Volleyball Lifts to 4-0 in NESCAC with Three-Set Victory over Hamilton

MEDFORD - Sophomore Kelly Klimo posted 16 digs and served a pair of aces as the Tufts University women's volleyball team remained undefeated in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 3-0 win over Hamilton College on Friday night at Cousens Gym. The set scores were 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20.

Christina Nwankpa's nine kills led Tufts tonight

Sophomore Christina Nwankpa had nine kills to lead the Jumbos offensively. She made just three errors in 15 attempts to finish with a .400 hitting percentage. Tufts improved to 9-4 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Hamilton (6-4, 2-2) was led by a match-high 10 kills from sophomore Giuliana Rankin.

The opening set was tied 11-11 halfway through and remained close with the Jumbos leading 22-21 before scoring the final three points. Two came on Hamilton errors and the other was a kill by Jumbo sophomore Heather Holz. She had five kills overall to lead Tufts in the first set. Freshman Nikki Matsuoka posted three kills with six digs in set one for the visitors.

The Jumbos turned an early 8-7 advantage into a 14-7 lead with six straight points in the second set. Sophomore Maddie Stewart and senior Alex Garrett had kills, while Klimo served one of her aces and sophomore Brigid Bell and Holz combined on a block during the run. Klimo's seven digs paced Tufts in the middle set, while Hamilton's Rankin recorded five of her kills.

The Continentals led 17-13 in the third set following a kill by Matsuoka. However, the Jumbos scored eight of the next 10 points to surge to a 21-19 advantage on a Hamilton attack error. The Jumbos finished off the victory with three consecutive points on a pair of Mackenzie Bright kills sandwiched around Bell's service ace. Tufts had its best hitting set of the night in the third (.308) led by Nwankpa's six kills and no errors on seven attempts. Matsuoka finished the set with four digs for Hamilton.

Sophomore Rachel Furash added seven kills, 20 assists and seven digs to the Tufts effort. Holz did not make an error on the evening with eight kills in 12 swings (.667). Garrett had 12 digs as Tufts finished with four in double digits for that category. 

Matsuoka recorded seven kills and 15 digs for the match, while freshman Emma Parkhurst (22 assists) and junior Meghan Wilkinson (11 digs) were key Continental contributors.

The Jumbos continue NESCAC action tomorrow against Williams College in a 2 p.m. start. The Continentals head up to Bowdoin for a 1 p.m. conference tilt.

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