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Tufts Teams Enjoy Playoff Berths

Tufts Teams Enjoy Playoff BerthsTheTufts men's hockey and basketball teams enjoyed a tremendous amountof success this season – success they hope to extend intopostseason play.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.24.05] Thanks to a combination of young talent and veteranplayers, two Tufts teamsare tearing up both the court and the ice in the New England SmallCollege Athletic Conference (NESCAC).Both the men's basketball and hockey teams are headed into theplayoffs after strong seasons marked by broken records and break-outperformances.

"We'rea new team," Bob Sheldon, the 17-year Tufts basketball coach,told The Boston Globe.

The Jumbosentered the 2004-05 NESCAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed. Afterlast year's 8-17 record, this season's success may come as a surpriseto some, but to Sheldon it makes perfect sense.

"Theway that we have been playing is really a credit to the guys workinghard," he told the Globe. "Guys have rededicatedthemselves and we've added some good, young players."

BrianKumfAmongthose players is sophomore Brian Kumf (left) – grandsonof Celtics great Tommy Heinsohn – who has emerged as a keyplayer for the Jumbos. He's averaged more than 11 points per gameas the team's third-leading scorer.

''Brian isone of our top all-around athletic players and he always playshard," Sheldon told the Globe. ''He's been everythingwe hoped he'd be."

After missingsix games due to injury last season but still leading all Jumbofreshmen with 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, the Milfordnative has truly blossomed this season.

"He worksvery hard and it's a pleasure to coach him. He goes all out allthe time," Sheldon explained.

Another teamleader has been senior tri-captain Reggie Stovell, who cappedhis Tufts career by scoring his 1,000th career point against Bateson Feb. 6 and being named NESCAC Player of the Week three times.Stovell averaged more than 18 points and 10 rebounds per gamethis season, leading the team in both categories.

"Reggiehas stepped up and we're just playing better together as a team,"Sheldon told the Globe.

Not to beoutdone is the Tufts hockey team, which broke .500 this seasonand is in its third-straight NESCAC tournament. And in each ofthe past four years, the team has won more games than the previousyear.

"We lookedat it as a step forward and we were looking for that jump,'' Tuftshockey coach Brian Murphy told the Boston Herald. "We'rehappy with our record in the league considering five or six ofthose teams have been ranked in the top 15 (for Division III).''

The past fewyears have showed marked improvement for Tufts hockey.

"Fouryears ago we had a real tough go of it, but these guys believedin what we were trying to do,'' Murphy added.

JasonBoudrowTheseason has been marked with several big accomplishments, rangingfrom freshman goalie James Kalec's 60 blocked shots in a 4-1 winagainst Colby on Jan. 21 to senior Jason Boudrow (right) becomingthe fifth player in Tufts hockey history to score 150 career points.

In addition,Murphy become the winningest hockey coach in Tufts history thisyear – tallying a record of 75-79-9 since becoming the team'sfirst full-time head coach in 1998.

But Murphyand the Jumbos aren't content to rest on their laurels.

"It'sa great accomplishment and those guys worked hard to get wherewe are," Murphy told the Herald. "But thisisn't it for us. We're going to get better."

[ UPDATE:The Tufts men's basketball team lost in the semi-finalto Bates College, 60-54.The Tufts men's hockey team fell to Trinity College in the firstround of the playoffs, 9-2.Good luck next year! ]

 

 

 

 

 

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