Off to the NCAAs
Tufts’ team sports had a big weekend, with two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) titles, and four bids to NCAA national championship tournaments. The softball team and men’s lacrosse took their conference titles, while women’s lacrosse fell in their final. Women’s tennis also received a bid to the NCAAs, with an at-large berth, and baseball took the NESCAC East pennant.
The Tufts University softball team won its eleventh NESCAC championship with a 3-2 victory over Williams College in the conference final on May 5 at Spicer Field. The Jumbos, who scored all of their runs during the first inning, received NESCASC’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
With the win, first-year head coach Lauren Ebstein’s Jumbos ended the Ephs’ three-year run as conference champions. It marked the eighth time Tufts and Williams have played for the conference championship, with the Jumbos winning five.
At Bello Field on May 5, the men’s lacrosse team (17-1) won its ninth NESCAC title and second in a row with a 17-16 overtime victory over Williams College. That made the Jumbos NESCAC’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. They were selected as the #1 seed in the NCAA North bracket. As a result, they will host first and second round games at Bello Field this week.
Head coach Casey D’Annolfo’s Jumbos will host a first-round game between New England College (9-8) and Norwich University (13-4) on May 7. The winner of that game will play Tufts on May 8. Men’s lacrosse has been in the NCAA tournament every year since 2009, and this is the program’s twelfth berth overall. Tufts has a 29-8 record in NCAA play, and won national championships in 2010, 2014, and 2015. The Jumbos also played in the 2011 and 2016 national championship games.
The women’s lacrosse team were NESCAC runners-up after a close 10-9 loss to Middlebury in the conference final on May 5, but received one of the four top seeds in the NCAA tournament field with their at-large berth. They also earned one of 10 first-round byes.
For the first time in program history, the women’s lacrosse team will host NCAA weekend games at Bello Field on May 11 and 12. Tufts will host a first-round game between Plymouth State University (11-5) and New England College (14-5) on Saturday. The winner of that game will play the Jumbos on Sunday.
Head coach Courtney Shute’s Jumbos tied the school record for wins in a season with its 16-2 mark this spring. The Jumbos had their second-best finish in NESCAC with a 9-1 mark for the number two seed in the conference tournament. They defeated Trinity College 12-5 in the quarterfinals and Wesleyan University 11-8 in the semifinals before falling to Middlebury. It was the Jumbos’ first conference championship game appearance, as well as the fifth NCAA tournament berth.
For the eighteenth time in the last nineteen years, the Tufts women’s tennis team will play in the NCAA Division III Tournament, after head coach Kate Bayard's Jumbos received an at-large berth on May 6.
The Jumbos earned a first-round bye and will head to an NCAA regional at Middlebury College this coming weekend. Tufts is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAAs and had a fourteen-year run of berths earlier this century (2001-14).
In the second round this weekend, the Jumbos will play the winner of a Stevens Institute of Technology versus St. Joseph’s College-Long Island first-round match. Tufts has advanced to the NCAA regional final in each of the last two seasons. The Jumbos hosted the NCAA regional in both of those years, and have compiled a 20-17 record in the NCAA Division III Tournament overall, dating back to the 2000-01 season. The squad reached the quarterfinals of the national tournament in 2010-11.
The Tufts baseball team won its sixth consecutive NESCAC East Division pennant and eleventh overall during a double-header sweep at Colby College on May 4. Tufts won by 10-1 and 7-2. The Jumbos (26-7) finished their NESCAC East schedule with a 10-2 mark. Their win in the opener, which was their ninth in divisional play at the time, gave Tufts the flag. The Jumbos now advance to the conference championship tournament.