Jumbo Volleyball Wins Pair of Three-Set Matches on Opening Night of MIT Invitational

Sophomore Rebecca Rubin served six aces against Newbury

MEDFORD - The Tufts volleyball team swept Newbury College and Smith College on Friday night as they hosted matches for the 2012 MIT Invitational at Cousens Gymnasium.

The Jumbos won 25-9, 25-15, 25-11 over the Newbury College Nighthawks in an opening round match-up in the MIT Invitational on Friday afternoon at Cousens. They followed with a 25-20, 25-15, 27-25 victory against Smith in an 8 pm match. Coach Cora Thompson's Jumbos are now 6-2 overall.

In the opener against Newbury, the Jumbos used a seven-point run in the middle of the first set to push the lead to double digits, 14-4. During the run, first-year's Jessica Ingrum (Highlands Ranch, CO) and Julia Moradian (Oakland, CA) had a kill and a service ace respectively. Tufts capped the set with four straight points with the final two being tallied on service aces by sophomore Rebecca Rubin (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY).

The second set had no ties or lead changes as Tufts led wire-to-wire. Newbury did its best to hang around, not letting the lead go over 10 points. In final set, Newbury had early leads of 3-2 and 4-3 before the Jumbos assumed control. Tufts scored the final five points of the set to win.

Tufts sophomore Kelly Brennan (Burr Ridge, IL) had a match-high nine kills. Senior Kendall Lord (LaJolla, CA) had 17 assists while Rubin and Moradian finished with six and five aces respectively.

Sophomore Sydney Fish (Kalamazoo, MI) led the Nighthawks (5-7) with five kills and 10 digs. Junior Jessy Touron (Brockton, MA) also had five kills while senior Sarah Young (Waterloo, NY) led Newbury with eight assists.

In Tufts' second match, Smith jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, backed by a pair of kills from first-year Mei-Li Smith (Cypress, CA) and a service ace by senior Blair Bell (Upper Montclair, NJ). Four would be the largest advantage for the Pioneers in the set as Tufts came back to take the lead for good at 8-7. A kill by sophomore Cameron Longyear (Manhattan Beach, CA) gave the Jumbos their largest advantage of the set at 22-15.

The second set had two ties and two lead changes. Smith led by four, 8-4, at one point before the Jumbos once again came back to take control. Tufts tallied four in a row to force an 8-8 tie and then they scored eight of the next 10 points to go up 16-10, forcing a time-out from the Pioneers. The Jumbo lead never got below four the rets of the way and junior Virginia Clay (Santa Clara, CA) wrapped things up for Tufts with three service aces in a five-point run to end the set.

The Pioneers once again built an early lead in the third set, 4-0. The advantage ballooned to as much as six at 12-6, which forced the Jumbos to halt the action with a time-out. Smith's largest lead came at 17-10 after an ace by Bell. Then the Jumbos tallied five points in a row to pull within two at 17-15. Tufts fought to tie the score at 19 before taking its first lead at 20-19. Then there were ties at 20 through 25 before the Jumbos picked up two straight for the victory.

Sophomore Kelly Brennan (Burr Ridge, IL) finished with a match-high 12 kills, adding nine digs. Senior Kendall Lord (LaJolla, CA) had 35 assists and five digs while first-year Carolina Berger (Fort Lauderdale, FL) chipped in with 12 digs.

Junior Bethany Ashworth (North Falmouth, MA) led the Pioneers with 16 assists and eight digs. First-year Mei-Li Smith had a team-high 11 kills and Bell had three service aces and seven digs. Junior Sonia Brown (Amherst, MA) finished with a team-high 10 digs.

Tufts will take on Springfield in the MIT Invitational on Saturday morning at 11 am at Brandeis University. The Jumbos will also play MIT at 2 pm. Smith, which dropped to 3-5, continue in the MIT Invitational at 12 pm tomorrow against Colby at Endicott College.

Newbury match statistics

Smith match statistics