Volleyball Wraps Up New England Challenge Play With Win Over MIT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In their final match of the New England Challenge the No. 13 Tufts volleyball team bounced back from their first loss of the season earlier in the day and picked up 3-1 win over MIT on Saturday afternoon.   The Jumbos finished second in the tournament and freshman Anna Nachmanoff was named to the All-Tournament Team.  

Freshman Anna Nachmanoff was named to the All-Tournament Team

The Jumbos improve to 18-1 overall with the win and remain 6-0 in NESCAC games.  MIT is now 20-5 overall and 6-1 in conference matches. 

After Tufts came out and grabbed an early lead in set one the Engineers fought back and eventually won the first set to take an early lead in the match.  Down 16-11 MIT scored nine straight points off the serve of Madison Lee, including four kills from Alexis Groark, to take a 20-16 lead.  A service error broke up the streak and moved the Jumbos within three, 20-17.  But, the Engineers picked up a 25-18 win in set one. 

The Jumbos took a small lead early in the second set.  Ahead 7-5 Tufts scored four points off the serve of senior Brigid Bell and after a couple of Engineer points, the Jumbos got behind the serve of senior Heather Holz to score five more points to take a 16-7 lead.  The Jumbos held on for a 25-12 win in set two to even the match at one. 

The two teams traded points to start the third set and things were tied various times early on.  With the set locked at eight the Jumbos got a kill from senior Christina Nwankpa and then one from Nachmanoff.  That gave the Jumbos a lead they would not let go of and they moved on to pick up a 25-19 win in set three to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.

In the third set a MIT error broke a tie at eight and gave the Jumbos a one-point advantage.  That was followed by kills from Nwakpa, Nachmanoff and junior Jennifer Ryan to give the Jumbos a 12-8 lead.  MIT hung in there and tried to fight their way back in, but the Jumbos secured the match win with a 25-19 win in set four. 

Nachmanoff led the offense with 11 kills and a couple of blocks.  Senior Maddie Stewart added ten kills and Ryan and Nwankpa each added six kills each.  Ryan also added three blocks.  Holz finished with a couple of kills, two service aces and four blocks.   Bell was the defensive leader with 11 digs, while freshman Stephanie Lee added eight.  Senior Rachel Furash and sophomore Ariel Zedric took care of the setting, finishing with 19 and 15 assists, respectively. 

Groark led the Engineer offense with 25 kills and a couple of blocks.   Alyssa Unell added six kills and Hannah Collins finished with five.  Defensively Sofie Kupiec tallied 14 digs and Madison Lee finished with ten.  Andie Maloney ran the offense, finishing with 36 assists. 

The Jumbos play again on Friday when they travel to Amherst for a 7 pm start with the Mammoths.  MIT takes the court again on Tuesday with a 7 pm match at Wellesley.

Final Standings of the New England Challenge
1. Babson
2. Tufts
3. MIT
4. Middlebury 
5. Williams
6. Springfield

All-Tournament Team 
Katie vonKampen, Springfield
Erin Denham, Williams
Corley Doyle, Middlebury
Alexis Groark, MIT
Anna Nachmanoff, Tufts
Jordan Lapins, Babson
Tournament MVP: Elizabeth Cameron


Action photo credit Zach Webster