Volleyball Picks Up Wins Over DeSales and Coast Guard on Saturday Afternoon

NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Tufts volleyball team collected two wins on the second day of the Coast Guard / Connecticut College Tournament, beating DeSales, 3-0, and then earning a 3-0 win over Coast Guard. The Jumbos finished the tournament 3-0 and did not drop a set in three matches. 

Christina Nwankpa added 16 kills and six blocks across two matches Saturday 

After the three wins this weekend the Jumbos improve to 4-0 overall this season.  DeSales dropped to 3-4 with the loss.  Coast Guard is 5-3 after the setback to the Jumbos. 

The Jumbos started Saturday with a 3-0 win over DeSales.  With things locked at 11 in the first set, Tufts took advantage of a Bulldog error and then got kills from senior Heather Holz and sophomore Cate Desler to take a lead they wouldn't let go of.  The Jumbos won 25-16 in the first set.  

In the second set the Jumbos jumped out to an early lead and commanded the entire set.  In the third set, with the score locked at six, the Jumbos scored four points behind the serve of sophomore Ariel Zedric to take a 10-6 lead.  The Bulldogs fought back and came within one, 12-11, but the Jumbos got behind the serve of senior Rachel Furash this time, scoring five points to take a 17-11 lead that led to a 25-19 win in set three to take the match. 

Senior Maddie Stewart was the offensive leader with eight kills, two digs and two blocks.  Desler and senior Christina Nwankpa finished with seven kills each and Desler added four digs and two blocks while Nwankpa helped with three blocks.  Holz and junior Jennifer Ryan each added six kills.  Junior Sophia Acker led the defensive efforts with ten digs.  Furash and Zedric took care of the setting, as Furash finished with 17 assists and Zedric 15. 

For the Bulldogs McKenzie Brady finished with seven kills and six digs.  Morghan Shoemaker helped with six kills and two blocks.  Georgia Traynor led the defense with seven digs, but Brady, Audrey Wolfe and Cristal Fernandez all added six digs each.  Wolf ran the offense, finishing with 22 assists. 

In their second match of the day the Jumbos went extra points in the first set with Coast Guard.  The entire set was extremely close, but down 24-23, the Jumbos took advantage of a Coast Guard error to lock the score at 24.  Things were then tied at 25, 26 and 27.  With the set tied at 27, kills from Bell and Nwankpa gave Tufts the 29-27 win in set one. 

The second set started just like the first, as it was extremely close and tied many times.  With the set tied at 20 the Jumbos scored five straight points behind the serve of Bell, including kills from Desler and Stewart and a few Bear errors to take the 25-20 win in set two.  

It was all Tufts in the third set, as the Jumbos took a lead from the start and never let go of that lead on their way to a 25-14 win in set three to take the match.  

Stewart led the offense with 12 kills, three digs and three blocks.  Nwankpa finished with nine kills and three blocks and Bell added eight kills, 16 digs and four service aces.  Desler turned in six kills and four digs. Acker helped with 13 digs and a couple of aces.  Furash tallied 23 assists and Zedric finished with 13.  

For the Bears Noelle Tursky collected double-digit kills with ten.  She also added five digs and a couple of blocks.  Angelou Dunton finished with nine kills and five digs and Bridget Boyle and Amanda Dake each added six kills.  Veronica Hine led the defense with 13 digs.  Makenna Martin and Tursky took care of the setting, finishing with 17 and 16 assists, respectively. 

The Jumbos play again on Friday when they open up play in the MIT Invitational with Endicott at 6:30 pm.  DeSales is back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Moravian for a 7 pm start.  Coast Guard takes the court again on Thursday with a trip to Merchant Marine for a 6 pm start.