Career-High 18 Kills From Stewart Helps Volleyball Win Season Opener Over Emerson

MEDFORD – Behind a career-high 18 kills from senior Maddie Stewart the Tufts volleyball team came from behind and used a powerful fifth set to take a 3-2 win over visiting Emerson in Cousens Gym on Wednesday night.  The match was the season opener for the Jumbos. 

Junior Sophia Acker matched her career-high with 25 digs 

While the Jumbos improve to 1-0 with the win, the setback was the first of the season for the Lions (2-1). 

The first set was extremely close and the score was tied 15 times.  With things locked at 19 the Lions got kills from Caroline Bond and Grace Tepper to take a 21-19 lead.  They would hold on to that lead for a 25-22 win in set one. 

Things were close to start in the second set, but with things tied at six early the Jumbos took advantage of three Lion errors to take a 9-6 lead.  After a Lion kill, sophomore Cate Desler and senior Heather Holz turned in kills and then two aces from Desler gave the Jumbos a 13-7 advantage. The Jumbos would move on to a 25-18 win in set two to even the match at one.

The Jumbos took an early lead in the third set and held on to that for most of the set.  With a 22-15 lead the Lions got a kill from Albany Alexander and then scored two more points off Jumbo errors.  After a Jumbo kill the Lions got a kill from Tepper and then two more Jumbo errors brought them within two, 23-21.  But, the Jumbos were able to hold on, and a kill from senior Christina Nwankpa sealed a 25-21 win in set two for the Jumbos to take a 2-1 advantage in the match. 

In the fourth set the Jumbos took a lead and held onto it for a bit. Trailing 19-18 the Lions scored five straight points behind the serve of Logan Steenbergen to take a 22-10 win.  The Jumbos answered back, and after a Lion error and a kill from Stewart, an ace from freshman Jenelle Yarwood tied things at 22.  But, three Jumbo errors gave the Lions a 25-22 win in set four to even the match at two. 

After Emerson scored the first point of the fifth set, the Jumbos tied things at one with a kill from senior Brigid Bell and then a Lion error gave them a 2-1 lead.  They would not trail after that, picking up a 15-7 win in set five to take the match. 

Stewart was the offensive leader for the Jumbos with 18 kills.  Desler added 15 kills and 17 digs along with four blocks.  Bell and junior Jennifer Ryan each added ten kills, while Bell also finished with 17 digs and Ryan added three blocks.  Holz turned in six kills and five blocks and Nwankpa helped with nine kills.  Defensively, junior Sophia Acker matched her career-high with 25 digs.  Senior Rachel Furash and sophomore Ariel Zedric ran the offense, finishing with 37 and 24 assists, respectively. 

For the Lions Tepper was the offensive leader with 13 kills and 12 digs.  Alexander and Bond each finished with ten kills.  Bond also added 18 digs, while Alexander helped with three blocks.  Steenbergen added five kills and four blocks.  Bond finished with 25 assists. 

The Jumbos are back in action on Friday when they travel to Coast Guard to take on Roger Williams at 6 pm.  Emerson plays again on Saturday, traveling to Western New England to take on the Lions at 3 pm and Amherst at 1 pm.