Tuesday, November 7, 2005
MEDFORD -- The Tufts University Women's Soccer team was selected to host an NCAA Division III Tournament regional this weekend at Kraft Field. The Jumbos (12-3-1) will play Johnson & Wales University (13-6-1) on Saturday (Nov. 12) at 11:00, followed by Bates College (13-3-31) against Eastern Connecticut State University (12-5-2) 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first match. The winners will play a second-round game on Sunday (Nov. 13) at 1:00.
Tickets for the NCAA games are $6 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and $2 children ages 3-12.
The Jumbos won the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regular-season title. This is their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and the second time that they have hosted a regional. Tufts won NCAA New England championships in 1998 and 2000. Coach Martha Whiting's team hosted the NCAA "final four" in 2000 and played in the national championship game that year, losing 2-1 against College of New Jersey. Tufts last hosted the regionals in 1998 when they defeated Wellesley on penalty kicks to advance. The Jumbos defeated Wheaton College, 3-1, to win the 2000 New England title.
This fall, Tufts was selected as an at-large berth into the NCAAs and as a host despite losing to Bates in the NESCAC championship game on Sunday, 2-1 in two overtimes. The Jumbos had defeated the Bobcats by an identical 2-1 score in overtime on October 1. Tufts posted one of the best regular seasons in school history with an 11-2-1 mark. They broke a 26-year old team record with 10 consecutive victories.
Johnson & Wales won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title with a 1-0 victory over Western New England College. The Wildcats are making their second trip to the NCAA Tournament this fall. NESCAC champion Bates is making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance after winning its first conference title. Eastern Connecticut, which won the Little East Conference over Keene State, 2-0, earned its third NCAA Tournament berth.
"Obviously, the team is elated about qualifying for the NCAA's," Whiting said. "It's a goal that we set at the very beginning of the year and it's something that we've worked toward all season. Losing in the NESCAC championship game was very disappointing, but it's water under the bridge at this point and we now have the opportunity to prove ourselves once again. I'm confident that we will come out this weekend with a refuse to lose attitude. We know that if we are mentally prepared and work hard we can accomplish great things and that is exactly what we will set out to do."
The winner of the regional hosted by Tufts will face the winner of a regional hosted by Wheaton College in the round of 16 on November 19. Worcester State, Western Connecticut State University and Endicott College are the other teams playing at Wheaton. The national semi-finals and championship match are scheduled for November 25-26 in Greensboro, North Carolina.