First-year running back Mike Pedrini leaps over a Bowdoin player in Tufts' 31–3 Homecoming win on Oct. 7, 2017. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily

Fall and Winter Seasons in Review

Men’s Cross Country

The men’s cross country team capped a successful season at Div. III New England Regionals in Gorham, Maine on Nov. 11. The Jumbos earned top-10 finishes in their seven meets this season, culminating in an eighth-place resultout of the 55 teams at the regional meet.

Rising senior Colin Raposo was consistently a top finisher for Tufts throughout the season. This remained the case at New England Regionals, as the Burlington, Mass. native competed in the eight-kilometer course in 26:13.8 for 35th place. Following Raposo for the Jumbos were rising seniors Dylan Jones (51st), Andrew Doherty Munro (54th) and Brian Reaney (55th). Rising senior Christian Swenson finished fifth for Tufts with a 64th-place finish, giving the team a total score of 259 points.

Even more impressive might be what the Jumbos were able to accomplish off the course. Tufts had six runners earn individual Academic All-American honors, and the team as whole also won the award. Raposo, Doherty Munro, Jones and Swenson were joined by rising senior Hiroto Watanabe and rising sophomore Patrick Nero as individual winners. The team finished with a cumulative 3.44 GPA.

Tufts will return all but four of its runners next year, including all those who qualified for New England Regionals. This sets up the Jumbos for a promising 2018 season, during which they can build on the strong foundation developed this season.

Women’s Cross Country

The Tufts women’s cross country team finished its season on a high note with a seventh-place showing at the NCAA Championships in Elsah, Ill. Not only did the Jumbos run well as a team toward the end of the fall, but they placed runners in the top three at a trio of meets.

At the NESCAC Championships in Gray, Maine, Tufts finished third behind Williams and Middlebury with 82 points. Two weeks later, coach Kristen Morwick’s team secured a runner-up finish at the Div. III New England Regional in Gorham, Maine — its second in the last three years. The Jumbos blew past their competitors at the latter competition, besting 54 opposing teams.

In addition to their dominance as a team, Tufts’ individual runners turned in solid performances. Graduating senior co-captain Brittany Bowman led the team both on and off the course. The Camden, Maine native logged her best finish at the NCAA Championships with an 11th-place result, earning All-American honors for the second time in her cross country career. Bowman also recorded a personal record at the regional meet, posting a six-kilometer time of 20:44.2.

Several Jumbos are on the rise for the program, including rising seniors Natalie Bettez, Olivia Barnett and Kelsey Tierney. Bettez finished sixth, just two seconds behind Bowman, at the NESCAC championship meet. Rising sophomore Carly Curcuru, who placed ninth in her first collegiate meet, is an athlete to keep an eye on next season, as the Jumbos look to break through with a victory at Regionals and an even stronger performance at the NCAA Championships.

Field Hockey

Following their loss in the 2016 national title game, the Jumbos entered the 2017 campaign with high expectations and a No. 2 national ranking to boot. The season began well, with wins in seven of the team’s first nine games. Despite the early success, the Jumbos faced clear challenges. After outscoring opponents by an average of 2.23 goals per game in 2016, that figure shrunk to 1.70 goals per game this season. The smaller margin for error showed in the team’s five losses, all of which came by a single goal.

Nonetheless, the Jumbos rode an 8–2 conference record to the second seed in the NESCAC tournament. In the quarterfinals, however, Tufts suffered a surprising 2–1 defeat to seventh-seeded Bowdoin after allowing a pair of second-half goals. Despite not receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the 11–5 Jumbos could still celebrate a number of individual performances.

Graduating senior forward Mary Travers led the team in goals (seven) and points (20) and was named First Team All-Conference for the second consecutive year. The Jumbos will also lose the scoring and leadership of graduating senior midfielders Celia Lewis and co-captain Mary Kate Patton, each of whom tallied four goals. Rising senior defender Issy Del Priore was named NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, combining with graduating seniors Amanda Weeks and co-captain Ellexa Thomas to anchor the defense. With Del Priore returning next year to lead the back line, and rising senior goalie Emily Polinski (10–5, 0.83 goals against) in net, Tufts again has reason for optimism.

