(Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) 11/5/16 – Medford/Somerville, MA – Tufts quarterback Alex Snyder, LA'17, attempts to avoid a diving Colby player in the game against the Colby College Mules on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016.

Teams to watch this fall

Volleyball

Fresh off an appearance in the NCAA championships’ Elite Eight, just the second time in program history the team had made it that far, the Jumbos are eyeing even greater success. They return five of their starters, most of them concentrated in strong sophomore and junior classes including sophomore All-NESCAC libero Kelly Klimo and junior setter Angela Yu.

Senior defensive specialist and captain Alex Garrett will have an important role in teaching her younger teammates how to step up into leadership roles. It will be crucial to fill the vacancies of graduated middle hitters Elizabeth Ahrens (LA ’17) and McKenzie Humann (LA ’17) who received All-American honorable mention and All-Region honorable mention respectively.

Conference play will again be key for the Jumbos as last season they managed to post a 10–0 record against regular season NESCAC opponents.

Co-Ed Sailing

Tufts sailing is coming off a year in which they found success in many different divisions. Having competed in three separate national championships at the end of the year, the Jumbos placed ninth in the Co-ed ICSA National Team Sailing Championship, fourteenth in the Co-ed ICSA Dinghy Nationals and fourteenth in the Women’s ICSA National Championship.

Sophomore skipper Charlotte Lenz discussed the team’s goals for the upcoming season.

“We qualified for all three nationals last spring which we hadn’t done in 10 years,” Lenz said. “This year [our goal is] qualifying for as many nationals as possible.”

In order to meet those goals, the Jumbos will have some holes to fill this fall as they bring in a new recruit class and look for returning team members to step up.

“We had all three of our A-team skippers graduate, but there are so many good people coming up,” Lenz said. “We have a lot of depth on our team.”

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

Both Jumbo cross country teams capped off last season with some strong individual performances. Among those, standout co-captain Tim Nichols (LA’ 17) wrapped up his impressive career with a third place finish at the men’s NCAA Championship race and senior Brittany Bowman placed 18th at the women’s NCAA Championship race, both earning All-American honors.

On the men’s side, with Nichols and co-captain Luke O’Connor (LA ’17) having graduated, the Jumbos will look to breakout performers, juniors Brian Reaney, Christian Swenson and Dylan Jones, who all placed in the top 70 at NCAA men’s cross country regional, to lead the charge this season.

The women’s team graduated seven seniors, including three who competed at the NCAA Championships and helped the Jumbos achieve their best finish — eighth — in more than a decade. Bowman and junior Natalie Bettez rounded out the five NCAA runners, and both upperclassmen will aid in spearheading this year’s campaign beginning with the Bates Invitational on Sept. 16.

Men’s and Women’s Tennis

Women’s tennis is hoping to find some early success at their fall tournaments and invitationals as a way to gear up for the spring championship season after the team advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season.

They return key juniors Tomo Iwasaki, Mina Karamercan and Julia Keller as well as senior Lauren Louks. Karamercan is coming off a strong sophomore campaign that saw her post an 18-9 record in singles play and earn All-American honors.

“We have a solid core of returners back – our top four from last year return this September … I expect many of the returners to once again make an impact,” coach Kate Bayard told the Daily in an email.

The men’s team will look to rebound this year after a disappointing 2016-17 season in which the team failed to earn a bid to the NESCAC tournament with a 4-5 record. They had qualified for the tournament in the four seasons prior. It will be a tough task to qualify again, given the NESCAC is one of the toughest conferences with seven of the 11 teams ranked in the top 25 NCAA rankings. Tufts sits at No. 17.

Field Hockey

After winning their first NESCAC championship since 2009, Tufts looks to build upon a season in which they posted a 19–3 record, making it all the way to the NCAA championship game before falling to Messiah 1–0 in double overtime. The Jumbos now have the task this Fall of replacing co-captains Nicole Arata (LA ’17) and Dominique Zarrella (LA ’17), and leading goal scorer Annie Artz (LA ’17).

