Winning Ways

Women’s softball advances to NCAA finals, while laxmen head to quarterfinals

the winning softball team

It was a big weekend for Tufts athletics as the softball team won its third NCAA regional title and will play in the NCAA finals later this week. Men’s lacrosse advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals with a 17–8 second-round victory over Trinity College.

A special graduation ceremony will be held on campus this week for the graduating seniors on the softball team, who would miss commencement on May 20 if the team advances in the four-team final.

In other weekend action, the women’s tennis team, playing in its 12th straight NCAA tournament, won its second round against Salem State University, but fell in the third round to four-time champion Williams College on May 13.

Dominant on the Mound

The softball Jumbos defeated top-seeded host Eastern Connecticut State 5–0 in the regional championship game on May 13, as freshman pitcher Allyson Fournier, E15, spun a two-hit shutout. The Jumbos head to Salem, Va., on May 18 for a 6:30 p.m. game against the champion of the Newport News regional tourney.

Fournier did not allow an earned run in 28 innings over the four-day competition, and was named the regional tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Her no-hit bid was broken up in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Eastern Connecticut junior Kelly Paterson sent a shot to centerfield. Her teammate, junior Arielle Cooper, recorded the only other hit for the Warriors as she led off the seventh with a base hit to left. During the game, Fournier struck out eight and issued one free pass on her way to a 22–1 season record.

In addition to Fournier’s outstanding pitching, Tufts hit .361, while going 4–0 at the regional, led by a scorching-hot Lena Cantone, A12, who hit .571, with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs. Jo Clair, A14, hit .462 over the weekend, with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. Sara Hedtler, A14, had six hits (.375) and scored four runs.

This will be the program’s second trip to Salem, Va. The 2000 Jumbos, for which current head coach Cheryl Milligan, J98, G01, was an assistant, played there for the NCAA finals, going 0–2. The 2009 Tufts team, which won its first 35 games, played in the finals at Montclair, N.J., and went 2–2, for fourth place.

Men’s Lacrosse

The Jumbos celebrate their win over Trinity. Photo: Scott TingleyThe Jumbos celebrate their win over Trinity. Photo: Scott Tingley

Nine Jumbos scored, including four by co-captain Sean Kirwan, A12, as the Tufts men’s lacrosse team opened NCAA championship play with a 17–8 second-round victory against Trinity College on May 12 at home on Bello Field.

With the victory, the Jumbos (17–2) advanced to the national quarterfinals on May 16, and will host RIT, a 15–9 winner over Western New England in the NCAA second round. Trinity, making its first NCAA appearance, finished its season at 11–7.

Tufts out-scored the Bantams 7–2 in the second quarter to blow the game open. Beau Wood, E14, and Peter Bowers, A14, both scored twice in the period as the Jumbos turned a 3–1 advantage at the end of the first into a 10–3 halftime lead.

Tufts led by as many as 10 goals, 16–6, on Kirwan’s fourth, an assist from classmate Geordie Shafer, A12, at 9:03 in the fourth. Five players had multiple goals, including three with an assist from Wood. Shafer’s pair of assists gave him three points for the game.

Tufts had a 49–33 lead in shots-on-goal, and also a healthy 45–23 margin in groundballs. The Jumbos have now won 12 in a row, including 33 straight at home, and are 9–3 in five NCAA Championship appearances overall.

Paul Sweeney, Tufts’ sports information director, can be reached at For updates on both teams’ march through the NCAA championships, visit the Athletics website.


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