Football

Though Tufts’ 5–4 record in 2017 represents a step back from last year’s 7–1 season, this fall marked the fourth straight season in which the team has finished .500 or better. The last time the Jumbos accomplished this feat was from 1988 to 1991. Tufts defeated Hamilton, Bates, Bowdoin, Williams and Colby, but fell to perennial NESCAC contenders Wesleyan, Trinity, Amherst and Middlebury.

This year, all four captains were on the defensive side of the ball, with graduating seniors linebacker Steve DiCienzo, defensive back J.P. Garcia, defensive lineman Doug Harrison and defensive back Brett Phillips filling the leadership roles. Graduating senior defensive lineman Micah Adickes earned First Team All-NESCAC honors, as did rising junior linebacker Greg Holt. Adickes led Tufts with 9.5 sacks — second in the NESCAC — while Holt plugged the middle and posted 84 tackles, third most in the conference. Harrison, graduating senior linebacker Zach Thomas and rising senior defensive back Tim Preston were voted to the All-NESCAC Second Team.

Tufts benefited from two All-NESCAC players on the offensive line, with rising senior Tim Reitzenstein posting a First Team-worthy season and graduating senior Liam Thau earning Second Team honors. Rising senior quarterback Ryan McDonald passed for 1,879 yards and added a team-leading 722 rushing yards, and rising sophomore running back Mike Pedrini punched in eight touchdowns. Rising senior wide receiver Jack Dolan led Tufts in receptions (44) and receiving yards (566), while also leading the NESCAC in all-purpose yards with 147 yards per game. Tufts graduates 17 seniors, but with so many contributors returning, the Jumbos will look for a return to championship contention next year.

Men’s soccer

The men’s soccer team turned in another stellar performance this season, advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament (where it lost 1–0 to Brandeis in double-overtime) and dropping just four games all year. The Jumbos boasted a 15–2–4 overall record and went 7–1–2 in the NESCAC, one of the most competitive conferences in all of Div. III.

Tufts also won the NESCAC championship for the first time in program history, defeating Middlebury 1–0 in a thrilling finish. Rising junior midfielder Brett Rojas netted the winning goal for the Jumbos in the 88th minute. Graduating senior midfielder Dexter Eichorst played rising junior midfielder Zach Lane into space in the right channel, and Lane’s cross found a sprinting Rojas in the box, where he headed the ball into the bottom left corner.

Tufts then faced St. Joseph’s (Maine) and Johns Hopkins in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, respectively. Both games were decided on penalty kicks, after the teams played a scoreless regulation followed by two scoreless overtime periods. On both occasions, rising senior goalie Conner Meith made two phenomenal saves in the shootout to propel the Jumbos to the next round.

In the Elite Eight, neither Tufts nor Brandeis could find an answer to the other’s defense, and regulation ended 0–0. The Judges capitalized on a defensive error with a minute to go in the second overtime period, ending the game, and with it the Jumbos’ dreams of a third national championship in four years.

Graduating senior defender and co-captain Conor Coleman was awarded the United Soccer Coaches’ National Scholar Player of the Year for Div. III and was named First Team All-American. The Phoenix, Ariz. native was on the team for both the 2014 and the 2016 national championships and was integral to Tufts’ impenetrable defense, which allowed just two goals all season. Graduating senior midfielder Tyler Kulcsar was also named Third Team All-American. The Jumbos are graduating seven seniors in Coleman, Eichhorst, Kulcsar, midfielder Kevin Halliday, goalie Bruce Johnson, midfielder Christian Zazzali and defender Matt Zinner.

Women’s soccer

The women’s soccer program continued to show signs of improvement and confidence in 2017, as the Jumbos finished the season with a 10–6–3 record — an improvement from their 7–6–3 mark last year. Tufts’ conference record also improved from 5–4–1 to 6–2–2 this year. While the Jumbos might be concerned about their drop-off in goal scoring (from 1.50 goals per game in 2016 to 1.37 this year), there is much to be optimistic about going into next year.

