Bell and Acker's Season-High Kills Lead Volleyball to NESCAC Quarterfinal Win Over Bates

MEDFORD – Behind a season high 15 kills from sophomore Brigid Bell, the first seeded Tufts volleyball team knocked off eighth-seeded Bates, 3-1, in NESCAC Quarterfinal action in Cousens Gym on Friday night. 

Sophia Acker turned in a career-high 11 kills for the Jumbos against Bates

The win helps the Jumbos improve to 21-5 on the year and advance to NESCAC Semifinal play where they will take on the winner of the match between fourth seeded Hamilton and fifth seeded Amherst at 1 pm.  The Bobcats see their season come to an end with a 12-14 mark. 

Bates came ready to play and jumped out to an early lead in the first set. The Jumbos tied things at nine, and the two teams would trade points a bit until the Jumbos scored six straight points behind the serve of sophomore Kelly Klimo to take a 16-11 lead. They held on to that lead for a 25-16 win in set one. 

They carried that momentum right into the second set, and took an early lead that they held onto for most of the set.  The Bobcats tied things at 15 and the two teams would trade points and the lead until things were locked at 20.  The Jumbos got a kills from sophomore Maddie Stewart, junior Mackenzie Bright and Bell and an ace from sophomore Heather Holz to take a 24-20 advantage that they made a 25-23 win in set two. 

It was Bates that would pick up the win in set three though.  Things were close for the entire set as the two teams traded the lead and no team led by more than three points. With the score locked at 23 the Bobcats got a kill from Delaney Mayfield and a Jumbo error gave them the 25-23 win in set three to move the match score to 2-1 in the Jumbos favor.

After trading points early on in set four the Jumbos took a lead and kept that lead for a 25-19 win in set four for the 3-1 match win. 

Bell led the Jumbos with a season-high 15 kills and added 12 digs to her night.  Bright finished with 11 kills and freshman Sophia Acker added a season-high ten kills.  Nwankpa finished with eight kills and four blocks, Stewart added nine kills and two blocks and Holz tallied eight kills and two blocks.  Klimo led the Jumbo defense with a season-high 32 digs and junior Angela Yu added 12 digs, while senior captain Alex Garrett helped with 11 digs.  Yu and sophomore Rachel Furash split the settin duties, and Yu finished with 20 assists and Furash tallied 26. 

For the Bobcats Angel Echipue finished with nine kills and five blocks and Taylor Stafford-Smith added eight kills and 16 digs.  Both Ruby Lightbourn and Claire Naughton finished with six kills.  Gabi Eustache led the defensive efforts with 20 digs, while Jaqueline Forney helped with 16 digs.  Forney ran the offense, finishing with 31 assists. 

The Jumbos await the winner of the Hamilton and Amherst match, and the winners play on Saturday at 1 pm in the first semifinal match of the day.  The other semifinal match has Wesleyan taking on the winner of the match between Bowdoin and Middlebury.