Volleyball Tops Roger Williams, Takes Set From No. 4 Johnson & Wales at JWU Invitational Saturday

PROVIDENCE, R.I – The Tufts volleyball team traveled to Rhode Island to take on No. 4 Johnson & Wales and Roger Williams on Saturday afternoon, and split the day, falling to Johnson & Wales but topping Roger Williams, 3-0.  

Junior Heather Holz collected 12 kills and four blocks vs. JWU

The Jumbos are now 7-5 overall and 2-1 in conference play.  Johnson & Wales improved to 13-1 after winning matches against the Jumbos and Bowdoin on Saturday.  Roger Williams falls to 7-6 this season after losing to the Jumbos and Wesleyan on Saturday. 

In their first match of the day the Jumbos took the first set from Johnson & Wales before falling in the next three (18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19).  They grabbed an early lead in set one and really didn't allow the Wildcats to gain any momentum.  Tufts led by as many as eight as they cruised to a 25-18 win in set one. 

Early in the second set the Wildcats scored eight straight points behind the serve of Katie Leidhold to take a 9-2 lead. The Jumbos answered though, scoring six straight points behind the serve of freshman Ariel Zedric to tie things at 12.  But, the Wildcats took the lead with a kill from Maria Coniglio, and then scored seven consecutive points with Elyssa Nicolas serving to take a 22-13 lead and picked up a 25-16 win in set two to even the match at one. 

Things were close for most of the first half of the third set as the two teams traded points and the lead.  With things tied at 11 the Wildcats took advantage of a Jumbo service error and then a few attack errors to take a 14-11 lead.  The Jumbos fought back, coming within two, 15-13, but the Wildcats were able to pick up the 25-19 win in set three to take the 2-1 advantage in the match. 

The Wildcats took the early lead in set four.  Down 15-10 the Jumbos fought back and came within one, 17-16.  The two teams traded points, but the Wildcats were able to hold on for the 25-19 win in set four to take the match 3-1. 

Junior Heather Holz led the offense finishing with 12 kills and four blocks for the Jumbos.  Freshman Cate Desler helped with ten kills and three digs.  Senior co-captain Mackenzie Bright added six kills.  Sophomore Sophia Acker led the defense with 22 digs and junior Brigid Bell added 14 digs, along with her four kills.  Junior Rachel Furash added nine digs, and took care of the offense, finishing with 28 assists. Zedric added seven assists as well. 

Kate Walker was the offensive leader for the Wildcats, finishing with 14 kills and three blocks while Leidhold added ten kills, eight digs and three aces. Both Hannah Dolan and Maria Coniglio added eight kills and Coniglio also finished with 17 digs and three blocks.  Mikayla Arimura finished with nine digs, and Brylee Frank added eight digs and took care of the setting, finishing with 38 assists.  

The Jumbos responded to the setback by coming out on fire and topping Roger Williams in three sets in their second match of the day (25-14, 25-18, 25-14).  In the first set with things tied at five the Jumbos took advantage of two Hawk errors and then got kills from Holz and Desler to take a 9-5 advantage.  Ahead 16-10 the Jumbos scored five consecutive points to increase their lead to 11, 21-10, and held on to pick up a 25-14 win in set one.

Early in the second set the Jumbos scored five straight points behind the serve of Bell to take an early lead.  But, the Hawks tied things at ten and then took a one-point lead.  The Jumbos tied things at 11 thanks to a kill from junior co-captain Maddie Stewart, and the two teams would trade points and the lead for a bit. With things locked at 14 the Jumbos got kills from junior Christina Nwankpa and Desler, and a service ace from Acker put them up by three 17-14.  They held on to that lead and picked up a 25-18 win in set two to take the 2-0 advantage. 

In the third set things were locked at six early when the Jumbos took advantage of a Hawk service error and then got kills from Holz and Desler to take a 9-6 lead.  Late in the set the Jumbos scored five straights points behind the serve of Zedric to increase their lead to ten, 22-12.  They won the match with a 25-14 win in set three. 

Desler finished with 14 kills and Nwakpa added eight kills and two blocks.  Stewart collected eight kills and Bright turned in six kills.  Bell finished with three kills and 11 digs.  Acker also had 11 digs and three aces.  Furash finished with five digs and 16 assists and Zedric helped with six digs and 16 assists.  

For the Hawks Katherine Pickard was the offensive leader with five kills as Lara Loiaconi, Grace Kenningham and Molly Quilty each added three kills.  Kate Grabowski led the defensive efforts with ten digs and Loiacono added eight of her own.  Julia Fields finished with 11 assists and Kate Porter helped with five assists.

The Jumbos play again on Wednesday when they travel to Wellesley for a 7 pm start.