MEDFORD – Behind 11 kills and five blocks from senior Christina Nwankpa the No. 17 Tufts volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 win over NESCAC foe Hamilton in Cousens Gym on Friday night.
|Senior Christina Nwankpa led the offense with 11 kills and five blocks|
With the win the Jumbos improve to 13-0 overall and 4-0 in NESCAC play. Hamilton moves to 7-5 overall and 1-2 in conference matches.
The first set was the closest of the night. The Jumbos jumped out to an early lead and were ahead 14-6. The Continentals got behind the serve of Kendall Searcy to score six straight points to come within two, 14-12. But, that was as close as they got as the Jumbos picked up a 25-19 win in set one.
The Continentals were ahead in the second set 5-4 when the Jumbos scored eight points off the serve of freshman Stephanie Lee, including two kills each from senior Maddie Stewart and sophomore Cate Desler. Tufts would hold on to that lead for a 25-15 win in set two.
The Jumbos scored the first nine points of the third set with senior Brigid Bell serving. That nine-point lead was enough for them to move to a 25-7 win in set three to take the match.
Nwankpa was the offensive leader for the Jumbos with 11 kills on 17 attempts for a phenomenal .588 hitting percentage. She also added five blocks to her night. Stewart finished with seven kills and five blocks. Desler tallied six kills and two digs. Senior Heather Holz added six kills and two blocks. Bell finished with four kills and 12 digs. Defensively Lee added 12 digs to the win. Senior Rachel Furash tallied 27 assists and sophomore Ariel Zedric added seven of her own.
Giuliana Rankin led the Continental offense, finishing with nine kills. Deirdre Corrigan and Kendall Boxe each added five kills. Nikki Matsuoka was the defensive leader with 15 digs, while Corrigan added seven. Jo Dine collected 13 assists and Emma Parkhurst added eight.
The Jumbos are back in action on Saturday when they continue NESCAC play with Williams at 2 pm. Hamilton heads to Bowdoin on Saturday for a 2 pm start with the Polar Bears.
Action photo credit to Zach Webster