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A Historic Season

A Historic SeasonTufts' field hockey team prepares to host the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Regional, after finishing up the best season in the team's history.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.14.08] After finishing one of the most successful seasons in the team's history, the Tufts field hockey team will host the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Regional this weekend, Nov. 15 and 16, at Bello Field.

The team, which had been undefeated until last week's 1-0 loss against Bowdoin in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship, is the No. 1 seed in the four-team regional tournament, with a 16-1 overall record and a No. 4 ranking in the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) poll.

Update: Field Hockey defeats the College of New Jersey 2-1 to advance to NCAA Final Four. The Jumbos play Messiah College on Nov. 22. 

The seeds of this season's success were sown last year, when the team tied the record for wins in a season with 13, earned the program's first NCAA Tournament victory and finished the year ranked No. 15 in the NFHCA poll.

E-News recently caught up with Coach Tina McDavitt, who is in her fifth year coaching the Jumbos, and team tri-captain Tess Jasinski (A'09) to discuss their thoughts on this eventful season and this weekend's tournament:

E-News: How did you expect the season to go before it started, and what does it feel like going into the regional tournament with a 16-1 record?

McDavitt: I expected it to be a good season. We have great senior captains who provide awesome leadership. We took a team trip to Africa in May, and I think that just really brought us a lot closer together. There is just a different mentality this year, from the freshmen up to the seniors. Everyone knew how important every game was, everyone wanted to win and everyone wanted to work hard.

Jasinski: Every year that I have been here the program has improved. Coming in as a freshman we didn't even have home field advantage in the first round of the NESCAC tournament, and this year being able to host the entire thing shows how much the program has grown.

I knew at the beginning of the season we had the potential to be at the top of our conference and at the top of the national rankings. After making it to the NCAAs last season and having so much success this season, we now know that we deserve to be here and that we can beat any team we face.

Tess Jasinski

E-News: What have been some of the most memorable moments of this season?

McDavitt: Every single one of our overtime goals by Tamara Brown (A'11). Those games were quite stressful and she just gets in there and gets it done. On top of that, I think just going 14-0 and beating teams we had had trouble with in the past, like Middlebury and Trinity, losing to Amherst last year and coming back and play a great game against them and win.

Jasinski: As a senior, with this being my last season, it has been an absolutely unbelievable way to end my career as a college athlete. ... Our victories over Middlebury, Trinity and Bowdoin were my favorite wins looking back at our season so far, not only because they were victories over teams ranked in the top ten nationally, but because each game was a battle and we were able to beat each team on their home field.

E-News: How does it feel to be hosting regionals here at Tufts?

McDavitt: It is nice to be relaxed and on your home field, and there is something to be said for not having to travel. And I think the support from the fans at Tufts have been awesome these past few weeks. It is great having so many students out at our games.

Jasinski: Receiving the first-round bye and hosting regionals made us feel that we were getting the respect that we deserved for our success this season and evoked a feeling of pride in our team and what we have accomplished.

E-News: What is your strategy going into this weekend's games?

McDavitt: To focus on ourselves and play our game. Our biggest strength is playing together as a team, so if we can do that and just be consistent and just really work on playing a full 70 minutes and going all heart, I think we should be OK.

Jasinski: I think our loss to Bowdoin made us realize that we need to play a full 70 minutes of field hockey. We want to come out strong in the first five minutes, set the pace of the game and try to put some goals on the scoreboard early. Coming into this weekend we are focusing on our fundamentals, maintaining composure on the field and playing Tufts field hockey.

E-News: What do you feel has made the team so successful this season?

McDavitt: There are 11 starters on the field and they are all awesome and solid, and when players come off the bench, the level of play isn't dropping-if anything they are bringing it up a notch and bringing good energy in there.

My goal in recruiting is to make the kids coming in so good that when we get into a game day, playing against your team the whole week has been harder than playing against an opponent.

Jasinski: Our team chemistry is so solid on and off the field, which has allowed us work so well together as a team. We have great communication and trust on the field and we are never looking to one player to get the job done. Our balance and depth has allowed us to be so consistent this season. The constant positive environment and support that we have for each other has helped to reduce the pressure and has allowed us to be successful and have fun at the same time.

Q&A by Kaitlin Melanson, Web Communications.


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