Behind Bright's 15 Kills Volleyball Picks Up 3-1 Win Over Brandeis

MEDFORD – They needed four sets, but the Tufts volleyball team found their rhythm and picked up a 3-1 win over Brandeis Wednesday night in Cousens Gym.  The Jumbos were led by senior co-captain Mackenzie Bright who finished with 15 kills, seven digs and four blocks.  

Christina Nwankpa finished with nine kills and five blocks in the win

With the win (25-17, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17) the Jumbos improve to 4-2 on the season, while Brandeis falls to 5-3 with the setback.  

In the first set the two teams traded points and the lead early.  An ace from junior Jumbo Brigid Bell tied the score at 11, and then the Jumbos took advantage of two Judge errors to take a 13-11 lead.  The Judges broke up the scoring streak with a kill from Marissa Borgert, but the Jumbos got a kill from sophomore Jennifer Ryan and they didn't look back.  Scoring six points behind the serve of freshman Cate Desler towards the end of the set gave the Jumbos a lead they didn't let go of, and they picked up the 25-17 win in set one.  

It was Brandeis that jumped out to an early lead in the second set.  The set was tied seven times as the two teams battled back and forth. With things locked at 20 the Judges got kills from Emerson White and Belle Scott.  They took the lead and picked up the 25-22 win in set two to even the match at one. 

In set three with the score tied at seven freshman Cate Desler put the Jumbos ahead with a kill and Bright followed with an ace.  The Jumbos did not let go of that lead, and were ahead for the rest of the set on their way to a 25-19 win in set three.  

The final set went the Jumbos way.  Tufts took an early lead and didn't allow the Judges to score more than two consecutive points at any point during the set.  A 25-17 win in set four gave the Jumbos a 3-1 win. 

Bright finished with 15 kills on 27 attempts with just one error for a remarkable .519 hitting percentage.  She added seven digs and four blocks.  Desler turned in 12 kills and junior Christina Nwankpa finished with nine kills and four blocks.  Sophomore Sophia Acker led the defense with 23 digs, but Bell helped with 13 of her own and junior Rachel Furash added ten.  Furash ran the offense, finishing with 37 assists.  The Jumbos finished the match with 18 blocks.  

For the Judges, Borgert was the offensive leader with nine kills.  Emma Bartlett added eight and Shea Decker-Jaboby tallied six.  Scott finished with five kills and five blocks. Defensively Grace Krumpack had 15 digs and Yvette Cho added 14.  Marlee Nork took care of the setting for the Judges, turning in 24 assists. 

The Jumbos play again this weekend when they hit the road for their first NESCAC road trip. They will play at Bates on Friday at 7 pm and at Colby on Saturday at 1 pm.  Brandeis takes the court again on Friday when they travel to Endicott for a 5 pm start.