Rising senior goalkeeper Emily Bowers gave the team reliability as the last line of defense, as she led the conference in saves with 82 and posted a 0.96 goals against average. Bowers’ leadership and prowess at the back was recognized with an All-American nod — a first for any Tufts player since 2010.

Up front, rising sophomore midfielder/forward Sophie Lloyd had an immediate impact, finishing tied for second in the NESCAC in scoring with 11 goals in her debut season. Bowers, Lloyd and rising senior defender Taylor Koscho received All-New England honors, while rising senior midfielder and co-captain Emma Ranalli joined them with All-NESCAC accolades. Tufts coach Martha Whiting received her fourth NESCAC Coach of the Year award in her 19th year with the program.

In the NESCAC quarterfinals, Tufts defeated Trinity 1–0 with Lloyd knocking a long pass from Bowers’ into the net. The Jumbos then took down the Hamilton Continentals in the semifinals, 3–2, thanks to a pair of second-half goals. In the championship game, top-seeded Williams came from behind to defeat Tufts 2–1 in overtime for its eighth NESCAC title.

The Jumbos’ season came to a close in the first round of the NCAA Tournament — their first appearance since 2007 — where they fell 3–2 to the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins.

Volleyball

The Tufts volleyball team recorded its second straight undefeated conference record in the regular season (100) this fall, posting a 237 overall record. The Jumbos’ dominance of their NESCAC foes was reflected in the major statistical categories. Rising junior middle hitter Heather Holz led the conference in hitting percentage (.332), rising junior libero Kelly Klimo was fifth with 489 digs and rising senior outside hitter Mackenzie Bright tallied 306 kills, good for third in the conference.

Following its loss in the NCAA quarterfinals to Southwestern (Texas) in 2016, Tufts earned another NCAA Tournament berth this season. After defeating UMass Boston in the NCAA regional first round at Johnson and Wales University, 30, the Jumbos fell to MIT in the regional semifinals, 32.

The Jumbos graduate only one player this year, although senior captain defensive specialist Alex Garrett will not be easy to replace. Garrett was one of just five players on the team to play in every match. The Allendale, N.J. native was second on the team in digs behind Klimo with 269 and led the team in service aces.

Also posting impressive seasons, Bright and Klimo were named to the All-NESCAC First Team. It was Bright’s first time receiving the honor and Klimo’s second straight year being named to an all-conference team. Additionally, coach Cora Thompson was named the NESCAC Coach of the Year for the second straight year and her sixth time overall.

Men’s basketball

Coming off a 2016–17 season in which they went 22–7 and reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, the Jumbos experienced somewhat of a drop-off in their 2017–18 campaign. The team posted a 17–8 overall record and a 6–4 mark in the NESCAC to earn the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament.

Tufts’ lone postseason game came in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Tournament, as the team matched up against third-seeded Hamilton on Feb. 17. The Continentals knocked the Jumbos out of the tournament with a 91–82 victory in Clinton, N.Y. 

This year’s squad featured six seniors, including guards and co-captains Vincent Pace, Ben Engvall, Everett Dayton and Thomas Lapham. The four captains will be walking on May 20 along with fellow graduating senior guards Kene Adigwe and KJ Garrett. 

Pace led the team in scoring and rebounding this season, averaging 18.3 points and 8.3 boards per game. The Bridgewater, N.J. native was also a First Team All-NESCAC selection after finishing third in the conference in scoring. Pace also received Second Team All-NESCAC recognition in his sophomore year.

The team’s second-leading scorer this season was rising junior guard Eric Savage, who averaged 13.6 points per game and will likely take an even larger role in the Jumbos’ offense next season. Garrett, who transferred to Tufts from Div. I University of Washington before his junior season, averaged 9.9 points per game in a bench role.

With many key upperclassmen departing this spring, the Jumbos will have to find a new identity next season.

Women’s basketball

The Tufts women’s basketball team soared high this winter. The Jumbos finished with a 26–5 overall record and an 8–2 mark in conference play. The team advanced to the NESCAC championship game for the third straight year, falling to undefeated Amherst in a hard-fought 44–40 performance. The Jumbos’ strong season came to a close in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost 66–48 to the Bowdoin Polar Bears.

