Jumbos prepare for challenging fall season

Football

Tufts finished its 2017 season sixth in the NESCAC with a 5–4 record. Despite this decline from a 7–1 showing in 2016, the Jumbos’ talent was recognized by the league’s coaches. Seven players were named to last season’s All-NESCAC team, including four players who graduated in May. Junior linebacker Greg Holt, senior defensive back Tim Preston and senior tight end Tim Reitzenstein will be players to watch this fall, as they were also named to the All-NESCAC team. Holt, a two-time First Team All-NESCAC honoree, was third in the league in tackles, with an average of 9.3 per game.

Senior quarterback Ryan McDonald was under center for most of the Jumbos’ snaps last season. The signal caller threw for 1,879 yards and 11 touchdowns, completing 59 percent of his passes, and added 722 rushing yards — good for third overall in the conference.

The team graduated several key pieces on its offensive and defensive lines. Still, the Jumbos’ group of seniors will undoubtedly be ready to lead the team to success in the coming months.

Men’s Soccer 

After a disappointing 1–0 double overtime loss to the Brandeis Judges that ended their 2017 season, the Jumbos boast a preseason rank of No. 5 and seek their third NCAA title in five years. The highlight of last season came when Tufts, which has historically bowed out of the NESCAC tournament in the quarterfinals, won the conference title for the first time in history with a 1–0 triumph over Middlebury.

Senior co-captain and defender Sterling Weatherbie explained how the team’s dynamic is bound to shift this year, with only four seniors compared to last year’s seven. While the Jumbos will have less experience, they will hopefully possess more depth throughout their roster.

“We have a really hard schedule this year,” Weatherbie said. “We removed some games and added some really good teams like UMass Boston. This year is going to be a challenge, but I think we are going to be a really deep team. If we make it to the tournament, we should be able to go far because we’ll have so many healthy guys that can play and contribute.”

Tufts kicks off its season with a home match on Sept. 4 against UMass Boston.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team closed an impressive 2017 campaign with a 10–6–3 overall record (6–2–2 in NESCAC). Tufts reached the NESCAC final, losing 2–1 in overtime to No. 1 seed Williams. The team then fell 3–2 to Virginia Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA tournament — its first appearance since 2007.

The Jumbos return a number of key starters, including four All-NESCAC players in senior co-captain midfielder Emma Ranalli, senior defender Taylor Koscho, sophomore midfielder/forward Sophie Lloyd and senior goalkeeper Emily Bowers, who led the conference in saves with 82.

Tufts kicks off its season on Sept. 5 at Emerson. 

Men’s Tennis

Tufts rallied its way to a solid 10–6 overall record in 2017–18. Though they fell just short of the conference tournament, the Jumbos accomplished an impressive feat — posting the highest team GPA out of all Tufts varsity sports at 3.59.

On the way to a 3–5 mark in conference play, Tufts was challenged by eventual Div. III champion Middlebury (25–4, 7–1 NESCAC), conference champion Bowdoin (23–2, 8–1 NESCAC) and perennial rival Williams (15–5, 6–1 NESCAC). All promise to offer stiff competition this season.

The Jumbos’ talented young corps of sophomores Owen Bartok and Niko Hereford, as well as junior Ben Biswas, is coming into its own, while the team is anchored by its sole senior, Ross Kamin.

Coach Karl Gregor’s squad will look to slice through its opening competition at the Middlebury Invitational from Sept. 15–16.

Women’s Tennis

The Jumbos had a strong 2017–18 season, finishing 13–7 overall. Bested by MIT at home in the regional finals of the NCAA tournament, the team walked away proud of its performance but will be hungry for more this year.

Last year’s Californian co-captains, Lauren Louks and Zoe Miller, graduated in May and will be sorely missed, but seniors Julia Keller and Tomo Iwasaki believe that coach Kate Bayard’s squad has much to look forward to.

“I think this season will be really exciting,” Iwasaki said. “The combination of having a lot of new talent and also having members on this team with good experience will set us up for a great year. There are four of us who are seniors going into it for the last time, and we’re all hoping to make this year our best yet.”

Williams (21–1, 7–0 NESCAC) and Middlebury (17–4, 6–1 NESCAC) are key teams to watch and may again present Tufts’ toughest challenge in head-to-head competition and major tournaments.

Golf

The 2017–18 season marked a turning point for the Tufts golf team, which made its first-ever appearance in the NESCAC Championship since a qualifying round was added in 2007. The Jumbos finished fourth at the conference tournament, with senior Justin Feldman leading with a 14-over score of 158 between two rounds of play. Feldman will likely be part of this year’s leadership on the team, as he was the only member of his class to represent the Jumbos at the tournament.

