Volleyball Prepares to Host NESCAC Tournament Friday-Sunday at Cousens Gym

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University volleyball team will host the 2016 NESCAC Tournament on Friday-Sunday at Cousens Gym in Medford, Massachusetts, as the Jumbos will square off against eighth-seeded Connecticut College in quarterfinal-round action Friday at 5 p.m. 

The 2016 Jumbos (22-2, 10-0 in NESCAC) went undefeated in conference play for the first time since the 2008 season. Over the past nine years, the Jumbos have boasted a combined 202-66 record, including a 73-17 mark in NESCAC play. During that span, the squad has totaled 20 or more wins in seven out of nine seasons. 

McKenzie Humann has tallied 139 kills and 88 blocks this season.

The team has been a model of success over that time frame, as it has been led by four-time NESCAC Coach of the Year Cora Thompson. The Jumbos have reached the NCAA Division III Tournament five times in the last eight seasons, including reaching the quarterfinal round in 2009. The team has also reached three NESCAC finals over that eight-year gap. 

The other three quarterfinal-round matches Friday will feature second-seeded Middlebury against seventh-seeded Bates at 5 p.m., third-seeded Amherst against sixth-seeded Wesleyan at 8 p.m. and fourth-seeded Bowdoin against fifth-seeded Williams at 8 p.m. 

"Our team is incredibly excited to host the NESCAC Tournament this year," said sophomore Mackenzie Bright. "It is an absolute privilege to be able to host such a tough tournament in our house."

The Jumbos will be familiar with the Camels, as the two teams competed against each other last Saturday in Medford, Massachusetts. The Jumbos posted a 3-0 victory (25-22, 25-21, 25-13), as they were led by freshman Kelly Klimo (16 digs), freshman Brigid Bell (eight digs, six kills), senior captain Elizabeth Ahrens (eight kills) and junior captain Alexandra Garrett (nine digs).

The large amount of contributors has been a theme of the 2016 version of the Jumbos, as five players posted over 100 kills during the regular season. The team has been led by its entire 15-player roster, including Ahrens (168 kills, 77 digs, 65 blocks), Bell (203 kills, 188 digs, 28 aces), Klimo (366 digs, 71 assists), Garrett (163 digs), Bright (133 kills), sophomore Angela Yu (477 assists, 176 digs), senior McKenzie Humann (139 kills, 88 blocks), sophomore Katie Zheng (128 assists, 57 digs), junior Katie Kim (112 kills), senior Mary Maccabee (98 kills), freshman Christina Nwankpa (72 kills, 28 blocks), freshman Maddie Stewart (71 kills), freshman Rachel Furash (66 digs), freshman Ginny Ulichney (17 digs) and freshman Heather Holz (11 kills).  

"The chemistry this season has been terrific," said Bright. "Everyone has a common goal in mind, and it has really helped to bond us all. Having such a balanced attack is really a blessing because it creates a lot of trust. We know that no matter who is on the court, they are fully capable of playing to our team potential."

The Jumbos opened the 2016 season in style, by posting an eight-game winning streak, ranging from Sept. 7-17, and then the squad recorded an 11-game unbeaten streak from Sept. 24-Oct. 19. The squad has won 67 sets this season and only lost 20, as it has won 11 matches by the score of 3-0. 

"This season, we have really focused on being in the present moment," said Bright. "We definitely made sure to take everything one game at a time. Each game presented a new set of challenges, and we really worked to focus on them one at a time."

The two semifinal-round matches of the NESCAC Tournament will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively, while the final will be on Sunday at noon. All matches will be played in Medford, Massachusetts.

Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern