Jumbos Fall Short in NESCAC Title Game, Wesleyan Wins 3-1

MEDFORD – Sophomore Brigid Bell finished with a 12 kills and 11 digs, but it wasn't enough as the first seeded Tufts Volleyball team fell to second seeded Weslseyan in the NESCAC Final on Sunday afternoon in Cousens Gym.  The NESCAC Championship is a program first for Wesleyan.

Angela Yu finished with 21 assists and 12 digs for the Jumbos on Sunday

The Jumbos are now 22-6 and will wait to see if they are granted an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Wesleyan is 21-5 and receives the conference automatic bid and will await NCAA Regional seedings. 

The Jumbos came out strong and won the first set, 25-22.  The Jumbos picked up ten blocks in the first set as sophomore Maddie Stewart had six of her own.  Tufts took and early lead in the first set, and they held on to that for nearly the entire set.  Wesleyan tied things at 22, but the Jumbos got a kill from sophomore Christina Nwankpa, followed by a kill from classmate Heather Holz and a Wesleyan error gave the Jumbos the 25-22 lead. 

It was the Cardinals that took the lead in the second set, but the Jumbos tied things at nine. The two teams then traded points and the lead for most of the rest of the set.  With things tied at 19 the Cardinals took a lead thanks to a kill from Madeleine Lundberg and they were able to hold on to that advantage for a 25-23 win in set two. 

Wesleyan kept the momentum an was leading early in the third set, 7-1. The Jumbos would come within two, 11-9, but that's as close as they would get as Wesleyan took the third set by a final of 25-17.  

The Jumbos took control of the fourth set early, but the Cardinals tied things at five.  The Jumbos took another lead but the Cardinals tied things at 11. A Jumbo error and then kills from Nicole Hilton, Madeleine Lundberg and Harper Gravesgave the Cardinals a lead. That was too much for the Jumbos to overcome and the Cardinals won 25-14 in the fourth set. 

Bell was the offensive leader for the Jumbos with 12 kills and Stewart added ten, while Holz finished with eight. Sophomore Kelly Klimo led the defensive efforts with 19 digs and junior Angela Yu added 12.  Stewart finished with ten blocks and Nwankpa added six while Holz tallied five.  Yu and sophomore Rachel Furash took care of the setting, finishing with 21 and 18 assists, respectively.

Hilton was the offensive leader for the Cardinals with 13 kills as Graves finished with 12 and Lundberg tallied 11.  Defensively, Phia Bellizzi totaled 19 digs and Lundberg helped with 17.  Hilton also added five blocks to her day.  Kaira Muraoka-Robert took care of the setting for the Cardinals, finishing with 42 assists.  

The NCAA selection show is at 12:30 pm on Monday afternoon.  The Cardinals will find out where they are playing and the Jumbos will find out if they receive a bid to the tournament.

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