Jumbo Comeback Falls Short as Volleyball Edged by Washington-St. Louis

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Tufts volleyball team had quite the comeback, but it fell just short as the Jumbos fell to No. 18 Washington-St. Louis, 3-2, at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan on Friday afternoon.  The game was the first of the Barker Chevrolet Classic II for the Jumbos, as they have three more games to play out in the Midwest. 

Heather Holz finished with ten kills and six blocks for the Jumbos

With the setback the Jumbos fall to 6-2 overall on the season. The win improves Washington-St. Louis to 7-5 this season. 

The Bears were in command of the match early, taking an early lead in set one and cruising to a 25-16 win.  The Jumbos took the lead early in set two, but the Bears took that lead from the Jumbos and were in command for the rest of the set, picking up a 25-19 win in set two to take a two set lead in the match. 

Once again the Bears took the lead in the third set.  The Jumbos tied things at 11, but once again the Bears took that lead back.  The Jumbos would tie things at 14, and then take the lead thanks to six straight points behind the serve of sophomore Kelly Klimo to take a 17-14 lead.  The Bears broke up the scoring streak with a kill by Leila King, but the Jumbos were in control of the rest of the set, picking up the 25-20 win. 

The Jumbos scored the first point in the fourth set and never looked back, leading the entire way to a 25-21 win to even the match at two sets each. 

Tufts opened the fifth set by scoring four straight points behind the serve of senior captain Alex Garrett. But, the Bears responded with four straight service aces to tie things at four.  The two teams would trade points, and with things locked at six the Bears were able to capitalize on some Jumbo errors to score five straight points and take an 11-6 lead.  That would be too much to overcome, and the Bears won set five, 15-8. 

Junior Mackenzie Bright led the Jumbos with 16 kills and sophomores Heather Holz and Brigid Bell each added ten of their own to the Jumbos' day.  Bell also added 12 digs and four blocks to her afternoon, and Holz finished with six blocks and a .533 hitting percentage.  Klimo was the defensive leader with 22 digs, but junior Angela Yu also added 11.  Sophomore Rachel Furash and Yu took care of the setting, and Yu finished with 14 assists while Furash tallied 29 and also turned in four service aces. 

Ifeoma Ufondu had a match-high 19 kills for the Bears, and Tricia Brown and Julianne Malek each added 11. Natalie Stephanus turned in 11 digs and Zoe Baxter added ten.  Stephanus also finished with six service aces.  Kirby Knapp ran the offense, finishing the match with 36 assists.  Malek, King and Lauren Martin all had three blocks each for the Bears. 

The Jumbos had a match off and then they took on No. 8 Millikin with that match scheduled to start at 8 pm.  The Bears wrapped up their day with a 3-2 win over No. 25 Cornell and then headed home to St. Louis.