Jumbos Can't Hold Off Mammoth Comeback and Fall in Five Sets Friday Night

MEDFORD – The Tufts volleyball team won the first two sets, but they weren't able to hold off an Amherst comeback, and they fell to the Mammoths in five sets in Cousens Gym on Friday night. 

Cate Desler finished with 17 kills, ten digs and three blocks Friday.

With the loss the Jumbos fall to 10-7 overall this year and 4-2 in NESCAC games.  The win makes Amherst 11-3 overall this year, and they are 4-1 in conference play. 

The first set was close in the beginning and the two teams traded points early.  Trailing 12-9 the Jumbos scored five straight points behind the serve of junior Brigid Bell to take a 14-12 lead.  Amherst would come within a point a couple of times, but the Jumbos held on to that lead and picked up a 25-18 win in set one. 

The Jumbos took an early lead in set two and held on to that for the entire set.  Down 21-16 the Mammoths made a comeback, taking advantage of a couple of Jumbo errors and getting a kill from Cameron Hendricks to come within two, 21-19.  But, the Jumbos got back-to-back kills from Bell and Desler to take a four-point lead again and picked up the 25-20 win in set two to take the 2-0 advantage in the match. 

The entire third set was close and was tied eight different times.  With the score locked at 18 the Mammoths got a kill from Jamie Dailey and followed that with another from Emily Kolsky to take the 20-18 lead.  They moved on to a 25-20 win in set three to get on the board and force another set. 

The fourth set was even closer, and would need extra points to decide a winner.  With the scored tied at 15, the Mammoths took a lead they held on to for a bit.  Down 24-22 the Jumbos got a kill from freshman Cate Desler and then a Mammoth error tied things at 24. A kill from the Mammoth's Kolsky gave the visitors a one-point lead, but then Desler once again came up big and tied things at 25 with a kill of her own.  The Mammoths got a kill from Dailey and then a Jumbo error gave them a 27-25 win in set four to tie the match at two each. 

The two teams traded points for the first half of the fifth set, which also needed extra points to decide a winner.  Down 9-7 the Mammoths took advantage of two Jumbo errors and got two kills from Dailey to take a 11-9 lead.  The Jumbos came within one, 11-10, thanks to a kill from junior Heather Holz.  Down 14-11 the Jumbos made a comeback of their own, getting a kill from Desler, a service ace from Holz and then a kill from junior co-captain Maddie Stewart tied things at 14. But, two Jumbo errors gave the Mammoths a 16-14 win in set five to take the match, 3-2. 

Desler finished with a career-high 17 kills, ten digs and three blocks for the Jumbos.  Stewart added 15 kills and senior co-captain Mackenzie Bright finished with 12 kills and four blocks.  Junior Christina Nwankpa added 11 kills and six blocks.  Bell ended with seven kills and ten digs.  Defensively sophomore Sophia Acker turned in 17 digs and junior Rachel Furash and freshman Ariel Zedric each helped with 14.  Furash and Zedric took care of the setting, finishing with 36 and 24 assists, respectively. 

For the Mammoths Dailey was the offensive leader with 18 kills.  Kolsky added 12 kills and ten digs and Hendricks finished with 10 kills and three blocks.  Defensively Skyleur Savage finished with 22 digs and Candace Chung helped with 15.  Charlotte Duran ran the offense, finishing with 53 assists. 


The Jumbos are back in action tomorrow when they host Trinity with a 1 pm scheduled start.  Amherst travels to Bowdoin where they will take on the Polar Bears at 1 pm on Saturday.