Junior Brandon Karr was rewarded for his strong season with a selection to the All-Conference Second Team. Karr will be one to watch this year, as he was a consistent performer for the Jumbos and was instrumental in securing the team’s path to the tournament last season.

The team’s three graduated seniors will be replaced by Feldman and fellow senior classmate Brian Creonte, who will lead the team when the fall season begins on Sept. 8 at the Dietrick Invitational, hosted by Trinity College.

Field Hockey

The field hockey team posted an impressive 11–5 record (8–2 NESCAC) to place second in the conference in 2017. However, the second-seeded Jumbos were upset, 2–1, by the seventh-seeded Bowdoin Polar Bears — a team they beat 3–0 in the regular season — in the NESCAC quarterfinals.

The Jumbos lost several key players to graduation, including All-American forward Mary Travers (LA ’18) and All-NESCAC Second Team midfielder Celia Lewis (E ’18). The team’s returning members, led by NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year in senior Issy Del Priore, kick off their season on Sept. 8 at Colby.

Volleyball

Tufts’ 2017 season went smashingly with an undefeated conference mark of 10–0 and a 23–7 overall record. However, the team came up just short of a NESCAC title, falling 3–1 to Wesleyan in November’s championship match.

While former captain Alex Garrett (LA ’18) will be missed, the majority of last year’s team was comprised of sophomores, who will now be established as upperclassmen leaders. The experienced Jumbos hope that fresh faces can set them up for another spike into conference and national glory this time around.

“The thing I am looking forward to the most this season is taking each practice, each game and each moment one at a time,” senior Angela Yu said. “By doing this, we will be able to celebrate all of our successes and thoroughly enjoy having this opportunity to play with one another.”

Coach Cora Thompson’s team hosts Clark University on Sept. 4.

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country 

The women’s cross country team registered yet another stellar season last year, placing third at the NESCAC Championships, second at the Div. III New England Regionals and seventh at the NCAA National Championships. The Jumbos were spearheaded by a strong group of upperclassmen, including two-time cross country All-American Brittany Bowman (LA ’18), senior Natalie Bettez and senior Olivia Barnett, all of whom earned All-Conference honors.

Yet the Jumbos are hungry to build on their success and hope to fill the gap with a group of talented underclassmen.   

“I’m so excited to see what our team can accomplish this fall,” sophomore Sara Mitchell said. “There are several [first-years] who show great potential as contributors, and we have a ton of depth, grit and ambition among the returners. We’re ready to start the season off strong.”

The men’s cross country team also hit its stride in 2017, finishing sixth at the NESCAC Championships and eighth at the Div. III New England Championships. A standout group of seniors including Colin Raposo, Brian Reaney, Dylan Jones, Christian Swenson and Hiroto Watanabe will look to lead the pack.

Co-ed and Women’s Sailing

The co-ed sailing team, one of the few Tufts teams that compete in Div. I, will kick off its fall campaign on Sept. 8 with the Harry Anderson Trophy at Yale in what should be an action-packed season. The team graduated Alp Rodopman (LA ’18) who delivered strong performances in both group and individual competitions, including leading the team to a second-place result by winning the C Division at the Nevins Trophy in September and winning the 2016 New England Single-handed Championships during his junior year.

Sophomore Talia Toland will be one to watch, as she competed at the Single-handed Championships alongside Rodopman as a first-year last season. Meanwhile, senior co-captains Jack Bitney, Sabrina van Mell, Ian Morgan and Chris Keller will usher in the new class and attempt to lead the team to success this fall.

Meanwhile, the women’s sailing team finished the 2017–18 campaign strong, qualifying for the national regatta after finishing 11th at the New England Championship. The Jumbos eventually finished 12th overall in the national semifinals, missing out on a spot in the final. The team starts its year on Sept. 8, as well, at the Toni Deutsch Trophy hosted by MIT.

Men’s and Women’s Crew

Tufts’ men’s crew team finished a successful 2017–18 season with two strong performances in its postseason regattas — taking fifth place at the New England Championships and second at Nationals.

The team graduated several key rowers in the spring, including co-captains Andrew MacMillen (LA ’18), and Tyler Hagedorn (LA ’18). A strong senior class will follow in their footsteps, as Isaac Mudge will co-captain the squad alongside classmate Ryan Bell and juniors Paul Gelhaus and Mats Edwards.

The rowers on the women’s side were equally as successful in postseason action, placing third at Nationals. The women will also bring a strong senior class onto the river this year and will be led by senior co-captains Libby Lichter and Miranda Finestone. The third co-captain for the women’s side will be junior Madeleine Clarke.


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