By Anne Bello
Published Sep 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM ET; Updated Sep 9, 2009 at 9:14 PM ET

tuftsMedford, MA — One of the Tufts Jumbos’ goals for this season is to make it into the top 16. To do so, they’ll have to get past NESCAC rival Amherst. The Jumbos and the Jeffs faced off three times last season. Amherst swept Tufts 9-0 in December, but the Jumbos nearly upset the Jeffs in the NESCAC tournament, losing 4-5. In their final meeting, at the National Team Championships, the Walker Cup  (C Division title) was on the line. The Jumbos fought hard, but Amherst won again, 7-2.

When  the Jumbos next face Amherst they’ll be without Victoria Barba, who earned All-NESCAC honors and played number 1 last season. Barba graduated last year along with Jessica Herrmann, Simone Grant, and Caroline Choi. The team will be led by captains Stef Marx, a senior who played number 2 last season, and junior Valerie Koo, who played number 3. Joining Marx and Koo in the top 3 should be senior Laura Curren, who is returning from studying abroad. The bottom of the ladder will also see some additions: Erin Bruynell, another senior who studied abroad last season, and Jess Rubine, a Moses Brown grad.

Belkys Velez will also be joining the team as assistant coach. Velez is from Ecuador and has played professionally.

Most teams have a significant advantage over Tufts: the Jumbos don’t have international courts of their own and often practice at  Harvard or the Belmont Hill School. Even so, Tufts consistently finishes in or around the top 20, where they hope to stay this season.

2008-2009 Season Recap

SEASON RECORD: 6-14
FINAL RANKING: 18th
NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 18th; 2nd in Walker Cup (C Division)

2009-2010 Season Preview

Returning Players from Team Championships: Stef Marx ’10 (2); Valerie Koo ’11 (3); Mercedes Barba ’12 (4); Alix Michael ’12 (6); Katie Stork ’10 (8); Erin O’Donnell ’11 (10)

Graduating Players from Team Championships: Victoria Barba (1; All-NESCAC); Jessica Herrmann (5); Simone Grant (7); Caroline Choi (9)

Additions for the 2009-2010 Roster:

  • Expected to play in the top 3: Laura Curren ’10
  • Expected to play in the bottom 3: Erin Bruynell ’10 and Jess Rubine ’13

Captains: Stef Marx and Val Koo

Team Goals: To bond together, train hard, improve sportsmanship, have fun, and try to get into top 16 nationally

Key Matches: Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Northeastern, and Colby

To read other team previews, please visit the 2009 – 2010 College Squash Preview Page.