Volleyball Closes Out Regular Season With Wins Over Colby and Hunter

MEDFORD –  The No. 14 Tufts volleyball team wrapped up their regular season schedule with a pair of wins in Cousens Gym on Saturday afternoon.  The Jumbos completed a perfect 10-0 NESCAC regular season with a 3-0 win over Colby, and then finished out their regular season slate with a 3-1 win over Hunter. 

Heather Holz turned in seven kills and five blocks against Hunter

The Jumbos finish the regular season with a 24-1 overall mark and a perfect 10-0 record in conference play.  The perfect record earns them the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament, which they will host in Cousens Gym November 8-10.  Colby falls to 9-19 overall and 2-8 in NESCAC play after the loss to the Jumbos.  Hunter defeated Colby before falling to the Jumbos, and after Saturday the Hawks are 13-17 overall and 7-0 in conference matches.   

The Jumbos started the day with a 3-0 win over Colby.  Ahead early in the first set, 5-4, the Jumbos got two kills from senior Brigid Bell and then another from junior Jennifer Ryan to take a 9-4 lead.  Colby came within two, 10-8, but the Jumbos pushed their lead to six, 15-9, thanks to a couple of kills and an ace from Bell.  They picked up a 25-16 win in set one.  

Tufts scored the first four points of the second set behind the serve of senior Rachel Furash. Colby broke up the streak with a point, but the Jumbos jumped behind the serves of freshman Stephanie Lee and sophomore Ariel Zedric and grew their lead to 12, 15-3.  Colby would cut that lead to six, but that's as close as they got as the Jumbos won the second set 25-13.   

The Jumbos jumped out to an early 8-1 lead in the third set. Down 13-4 the Mules took advantage of some Jumbo errors and cut the lead to four, 13-9.  That would be as close as they got as the Jumbos won the match with a 25-15 win in set three. 

Senior Maddie Stewart led the Jumbo offense with nine kills.  Bell finished with eight kills and ten digs.  Ryan, and senior Christina Nwankpa each added six kills.  Sophomore Cate Desler finished with five kills and six digs.  Defensively, Lee tallied ten digs.  Furash and Zedric took care of the setting, as Furash collected 22 assists and Zedric finished with 12. 

Nicole Petherbridge was the offensive leader for the Mules, finishing with ten kills.  Defensively, Elizabeth Middlebrook tallied eight digs.  Morgan Selby ran the offense, finishing with 15 assists.  

In their second match of the day the Jumbos picked up a 3-1 win over Hunter.  The Jumbos scored the first six points of the first set behind the serve of Bell.  Ahead 11-6 the Jumbos got on another roll, this time off the serve of Holz to grow their lead to ten, 16-6. They won the first set 25-11. 

Things were close at the start of the second set as the two teams traded points.  With the score locked at seven the Jumbos scored eight straight with Desler serving, including an ace from Desler, a kill from Bell and a few Hawk errors to take a 15-7 lead. They won the second set 25-12.  

Hunter jumped out to an early lead in the third set and commanded the set.  They were ahead 5-2 early when the Jumbos took advantage of a couple of Hawk errors to come within one, 5-4.  But, the Hawks never relinquished the lead, scoring the final four points of the third set to pick up the 25-14 win. 

The Jumbos answered right back in the fourth set.  After the Hawks scored the first point, Tufts got a kill from Stewart and capitalized on a few Hawk errors.  Ahead 7-4 the Jumbos scored four straight including two aces from Desler to take an 11-4 lead.  They grew that lead later on, scoring five straight off the serve of Zedric to take a 24-9 lead and picked up the 25-10 win in set four to take the match. 

Ryan finished with nine kills and two blocks.  Holz added seven kills and five blocks.  Stewart added six kills and Nwankpa, Bell and Desler each added five kills.  Desler also finished with 12 digs, Bell turned in 14 digs and Nwankpa added three blocks.  Lee led the defense with 18 digs.  Furash and Zedric split the setting, finishing with 18 and 15 assists, respectively. 

For the Hawks Kylie Hurst was the offensive leader with 11 kills and 14 digs.  Mariam Ouattara and Isabelle Lawrence each added seven kills.  Defensively Hurst's 14 digs led the efforts, but Sunghee Cho and Vanessa Sanchez each added 12 digs.  Justine Smith and Summer Magliochetti took care of the setting, as Smith finished with 21 assists and Magliochetti collected eight. 

The Jumbos are back in action on Friday when they host Hamilton in the NESCAC Quarterfinals at 5 pm.  Colby's season came to an end today as the Mules failed to qualify for the NESCAC Tournament.  Hunter plays again on Friday when they begin play in the CUNYAC Tournament.