NESCAC Championship Preview: Field Hockey & Soccer Looking for Success in Conference Playoffs

SOMERVILLE - Tufts University Athletics is coming up to NESCAC playoff time for field hockey, men's soccer and women’s soccer.

Field Hockey received the first seed in the 2016 NESCAC Championship and will compete against #8 Bates at home on Ounjian Field Saturday at 1 p.m. Men's Soccer gets the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Tournament to have home-field advantage at Bello Field on Saturday against #7 Bowdoin at 1:30 p.m. The women's soccer team takes the fifth seed and will be traveling on Saturday to No. 4 Trinity (Conn.) for a 1 pm start.

Field Hockey

No. 3 nationally-ranked Field Hockey (13-2, NESCAC 8-2) leads the NESCAC standings at a record of 8-2. With the standings tight up until the final game, the Jumbos' 1-0 win against Bowdoin last night gave them the first seed in the NESCAC Tournament. Tufts is the No.1 seed for the third time in program history and first since 2010. During the regular season, the Jumbos took a 2-0 win against Bates on September.

“We are thrilled to be the #1 seed going in to the NESCAC Tournament," said Tufts head coach Tina McDavitt.  "The NESCAC has been extremely competitive this year and we are looking forward to playing Bates.  They are a talented and fast team so we are focusing on taking it one game at a time as we enter the post-season. As a team we know we need to continue to elevate our game as the stakes get higher."

In the NESCAC Quarterfinals last season, the field hockey team won 2-0 against Trinity off goals by Dominique Zarrella and Dakota Sikes-Keilp to advance the team to the NESCAC Semifinals against Middlebury last season. Middlebury came out with a 4-1 win to end the Jumbos' season.

While going 7-0 in September, the field hockey team got off to great start and have been among the conferfence leaders all season.

Men's Soccer

The Tufts men’s soccer team is placed second right behind Amherst College entering NESCAC's. Tufts will host their fifth straight quarterfinal match in the NESCAC Tournament. Both Tufts and Bowdoin have met each other three out of the last four years in the quarterfinal round and have split even in their matches.

“We are thrilled to have earned the second seed in the NESCAC tournament," Tufts head coach Josh Shapiro said. "We have finished a successful regular season, but we have greater ambitions and one of those is to make a deep run in the NESCAC tournament. Our players are very excited about the rematch with Bowdoin and look forward to taking on a quality NESCAC foe on Bello Field.”

Men’s Soccer went to the NCAA Championship third round last year after receiving an at-large berth. The Jumbos had lost to Bowdoin 1-0 in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. Tufts also fell 1-0 at Bowdoin in the 2016 regular-season finale on Tuesday. They will certainly have revenge on their minds come Saturday.

The Jumbos had a rough start to the season but came out strong in October going 7-1-1. Tufts, currently ranked 19th in the National Soccer Coaches Association poll, finished their regular season at 9-4-2, NESCAC 6-2-2.

Women's Soccer

Women’s Soccer wrapped up their regular season at Bowdoin on Tuesday with a 1-0 win that lifted them to the #5 seed for the conference tournament. The Jumbos ended their regular season at 7-5-3, NESCAC 5-4-1.

The Jumbos tied for fifth place in the NESCAC Standings. They tied with Connecticut College and Bowdoin, in which both matches were won by the Jumbos to give them the tie-breaker advantage.  

Trinity and Tufts last met in the quarterfinal round in 2009, with the fourth-seeded Jumbos coming away with a 2-1 victory over the fifth-seeded Bantams. During the regular season, Trinity posted a 2-0 victory over the Jumbos on October 16. 

“Our preparation for the Trinity game will be consistent with our preparation all season," head coach Martha Whiting said. "We will fine-tune certain aspects of our system and focus on playing our best on Saturday. Our expectation is to play our best every game and trust that if we are patient with the process it will pay off.”

Last year, Tufts women’s soccer lost in a 3-0 shutout against Bowdoin in the NESCAC Quarterfinals to end their season.

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Written by Ryan Small, Athletic Communication Intern