Men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s cross country, individual women runners, and volleyball are in the thick of NCAA postseason competition
After a gritty, hard-fought 2-1 victory at home over the University of Rochester on November 12, the No. 20 men’s soccer squad advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
After 23 minutes, sophomore Mateo Bargagna took a switch of field and lofted a cross into the box to Liam Gerken, whose header into the right side of the net gave Tufts a 1-0 lead.
Less than four minutes later, Gerken sprayed a ball out to the right wing for Bargagna, who got free with his left foot. His service was spot on, as Sean Traynor snuck behind the defense and tucked his shot home, putting the Jumbos on top, 2-0.
Rochester got on the board in the 71st minute, as Avi Lamba corralled a loose ball and buried a shot off a deflection to make it 2-1. Eight minutes later, Rochester looked destined to tie the game up, but the Jumbos keeper made back-to-back point-blank saves to keep Tufts ahead.
Those shots would be the final ones of the game for Rochester, as the Jumbos clinched the 2-1 triumph.
The Jumbos (14-3-3), in pursuit of their fifth national title, will take on Washington & Lee University at Bello Field on November 18 in their eighth trip to the NCAA third round since 2013.
The women’s soccer team got two goals from senior Nicola Sommers on November 12, and the defense did the rest as the Jumbos moved into the NCAA Division III women’s soccer tournament Sweet 16 with a 3-0 victory over No. 15 College of New Jersey.
Tufts (9-5-4) will take on a familiar foe in the next round, after No. 22 Bowdoin College defeated previously unbeaten No. 7 William Smith. The Jumbos play the Polar Bears November 18 at the University of Rochester.
Tufts wasted no time getting on the board on the road at the 7:07 mark. On a corner kick at Lion Stadium, Jumbo Caroline Kelly put a perfect delivery right onto the head of Sommers, and she split two defenders down the middle to make it 1-0.
The Jumbos would get the second goal they were looking for in the 56th minute, as Elsi Aires chased down a long ball on the right side of the box and curled a left-footed shot into the top left corner of the goal to make it 2-0. The lead would swell to 3-0 only 32 seconds later, when Sommers got a pass from Aires and skimmed a shot under the crossbar for the insurance tally.
The defense for the Jumbos would take over from that point, holding the Lions to just three shots on goal through the final 40 minutes of the game. TCNJ had never trailed by three goals this season, and came into the weekend ranked seventh in the nation in scoring (3.95 goals per game).
With the victory, Tufts moved into the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019. It’s also the second trip to the NCAA third round since 2006.
Men’s Cross Country
As expected, the men’s cross country team has earned an at-large invitation to the 2023 NCAA Division III championship following a strong performance on November 11.
The Jumbos were the runner-up at the NCAA East Regional in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. As a result, Tufts was selected as one of the nation’s 22 at-large berths into the DIII national championship. That race will be held November 18 at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pennsylvania. Dickinson College is hosting the championships, and the men’s race will begin at 11 a.m.
The NCAA team berth is the third straight and 18th overall for the men’s cross country team. In the 17 prior appearances, Tufts posted six national top 10 finishes, with a fifth place showing in 2005.
All seven Jumbos who ran at the East Regional earned all-region honors for finishing in the top 35 individually: junior Ivan Appleton (fifth), senior Walter Wagude (ninth), sophomore Luke Brennan (10th), sophomore Calvin Cummings (16th), sophomore Quinn Hampson (17th), sophomore Amokrane Aouchiche (20th), and senior Ryan Proulx (33rd).
Women’s Cross Country
Graduate student Meghan Davis and junior Carly Rinko of the women’s cross country team have earned individual berths to run at the 2023 NCAA Division III championship on November 18.
Though Tufts came in fourth out of 33 teams in the Hopkinton, New Hampshire race, the Jumbos did not receive a team berth. Davis (16th)and Rinko (11th) were among the top seven individuals not on qualifying teams, which earned each an invitation to the national championship race at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pennsylvania, where Dickinson College is hosting the championships.
This will be the third NCAA cross country nationals for Davis She competed for Tufts in 2019 and 2021, and also represented the Jumbos in the 2021 women's track outdoor 10k, finishing 11th. Rinko will compete at the national level for the first time.
On November 13, the volleyball team received an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament after making it to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semifinals. The Jumbos (14-10) lost the contest to Williams College in straight sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-19) on November 10.
Tufts takes on Eastern University in NCAA play at Ithaca College on November 16.