|Mackenzie Bright's 17 kills against Endicott is a career high|
BEVERLEY, Mass. – Opening play in the MIT Invitational the Tufts volleyball team picked up wins over Endicott and Wellesley at Endicott on Friday evening. The Jumbos topped the Gulls, 3-1, to open tournament play and then closed out the evening with a 3-0 blanking of Wellesley. The Jumbos will continue invitational play tomorrow when they travel to MIT to take on Brandeis and Regis.
With the win the Jumbos improve to 3-0 on the season, as they topped Clark in their home opener on Wednesday evening. Endicott falls to 4-3 with the setback while Wellesley is now 3-2 this season.
The Jumbos jumped out to a two set lead against Endicott in their first match of the day. In the first set they took an early lead that they were able to maintain for most of the set. The Gulls would come within one, 18-17, after a couple of kills from Emma Macini. For the rest of the set the Jumbos and Gulls would trade points, but the Jumbos held on for a 25-22 win.
Set two was close in the beginning as the two teams traded the lead until the Jumbos were able to score seven consecutive points behind the serve of rookie Rachel Furash to take a 16-11 lead. They would go on to pick up a 25-15 win.
It was Endicott that was able to take the lead and keep it in the third set, downing the Jumbos 25-19. But, Tufts responded in the fourth set. After being down early the Jumbos came back to tie the set at seven. After a Jumbo lead, the Gulls would not give up and tied the set at 19. Kills from junior McKenzie Humann and sophomore Mackenzie Bright gave the Jumbos the lead again, and they took a 25-22 win in set four for the 3-1 win.
Bright finished with a career high 17 kills for the Jumbos while senior co-captain Elizabeth Ahrens and freshman Maddie Stewart both tallied eight kills. Humann finished with six blocks and freshman Brigid Bell added five blocks of her own. Furash took care of the setting, finishing with 36 assists. Freshman Kelly Klimo tallied 23 digs.
The second match was a bit easier for the Jumbos as they won in straight sets, 25-12, 25-15, 25-17. The Jumbos took an early lead in the first set and never looked back, cruising to a 25-12 win. It was the Blue that took the early lead in the second set, but the Jumbos scored six straight points behind the serve of Bell to take the lead and were able to hold on to it. Set three was nearly the same, a Blue lead early, but the Jumbos took it back and were able to maintain it.
Freshman Christina Nwankpa was the offensive leader with ten kills while senior Mary Maccabee added eight of her own. Klimo finished with 16 digs and sophomore Angela Yu helped with 12 of her own. Nwankpa added four blocks to her kills and Ahrens was able to help with three blocks of her own. Yu and Furash split the setting, finishing with 14 and 13 assists, respectively.
The Jumbos are back in action in MIT Invitational play on Saturday when they travel to MIT to take on Brandeis at 1 pm and follow that with a 3 pm match against Regis to close out tournament play.