While the team’s season did not end with the championship victories it desired, it nonetheless had much to celebrate. Three Jumbos — graduating senior guard and co-captain Lauren Dillon, gradating senior forward and co-captain Melissa Baptista and rising sophomore guard/forward Emily Briggs — earned All-NESCAC honors for their superb play. Briggs was named Rookie of Year, while Dillon and Baptista were First Team selections. Dillon and Baptista were also selected to the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region teams, and Baptista received D3hoops.com All-American Third Team recognition, as well. Baptista brought home more honors, as she was selected to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Div. III Coaches All-American Team, along with rising junior guard/forward Erica DeCandido, who was given honorable mention. Additionally, graduating senior guard Gina Doyle received NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team honors.

With her storied career drawing to a close, Baptista ranks third all-time in points scored and fifth in rebounds. Dillon also left her name in the program’s record books, as she is top in Tufts history in both assists and steals. Despite losing key contributors in Baptista, Dillon, Doyle and graduating senior guard Jennie Mucciarone, the Jumbos are positioned for success next year with the returns of Briggs, DeCandido and a host of other talented players, including rising senior guard Jac Knapp (10.9 points per game).

Hockey

The Tufts ice hockey team had a very challenging season, posting an overall record of 5­–16–4 and a conference mark of 4–11–3. Though their 2017–18 record represented a step back from their 11–11–3 record a year ago, the Jumbos learned a great deal about how they function as a team and how they can improve ahead of next season.

The team had four conference wins, defeating Amherst, Hamilton, Williams and Bowdoin, and one non-conference win against King’s College (Penn.). Tufts also drew against Wesleyan, Endicott, Middlebury and Conn. College.

Despite the drop-off from last season, Tufts slipped into the NESCAC Tournament, thanks to a crucial 4–2 win over Bowdoin on the last weekend of the regular season. The Jumbos took on the top-seeded Trinity Bantams in the quarterfinals, ultimately losing 2–0 in a hard-fought contest.

Graduating senior Brian Brown led the team with 16 points on nine goals and seven assists. Right behind him was rising junior forward Tyler Scroggins, who recorded six goals and seven assists (13 points). Rising sophomore forward Mason Babbidge was third, with four goals and four assists for a total of eight points.

The Jumbos featured six seniors this year: Brown and fellow forward Nick Flanagan, defensemen Dan Kelly (co-captain) and Trevor Davis, as well as goalies Nik Nugnes (co-captain) and Ryan McConnell.

Nugnes (.253 goals against average) made 570 saves in his final season in net for Tufts, while rising sophomore goalie Drew Hotte made 121 saves in seven games.

Although the results of the 2017–18 season were not ideal for the Jumbos, with many young players set to take on larger roles, there is reason for optimism. 

Fencing

Tufts’ fencers posted a resilient performance on the strip during the 2018 season. The team finished in seventh place out of 14 competing schools at the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Championships in February. With their performances throughout the season, seven Jumbos qualified for the NCAA Regional at Brandeis. There, graduating senior sabre fencer Bridget Marturano led the group, advancing to the fourth and final round, while rising senior foilist Zoe Howard advanced to the third round.

The Jumbos competed in a trio of multi-team meets earlier in the season, in which they won seven matches and lost 11. January’s tournament at Boston College represented a difficult start for the team, as it won just once, against Dartmouth.

However, during the Northeast Fencing Conference Multi-Meet at Smith College in early February, Tufts overcame an injury to rising junior épéeist Brie Gates to record three victories. Two weeks later, at Fairleigh Dickinson, the team again won three of its six matches, taking down LIU-Post, Queens College and Hunter College.

The Jumbos concluded their 2018 campaign at the NCAA Regional on March 11. Besides Marturano and Howard, Tufts was represented by rising sophomore foilist Georgia Kollias, graduating senior foilist and co-captain Julia O’Gara, rising senior épéeist Annie Ayala, graduating senior sabre fencer Nayab Ajaz and rising junior sabre fencer Lucy Pavlovich. The Jumbos’ seven entrants match their total from last year’s NCAA Regional. Unlike in 2017, though, the team sent a pair of first-year fencers to the regional championship. Thus, coach David Sach‘s squad has plenty of reason for optimism heading into next year.