Despite those losses, coach Tina McDavitt-Mattera expressed that the team is excited about returning nine of the 11 starters from last year’s team, including two 2016 All-NESCAC first team members, senior forward Mary Travers and senior defender Ellexa Thomas.

I’m very excited for the season because we have so many great players returning and they now have a year of maturity,” McDavitt-Mattera said. “Every team is different. This year’s captains need to make it their own team and different from last year.”

Football

Last year on the gridiron, the Jumbos went an impressive 7–1second only in the NESCAC to undefeated Trinity. A big hole was left in the Tufts backfield by the departure of star tailback Chance Brady (LA ’17). Junior running back Dominic Borelli served as Brady’s backup last year, so he should be eager to get some more carries.

Quarterback Alex Snyder (LA ’17) also graduated, and he is likely to be replaced by junior quarterback Ryan McDonaldMcDonald platooned with Snyder under center last year, throwing for 487 yards and rushing for 647.

The defense will feature several key seniors, including linebacker Steve DiCienzo, who was second on the team in total tackles last year, defensive linemen Doug Harrison and Micah Adickes, who were both top 10 on the team in tackles last season.

Men’s and Women’s Crew

Men’s crew capped off last season winning the men’s total point trophy at the National Invitational Rowing Championships (NIRCs). Senior Andrew MacMillan, a tri-captain from last year, will be returning to the team for his final season. He’ll be co-captain on this year’s squad with fellow senior Ashton Knight.

Women’s crew finished in sixth place at the NIRCs last season. The Jumbos have five seniors on their roster for the upcoming season, including Hayley Cohen, a tri-captain last season, and Sera Busse, the program’s first All-American First Team selection in history.

The fall season is shorter for crew, but one of the biggest highlights of the fall is the Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 22.

“It’s probably the most famous rowing event in the country,” MacMillan said. “It’s such a fun race to be a part of, and it gets people more involved in crew who aren’t usually too involved.”

Golf

The Jumbos showed their prowess on the links last season, as they finished in the top five in seven of their eight meets.

Seniors Aaron Corn and Taylor Nordan will be co-captains on this year’s squad. According to their teammates, they are no strangers to leadership.

[Corn and Nordan] have both been, experience-wise and skill-wise, leaders on the team even before their senior year,” junior Justin Feldman noted. “They’ll be looking to build on the success of the team for sure, especially since it’s their last season.”

The Jumbos will begin their season at the Detrick Invitational on Sept. 9.

Men’s Soccer

What more can be said about the 2016 season for men’s soccer? The Jumbos won the ultimate prize of Div. III with a double-overtime victory over Calvin in the National Championship game. This was the program’s second championship in three years, as they also won it all in 2014.

The Jumbos finished last season with a 15–5–2 record, leaving lofty expectations for this year’s squad. The Jumbo co-captains will be senior defender Conor Coleman and junior defender Sterling WeatherbiePerhaps the biggest void on the team was left by the departure of goalkeeper Scott Greenwood (LA ’17), who was a four-year starter for the team.

This year’s team will feature a stacked senior class that includes midfielder Christian Zazzali, midfielder Kevin Halliday, defender Stephen McMillian and midfielder Tyler Kulcsar, who scored the winning goal in the championship game last season.

Women’s Soccer

Women’s soccer finished last season with a 7–6–3 record, capped by a tough 1–0 loss in the NESCAC quarterfinals to Trinity.

This year’s squad will be co-captained by senior forward Alex Scheman and junior midfielder Emma Ranalli. Along with Scheman, four other seniors will feature on the lineup, including forward Mariah Harvey-Brown, who was second on the team in goals last year.

Harvey-Brown is optimistic that new leadership can step up in the absence of last year’s seniors.

“With any team, when good talent steps aside, that leaves room for others to step up,” the senior said. “There’s always gonna be a transition when any class leaves, it’s just about adapting quickly and having a strong team chemistry.”

Tufts will take on Emerson on Sept. 6 to start its season.

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