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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

Squash, basketball already besting last season's starts

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Sophomore Jacob Siegelbaum and other contestants from Boston College prepare to start the 100m backstroke.

Men’s Basketball

Coming off a season in which the team finished just above .500 (13-12) after a rough start, the Jumbos have enjoyed strong performances early this year. Tufts holds a 6-2 record as winter break approaches, and recently won the New England Big 4 Challenge with victories over Salem State and Babson.

The Jumbos hold an average point differential of plus-4.8 and have scored 82.4 points per game. The team has been led offensively by sophomore guard Vincent Pace, who averages 18.3 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting. Impressively, the Jumbos boast five players currently averaging double-figures in points. Sophomore guard Tarik Smith, senior tri-captain center Tom Palleschi and senior tri-captain guards Ryan Spadaford and Stephen Haladyna are all scoring at least 10 points per contest.

The Jumbos’ season will continue on Tuesday, Dec. 29 when the team travels to play in the Cal Lutheran Invitational in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Tufts will take on Whitman College in the first round and will play in either the championship or third place game before returning to the east coast. Tufts will open their NESCAC schedule on Friday, Jan. 8 with a showdown against Bowdoin at Cousens Gymnasium.

“One of our strengths this year is our ability to run on other teams and score the basketball by making it more of a fast-paced game,” Haladyna told the Daily in an email. “We know that we can compete with any team in the country, and our strong start has given us plenty of confidence going into California and then NESCAC schedule after break. We are playing very well together, and we have a lot of confidence going into the second half of the season.”

Hockey

The season has gotten off to a rocky start for the Jumbos, who have notched just one win in the team’s first seven games. The team has gone 1-4-2, including an 0-3-1 record within the NESCAC. Tufts' only win came on Nov. 28 against Brockport in the Rutland Herald Invitational by a 4-3 final. Sophomore forward Brian Brown leads the team in points with five, having tallied two goals and three assists. Junior forward Mike Leary has lit the lamp a team-leading three times on the year.

“I don’t think results are always the best indicator of the truth; we have great coaching, great talent and some of the best camaraderie I’ve been a part of as a hockey player," junior goaltender Mason Pulde told the Daily in an email. "Putting all of the pieces together takes time. Right now, we are all just focused on improving every day. The results will follow."

Senior co-captain forward Stewart Bell, sophomore forward Nick Flanagan and junior defenseman Sean Kavanagh are all tied with Leary with four points in the team’s first seven contests. Overall, the Jumbos have a goal differential of minus-five, having scored 14 goals and conceded 20.

Three Jumbos have split time between the pipes, with Pulde starting five games and sophomore Nik Nugnes starting two. Sophomore Ryan McConnell has also seen time in goal. Collectively, the team has allowed 2.79 goals per game and totaled an impressive .926 save percentage.

The season will continue for Tufts today on the road against Bowdoin.

Men’s Squash

After opening the season by losing both legs of a double-header to Virginia and Stanford on Nov. 29, Tufts has been on a roll. The Jumbos have won six of their past seven matches, working to a solid 6-3 record before a long break. Having gone 6-15 last season, the team has already matched its win total from a year ago less than halfway through the schedule.

The Jumbos field a roster of 13 that includes just one senior and two juniors. With four sophomores and six first-year players, the team is made up largely of underclassmen.

Most recently, Tufts cruised to a comfortable 8-1 victory over Conn. College, a team Tufts lost to twice last year, once by a 9-0 margin. All six of the team’s first-year players notched wins to help the Jumbos to victory.

After a long layoff for winter break, Tufts will continue the season with a rematch against Conn. College on Jan. 24.

Men’s Swimming and Diving

Tufts has performed well in the water in its first two meets of this season. On Nov. 21, Tufts defeated both Middlebury and Conn. College in a tri-meet hosted by Middlebury. Tufts won nine events at the meet -- three of which were won by senior tri-captain Michael Winget. Winget took the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 50.73, won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:54.92 and finally won the 100-meter individual medley with a 51:30 time.

First-year Brandon Jinn impressed in his collegiate debut, as he won both the 500-meter freestyle and 1000-meter freestyle for the Jumbos.

In the second meet of the season at the MIT Invitational, Tufts finished third out of six teams at the three-day event spanning Dec. 4 to Dec. 6. Jinn set a Tufts record by swimming the 1,650 freestyle in 16:00.22, breaking an eight-year-old mark. At the meet, Winget and four other Jumbos recorded NCAA marks.

As a result of their impressive performances, Winget and Jinn were named NESCAC Men’s Swimming Performers of the Week for the weeks of Nov. 23 and Dec. 7, respectively.

The next meet for the Jumbos happens today in a tri-meet at Wesleyan with WPI.

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