Semester in Review | The fall semester in sports: A look back
Published: Monday, December 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 15:12
For a number of Tufts’ athletic programs, this fall semester gave way to the most impressive results in recent school history. So, before the campus begins to bury its collective head in its books, the Daily presents a brief look back at some of the highlights from an exhilarating fall season.
Tufts’ field hockey squad was unquestionably the cream of the fall sports crop, as the Jumbos brought home the school’s first women’s team NCAA championship on Nov. 18 in Geneva, NY after a remarkable regular season.
After being bounced in the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament, expectations weren’t quite so high for the team. But instead, that defeat to longtime foe Bowdoin provided the spark to send the Jumbos on an unprecedented run to the title. The Jumbos handily dispatched Castleton and William Smith in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament and then overcame the Polar Bears to make it to the Final Four.
Then the Jumbos took down Depauw 2-0 in the national semifinal, with sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Keenan recording her second shutout of the tournament to send the Jumbos to the title game.
In that final matchup against Montclair State, the Jumbos pulled out yet another narrow victory, their 10th one-goal win of the season. After falling behind in the first half, freshman Hannah Park punched in two goals in the second to send the Jumbos to their first national title.
Beyond the championship, the Jumbos enjoyed a fourteen-game winning streak during the regular season and into the NESCAC tournament, and won eight convincing shutouts in the year. In addition, head coach Tina McDavitt was named the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year and junior midfielder Emily Cannon was named a first-team All-American.
With so many individual accolades, the Jumbos recorded one of the finest seasons in Tufts athletics, and gave Tufts the title that had been elusive for so many years.
Men’s Cross Country
For the men’s cross country team, the biggest victory of the season came at the NESCAC championship on Oct. 27.
Running at Westfield State, senior co-captain Matt Rand missed out on the individual title by less than a second but was followed by four other Jumbos in the top 20 to propel the team to the overall win, the team’s first since 2005.
The success continued when the Jumbos qualified for the NCAA Championship meet. Ultimately the team fell just short of its goals in that race, finishing seventh in the country. For the second straight year, however, the Jumbos placed inside the top 10 in the nation, a result that finished a season in which the Jumbos never finished lower than seventh in any race.
On the individual side, the Jumbos finished the season with five runners named to the All-New England team, which, paired with the NESCAC title, provided yet another impressive season for head coach Ethan Barron’s squad.
For the first time in program history, Ken Legler’s sailing team captured the ICSA Match Racing National Championship, defeating Yale in Austin, Tex. on Nov. 18.
Juniors Will Haeger, David Liebenberg, Paula Grasberger, and Solomon Kevans were the four Jumbos who led the team to its breakthrough victory, consistently outmaneuvering the other teams throughout the weekend’s races.
In the preliminary round, the Jumbos finished tied for the best overall record and then handily dispatched Mary Washington and Georgetown en route to the final showdown with Yale.
After losing the first of the best-of-three contest, the Jumbos were forced to rally, but rode some Bulldog miscues and 15-knot winds to the next two victories, ultimately pulling it out in dramatic fashion, 2-1.
The title marked his first match racing championship after more than 30 years of coaching, and puts one more trophy in the already plentiful shelf of the Jumbo sailing team.
Although the Jumbos’ postseason hopes were dashed on the penalty spot twice this postseason, the team still finished out one of its most successful campaigns in program history.
At 9-4-4, the Jumbos were able to continue their success from 2011 and advanced further in the playoffs than they had the year before.