Men’s squash

With rising senior captains Brett Raskopf and Aidan Porges leading the way, a youthful men’s squash team ended its winter campaign with a respectable record of 10–12, including four wins over NESCAC opponents.

In its first season with coach Joe Raho at the helm, Tufts struggled early on, suffering a 9–0 blowout loss to Amherst on Nov. 17 and a heartbreaking 5–4 defeat against fellow NESCAC member Hamilton the next day. Still, in what would become a pattern for the Jumbos, they bounced back well from the disappointing losses. The team dominated three straight matches, beating both Bard College and Boston College 9–0 and Wesleyan 7–2.

A busy January schedule, in which it played nine matches in 18 days, drained the squad. Tufts fell to Hobart on Jan. 10 after losing in the first five positions on the ladder, though the team salvaged a 5–4 final score by winning the bottom four matches.

In February, Tufts traveled to Clinton, N.Y. for the NESCAC Tournament. The Jumbos were placed in the consolation bracket after losing their first match to the Bowdoin Polar Bears, 6–3. After another loss to Conn. College — a team Tufts beat earlier in the season — the men from Medford ended the tournament on a high note, besting Wesleyan again, 8–1.

The team finished its season by placing third in the Conroy Cup at the College Squash Association Nationals, thanks to a key 6–3 win over Haverford. With the result, the Jumbos ended the winter ranked No. 27 in the country.

Women’s squash

In its first season under coach Joe Raho, the women’s squash team finished the 2017–2018 season ranked No. 19 in the nation with a 15–7 record.

The young Jumbos squad, which featured just two seniors, was captained by rising senior Chista Irani. Nonetheless, the team posted one of its best records in recent seasons thanks to solid contributions from underclassmen. Rising sophomore Julie Yeung played in the No. 1 spot on the Jumbos’ ladder all season. The San Jose, Calif. native held her own against the nation’s top players in her first year of college squash, recording 11 individual wins and earning Second Team All-NESCAC honors. Rising junior Claire Davidson provided a steady presence in the second spot for the Jumbos.

Tufts opened its season with a difficult match against NESCAC foe Amherst, which they ultimately dropped 7–2. However, the Jumbos responded with a 6–0 unbeaten run to head into the winter break with a 6–1 record.

The team faced a busy travel schedule in the new year, playing all eight of their matches in January on the road. During this stretch, Tufts picked up wins against three NESCAC opponents in Conn. College, Bowdoin and Colby.

In February, Tufts traveled to Hamilton for the NESCAC Championships, where the team sandwiched a win over Hamilton between losses to Amherst and Bates. The Jumbos concluded their season with the Walker Cup in the C division bracket of the College Squash Association Championships at Harvard. After defeating St. Lawrence and falling to Bates, Tufts defeated Wesleyan 7–2 in the third-place match.

Men’s swimming and diving

This winter, the Jumbos achieved one of their best performances in program history. The team ended Williams’ 15-year reign on top of the NESCAC when it won its first-ever conference title, becoming the first team other than Williams and Middlebury to do so. The squad’s seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships was its best since a sixth-place result in 1982, when 2018 NESCAC Coach of the Year Adam Hoyt was a toddler. Of the 11 Jumbos who competed at the national championship, 10 returned with All-American honors.

Rising junior Roger Gu had an unbelievable season, breaking the conference record in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and bringing home a medal in all seven of his races at NCAAs. Rising senior Kingsley Bowen also had an incredible year, which he capped with four medals at the national meet, two of which came from third-place finishes in both the 100 and 200 backstroke.

While their season was chock-full of standout showings, the Jumbos perhaps performed best in the relay events. For the first time in Hoyt’s 14 seasons at Tufts, the team qualified for all five relays at Nationals, finishing in the top eight in each one.

Although Tufts will graduate 12 athletes — four of whom competed at the NCAA Championships — the team showed strength across all classes and should return to the pool as hungry as ever in November.

