Bright's 17 Kills Not Enough As Volleyball Falls to Middlebury, 3-1

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Senior co-captain Mackenzie Bright turned in a season-high 17 kills, but it wasn't enough and the Tufts women's volleyball team fell to Middlebury, 3-1, on the road on Friday night. 

Senior co-captain Mackenzie Bright finished with a season-high 17 kills

With the setback the Jumbos are now 11-8 overall and 5-3 in NESCAC play.  Middlebury improves to 12-3 overall and 5-2 in NESCAC play with the win.

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead in the first set, scoring five straight points behind the serve of Claire White-Dzuro to take a 7-1 lead.  The Panthers held onto that lead for the rest of the first set.  Down 22-12 the Jumbos started a comeback, scoring four straight points behind the serve of freshman Ariel Zedric, but the comeback fell short and the Panthers took set one, 25-15. 

In set two the Panthers once again took an early lead scoring four straight points compliments of a kill from Maggie Wise, two kills from Isabel Sessions and an ace from Shea Golden to take a 5-1 lead.  The Panthers held onto that lead for the duration of the second set, picking up the 25-16 win. 

The Jumbos started a comeback and took the third set from the Panthers.  They grabbed an early lead and held onto that for the first part of the set.  The Panthers tied things at 14, but the Jumbos took the lead again thanks to a kill from freshman Cate Desler and then Bright added two kills of her own and Desler turned in an ace to help the Jumbos take an 18-14 lead.  They were able to pick up the 25-20 in set three. 

In set four the Jumbos took the early lead, but the Panthers tied things at eight and then an ace from Chelsea Ferdinand and a kill from Sessions gave them a 10-8 lead.  The Jumbos came within one, 12-11, thanks to a kill from Bright.  But, the Panthers scored four straight points behind the serve of Gigi Alper to take a 16-11 lead.  They held on to that for a 25-20 win in set four to take the match, 3-1. 

Bright finished with a match-high 17 kills.  Desler added ten kills and six digs along with three blocks.  Junior co-captain Maddie Stewart added 11 kills and three blocks.  Defensively, senior Katie Zheng added six digs and Zedric and junior Rachel Furash each finished with five.  Furash collected 34 assists and Zedric finished with ten. 

Wise was the kill leader for the Panthers with 15.  Sessions added 14 and Sarah Staver added 11 kills and six blocks.  Defensively, Alper collected 17 digs and Ferdinand added seven.  Ferdinand took care of the setting, finishing with 41 assists. 

The Jumbos play again on Friday when they host Springfield for a 7 pm start in Cousens Gym.  Middlebury takes the court again on Saturday when they host Bowdoin for a 2 pm start.