|Brigid Bell was key offensively for the Jumbos in both matches|
CAMBRIDGE – On day two of the New England Challenge the Tufts volleyball team picked up two big wins against NEWMAC rivals MIT and Babson. The Jumbos defeated MIT, 3-2, in a closely contested five set match and then picked up their second 3-0 win over Babson this year.
With the wins the Jumbos move to 21-2 overall and are still 9-0 in NESCAC play. MIT won the New England Challenge, but it was extremely close as both MIT and Springfield finished 22-1 with the same sets won-lost record. It went down to point differential, with MIT taking the title and Springfield finishing second. Williams finished third (2-1, sets won-lost % .636) and the Jumbos were fourth (2-1, sets won-lost % .545). Freshman Kelly Klimo was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Jumbos picked up an early lead against MIT in the first match of the day as they took the lead in the first set and held on to it for the duration of the set, picking up the 25-21 win. Set two featured a ton of lead changes, and the two teams were locked at 22 late in the set. But, a kill from sophomore Mackenzie Bright, a service ace from freshman Brigid Bell and a kill from sophomore Angela Yu helped the Jumbos take the 25-22 win in set two.
The Engineers responded, taking a 25-23 win in set three and a 25-21 win in set four and the match was decided by the fifth set. With things locked at six, the Jumbos scored five straight points behind the serve of Bell, including two aces and a few MIT errors and took the 11-6 lead. The Jumbos would hold the lead and pick up a 15-10 win in the fifth set to take the 3-2 win over the Engineers.
Bell was the offensive leader against the Engineers with 13 kills while freshman Maddie Stewart added ten and senior McKenzie Humann also turned in ten. Humann also added six blocks and Stewart added five blocks to her efforts. Bright finished with nine kills and senior Elizabeth Ahrens added eight kills and three blocks to the match. Defensively, Klimo had 17 digs, as did Bell. Freshman Rachel Furash and Yu split the setting with Furash tallying 20 assists and Yu finishing with 23.
The Jumbos wrapped up the day with a 3-0 win over Babson. The Jumbos faced off with the Beavers earlier this year and were able to top them by a similar score. The three set win came by scores of 25-12, 25-7, 25-18.
In the first set the Jumbos opened by scoring five straight points behind the serve of Furash. After a Beaver point, the Jumbos added six more consecutive points, this time behind the serve of Bell to take the 11-1 lead early. Babson was not able to overcome the deficit and the Jumbos took the 25-12 win.
Tufts took the lead in the second set again, and at one point led by as many as eight points on their way to a 25-17 win in set two. In the third set it was Babson that took the early lead. The Jumbos tied the match at nine, and the two teams traded points and the lead for most of the rest of the match. With things locked at 18 the Jumbos would score the next seven points, all behind the serve of junior Alex Garrett, to take the 25-18 win.
Bell and Stewart were once again the offensive leaders as they both finished with eight kills. Humann added four kills and three blcoks to the win. Klimo led the defensive efforts with 12 digs while Bell tallied ten and Garrett nine. Furash and Yu once again handled the setting as Furash tallied 14 assists and Yu added six.
The Jumbos will be back in action on Saturday when they wrap up NESCAC play with a 2 pm match against Connecticut College at home in Cousens Gym. That is the regular season finale for the Jumbos who have clinched NESCAC Tournament hosting rights and will open play on Friday, November 4 in Cousens Gym.