Women’s swimming & diving

The women’s swimming and diving team capped off a season of improvement by building on last year’s eighth-place finish at the NESCAC Championships with a fourth-place showing this season — the team’s best result since 2013. The highlight of the competition at Williams was graduating senior captain Anna Kimura’s second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:19.44. As a result, Kimura went on to represent the Jumbos at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.

Other top-six performances at NESCACs came from rising sophomore Lily Kurtz in the 200 breaststroke (2:23.93), rising senior Colleen Doolan in the 200 butterfly (2:07.30), Kimura in the 200-yard individual medley (2:07.45) and rising sophomore Amber Chong in the one-meter diving competition. The Jumbos also snagged fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the 800-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard medley relay, respectively, including a school record in the latter.

Graduating senior captains Alli Dorneo and Jess Lee competed for the last time at the NESCAC championship meet. Their careers started with that of coach Adam Hoyt, who took the head coaching job of the women’s team in 2015. Under Hoyt’s guidance, the Jumbos will look to carry over their momentum from this year into the next.

Men’s indoor track and field

The Tufts men’s track and field team turned in a highly successful indoor season, which included a first-place finish at the New England Div. III Championships — its second victory in as many years at the regional championship. The Jumbos also tied for 13th out of the 66 teams at the NCAA Championships. This result was a large improvement on last year’s finish, when the team finished 18th at the national championship meet.

In January, Tufts registered second-place results at both the Bowdoin Invitational and the inaugural Branwen Smith-King Invitational. The team also placed second of five teams at the Cupid Challenge on Feb. 2–3, before performing well in a number of non-scored events throughout the rest of the month in the build-up to the New England Division III Championships.

Both graduating senior co-captain Drew DiMaiti and rising senior Hiroto Watanabe became New England champions at the regional meet, hosted by Middlebury. DiMaiti won the 600 meters in 1:20.60, while Watanabe took the 800 meters in 1:54.81.

At the NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala., graduating senior Stefan Duvivier dominated the high jump competition, winning the national title with an effort of 2.20 meters. Watanabe finished a respectable sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 1:53.64 to earn All-American honors for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Tufts’ distance medley team of rising seniors Christian Swenson and Colin Raposo, rising junior Matt D’Anieri and DiMaiti placed eighth in 10:00.49 to garner All-American honors.

Replacing DiMaiti and Duvivier will be difficult, but coach Joel Williams’ squad has the skill and experience required to build on its stellar 2017–18 performance.

Women’s indoor track and field

The women’s track and field team fell just short of its goal to break into the top three at the Div. III New England Championships, a feat the team accomplished last year. However, the Jumbos continued a run of fine form that has spanned the past few years. The 2017–18 season featured numerous nationally ranked performances, and the team impressively tied for 11th at the NCAA Championships in March — an improvement on last year’s tie for 41st.

The indoor season kicked off at the Boston University Season Opener on Dec. 2 before continuing after the winter break with the Tufts Invitational. Though the latter meet was unscored, the Jumbos recorded first-place finishes in four different events at the Gantcher Center. The team continued to find success at the Bowdoin Invitational, Branwen Smith-King Invitational and Cupid Challenge before placing fourth at Div. III New Englands.

At the regional meet, the team was spearheaded by graduating senior co-captains Brittany Bowman and Annalisa DeBari. Bowman was the runner-up in the 3,000 meters, while DeBari placed third in the 60-meter hurdles. In the field events, graduating senior co-captain Jennifer Sherwill finished eighth in the shot put.

Last year, only Bowman and DeBari qualified for the national championship meet, yet this year, the Jumbos tripled their representation by sending six women to NCAAs. In the 5,000 meters, Bowman defeated Ithaca senior Taryn Cordani, the defending national champion, with a blistering time of 16:31.32, setting a new school record for Tufts by nearly 11 seconds. DeBari placed fifth in the 60-meter hurdles for the second consecutive year. Rising junior Rhemi Toth, rising junior Julia Gake, rising sophomore Olivia Martin and rising senior Sarah Perkins finished 10th in the distance medley relay to round out the Jumbos’ performance at Nationals.

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