MEDFORD – During a busy day in Cousens Gym the No. 24 Tufts volleyball team remained undefeated, picking up wins over Maine Maritime and No. 5 Johnson and Wales. The Jumbos did not drop a set on the day.
|Senior Heather Holz added five kills and six blocks to the win over JWU|
The Jumbos are now 12-0 overall and remain 3-0 in NESCAC play. Maine Maritime falls to 9-3 overall and Johnson and Wales is now 11-3 this year.
Tufts started the day with a 3-0 win over Maine Maritime. After a couple of quick Jumbo points in the first set the Mariners got behind the serve of Jessica D'Auria and scored six straight points for a 6-2 lead. Down 9-7 the Jumbos answered by scoring six straight of their own behind the serve of senior Heather Holz to take a 13-9 lead. They held on to that lead for a 25-15 win in set one.
It was all Jumbos in the second set as they scored four points on the serve of senior Brigid Bell and then six on the serve of freshman Stephanie Lee and were leading 11-2. That would be too much for the Mariners to overcome, and Tufts won the second set 25-8.
Once again the Jumbos jumped out to an early lead and commanded much of the third set. Down 23-15 the Mariners fought back, taking advantage of a couple of Jumbo errors along with a kill from D'Auria and an ace from Maggie MacMahon. But a kill from Bell and a Mariner service error gave the Jumbos a win in set three, 25-19.
The Jumbos got kills from nine different players during the match. Bell was the leader with six kills and ten digs. Senior Christina Nwankpa and freshman Maya Lightfoot each added five kills and Nwankpa also tallied five blocks. Senior Maddie Stewart finished with four kills and three blocks. Freshman Stephanie Lee finished with seven digs. Sophomore Ariel Zedric and senior Rachel Furash took care of the setting, finishing with 14 and 10 assists, respectively.
For the Mariners Alexa Cacacie was the offensive leader with six kills. D'Auria and Rachel Melampy turned in five kills each. Defensively Maria Perez helped with 15 digs. Sydney Adams took care of the setting, finishing with 20 assists.
In their second match of the day the Jumbos faced off with No. 5 nationally-ranked Johnson and Wales, and downed the Wildcats 3-0. In the first set the Jumbos picked up right where they left off and took an early 8-5 lead. The Wildcats came within one, 11-10, but the Jumbos got a kill from Nwankpa and then four consecutive Wildcat errors gave Tufts a 16-10 lead. The Jumbos moved on to a 25-21 win in set one.
Things were close in the beginning of the second set and the score was tied seven different times. With things locked at seven the Jumbos got a kill from Bell. After a Wildcat point and a Wildcat error, Nwankpa turned in another Kill and Bell put the Jumbos ahead 11-8 with an ace. The Wildcats responded with a kill from Kate Walker, but then the Jumbos scored five straight points behind the serve of Lee to take a 16-9 lead. They won the second set, 25-13.
Early in the third set the Jumbos once again got behind the serve of Lee, scoring eight points to take a 9-3 lead. The Wildcats came within four, but the Jumbos held on for a 25-15 win in set three to take the match.
Bell was the offensive leader for the Jumbos, finishing with ten kills and 12 digs. Sophomore Cate Desler tallied eight kills and 12 digs. Stewart added eight kills and three blocks. Nwankpa helped with six kills and three blocks. Holz turned in five kills and six blocks. Defensively Lee was the leader with 20 digs. Furash and Zedric split the setting again, as Furash tallied 22 assists and Zedric 14.
Maria Coniglio was the offensive leader for the Wildcats, tallying 11 kills and 12 digs. Walker finished with ten kills. Elyssa Nicolas turned in 11 digs and Brylee Frank helped with 11 digs. Frank took care of the setting, collecting 27 assists.
The Jumbos are back in action on Friday when they host Hamilton for a 7:30 pm start. Maine Maritime plays again on Wednesday when they host Maine-Machias and start at 7 pm. Johnson and Wales hosts Simmons on Wednesday for a 6 pm start.
Action photo credit Zach Webster