MEDFORD – Playing their final weekend of the regular season, the No. 14 Tufts volleyball team started off the weekend by picking up a 3-0 win over visiting Bates on Friday night in Cousens Gym. The Jumbos were led by ten kills and 15 digs from senior Brigid Bell.
|Brigid Bell led the Jumbo offense with ten kills and added 15 digs|
With the win Tufts is now 22-1 overall this season and 9-0 in NESCAC play. Bates falls to 16-8 overall and 4-5 in conference matches.
The Jumbos took the lead early in the first set, but the set remained close, as the Jumbos didn't lead by more than a couple points. With the score locked at 15 the Jumbos scored five straight points off the serve of senior Heather Holz to take a 20-15 lead. After a Bobcat point thanks to a kill from Olivia McCulloch, the Jumbos scored four more, this time off the serve of senior Rachel Furash. That gave them a 24-16 lead and they were able to pick up the 25-18 win in set one.
Once again, the Jumbos took the lead in the second set but the Bobcats hung with them. Ahead by three, 13-10, the Jumbos pulled away scoring seven straight behind the serve of freshman Stephanie Lee, including a couple of kills from senior Maddie Stewart and an ace from Lee. That gave the Jumbos a 20-11 lead, and they moved to a 25-14 win in set two.
The first five points of the third set were scored by the Jumbos. They built a sizeable lead, ahead 22-10 when the Bobcats tried to work their way back in it. They would score five straight off the serve of Taylor Stafford-Smith to come within six, 22-16. But the Jumbos took advantage of a Bates error and then got a kill from junior Jennifer Ryan. After a couple of Bobcat points, another kill from Ryan sealed the third set win, 25-18, to give the Jumbos the match win.
Bell was the offensive leader with ten kills and she also added 15 digs to her night. Stewart finished with nine kills and three blocks and Ryan tallied eight kills. Holz, senior Christina Nwankpa and sophomore Cate Desler all finished with five kills. Holz added three blocks and Desler helped with ten digs. Defensively, Lee tallied 18 digs to lead the Jumbos. Furash and sophomore Ariel Zedric ran the offense, finishing with 23 and 15 assists, respectively.
McCulloch was the offensive leader for the Bobcats, finishing with seven kills. Stafford-Smith added six and Angel Echipue and Sydney Phillips each turned in four kills. Defensively, Gabi Eustache collected 12 digs. Megan Seabury helped with nine and Julia Panepinto added seven. Panepinto and Emma Eide took care of the setting, as Panepinto finished with ten assists and Eide had 11.
The Jumbos are back in action on Saturday when they wrap up regular season play with matches at 12 pm against Colby and 5 pm against Hunter. Bates wraps up their regular season tomorrow with a 2 pm match at Bowdoin.