Jumbos Comeback Falls Short in Five Set Thriller With Endicott

BEVERLY, Mass. – The Tufts volleyball team came back after losing the first two sets with wins in sets three and four, but it wasn't enough as the Endicott volleyball team edged the Jumbos in the fifth set for the 3-2 win on Saturday afternoon.  The Jumbos got12 kills and five blocks from sophomore Christina Nwankpa.  

Christina Nwankpa led the Jumbos with 12 kills and five blocks

The loss moves the Jumbos to 14-5 this year, while the win helps Endicott move to 14-9 this year. 

Endicott took an early lead in set one, but the Jumbos tied thing at eight and then took a two point lead thanks to an ace from freshman Sophia Acker and a kill from sophomore Brigid Bell.  But the Gulls came right back and tied things at 12 and the two teams would trade the lead for a bit.  With things locked at 17 the Gulls scored four points behind the serve of Cydney Pierce to take a 21-17 lead.  They would hold on to that lead for a 25-21 win in set one. 

In the second set, Endicott jumped out to an early lead and held on to that lead for the duration of the set, winning 25-16 for the 2-0 advantage in the match. 

But, then the Jumbos woke up, taking an early lead in the third set and fighting off a late Endicott rally for the 25-23 win in set three. Set four was the closest of the day and would need extra points to decide a winner. The set was tied nine different times, as the two teams battled back and forth.  With things locked at 26 the Jumbos got a kill from junior Mackenzie Bright and then an ace from senior captain Alex Garrett to take the 28-16 win in set four and even things at two sets each in the match. 

The Gulls scored three quick points in the fifth set, but the Jumbos tied things at four early. The Gulls would then score six straight points behind the serve of Zoey Gifford to take a 10-4 lead. That was too much for the Jumbos to overcome, as the Gulls won the fifth set 15-8.  

Nwankpa was the offensive leader with 12 kills and five blocks for the Jumbos.  Sophomores Brigid Bell and Maddie Stewart and freshman Jennifer Ryan all finished with eight kills each.  Nwankpa's 12 kills came on 18 tries with only two errors for a .556 hitting percentage.  Sophomore Kelly Klimo was the defensive leader with 23 digs.  Sophomore Rachel Furash and junior Angela Yu ran the offense, finishing with 28 and 23 assists, respectively. 

Emma Mancini was unbelievable for the Gulls, setting a program record with 29 kills.  Remi Quesnelle helped with 11 kills and Lauren Sheehan finished with ten of her own.  Pierce was the defensive leader, picking up 22 digs and Mackenzie Kennedy helped with 12 digs of her own. Gifford took care of the setting for the Gulls, totaling 52 assists in the five sets.   

The Jumbos are back in action on Friday, when they head out to Williamstown, Mass. for the New England Challenge.  They open play on Friday with a 7 pm match against MIT.  Endicott plays again on Wednesday with a trip to University of New England for a 7 pm start.