June 16, 2010

Winning It All

Men’s lacrosse captures first NCAA team championship for Tufts, and women’s tennis singles strikes gold, too

The men’s lacrosse team won the first NCAA team title in Tufts’ history with a 9-6 victory over Salisbury University at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the NFL’s Ravens franchise, on May 30. Meanwhile, the same day, just a couple hours south at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Va., women’s tennis tri-captain Julia Browne, A11, captured the NCAA Division III Singles Championship. 

The lacrosse team celebrates its NCAA championship in Baltimore. Photo: Doug Kapustin

The Jumbo laxmen (20-1), who had never previously advanced past the NCAA Championship second round, defeated a Salisbury squad that has won eight NCAA Championships. Tufts junior D.J. Hessler, E11, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the game, leading the Jumbo offense with a goal and four assists.

“It’s pretty awesome to be a part of history and Tufts’ first NCAA (team) title,” said Hessler, who broke his own single-season scoring record at Tufts with 91 points (37 goals, 54 assists). “It puts us on the map and shows that people need to respect us.”

The Tufts defense held Salisbury to just six goals, matching the Gulls’ season low. Tufts sophomore goalie Steven Foglietta, E12, made 13 saves in the game, including seven in the fourth quarter, to bring home the title.

Senior Mike Droesch, E10, center, in the NCAA final. Photo: Doug Kapustin

“We really focus on attacking on offense and trying to score goals and sometimes it puts a lot of pressure on them,” said coach Mike Daly. “For [our defense] to hold that team to six goals today, I think that’s the reason right there.”

The Jumbos, almost 500 miles from home, were supported by a sea of light blue behind their bench, part of a major Tufts contingent in the crowd of 20,734—the largest the Jumbos have ever played before. Many of them were team alumni, who Coach Daly made sure to thank in the post-game press conference. “Those guys have helped us with everything we ever needed,” he said. “[This victory] is theirs as much as it is ours.”

On the Court and the Track

Julia Browne, A11, captured the NCAA women’s tennis singles title with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

Moving from the field to the court, Browne captured the NCAA women’s tennis singles title with a 6-2, 7-5 victory against eighth-seed Grace Baljon from New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Williams.

Over three days and six matches, Browne—the No. 3 seed entering the tournament—did not lose a set while cruising to the title. This was her third appearance in the NCAA singles championship, where she now has a 9-2 overall record. 

The top-ranked player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) Northeast Region, Browne compiled a remarkable 31-3 overall record in 2009-10, including 18-1 in the Tufts team’s dual matches. She earned her second consecutive NESCAC Player of the Year honor this spring. In the fall, she finished third at the ITA’s Small College Singles National Championship in Alabama.

Not to be outdone, the Jumbo men’s and women’s track and field teams were also in action over the same weekend at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.

Five Jumbos earned All-American honors, including Jesse Faller, A10, in the 10,000 meter race and Jared Engelking, A10, in the decathlon for the men’s team, as well as women’s track and field athletes Nakeisha Jones, A12, in the triple jump, Kelly Allen,  A13, in the discus throw and Dayorsha Collins, A12, in the high jump.

The women’s team earned enough points to rank 20th in the nation at the NCAA Championship meet, while the men ranked 45th.

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