their 11th NCAA appearance, the Marlins have a 6-9-4 record in the tournament.
Earning their 26th NCAA bid, TCNJ is one of the most successful programs in the country. The Lions have won three national championships and have been the runner-up four times while building a 56-21-4 NCAA record. Roger Williams is in its seventh NCAA Championship and has a 4-6 record in the tournament.
More information will be added to this release as it becomes available.