MEDFORD – The No. 17 Tufts volleyball team kept cruising Saturday, picking up a 3-0 win over Williams in Cousens Gym. The Jumbos have not dropped a set in their last five matches, three of those wins coming over NESCAC opponents.
|Senior Rachel Furash added more than 25 assists for the seventh time this season|
The Jumbos improve to 14-0 overall and 5-0 in NESCAC play with the win. Williams falls to 9-5 overall and 2-2 in conference matches.
The Jumbos jumped out to an early lead in the first set, scoring five points behind the serve of sophomore Cate Desler to take an 11-4 lead. During the run the Jumbos got a kill from Desler and another from junior Jennifer Ryan along with two from senior Brigid Bell. A kill from Eph Christina Conforti broke the run, and then the Ephs went on a run of their own to come within two 12-10. But, the Jumbos answered by scoring nine straight off the serve of senior Rachel Furash to take a 21-10 lead. They won the first set 25-14.
Once again Tufts grabbed an early lead in the second set. Ahead 8-5 the Jumbos got kills from senior Heather Holz and Bell. After a Williams error, Bell turned in another kill and then the Jumbos took advantage of another Eph error to take a 13-5 lead. Ahead 16-11 the Jumbos scored six straight points with Bell serving to take a 22-11 lead, and picked up the 25-13 win in set two.
The third set was the closest of the day as the two teams traded points and the lead for the entire set. Things were tied seven times before the Jumbos took a lead they would not let go of. Trailing 18-17, a kill form Ryan tied things at 18 for the Jumbos. After an Eph error, another kill from Ryan put the Jumbos ahead 20-18.
The Ephs answered with a kill from Anna Tosolini to come within one, 20-19. But, kills from freshman Anna Nachmanoff and senior Christina Nwankpa and then an Eph error put the Jumbos up 23-19. The Ephs did not give up. After a couple of Jumbo errors, a kill from Conforti brought the Ephs within one, 23-22. The Jumbos got a kill from Nwankpa to take a 24-22 lead. A service error from the Jumbos put the Ephs back in it, 24-23. But, Nwankpa ended it with a kill to give the Jumbos a 25-23 win to take the match.
Nwankpa was the offensive leader for the Jumbos with 12 kills and a .733 hitting percentage. She also added three blocks. Bell turned in ten kills and eight digs. Desler finished with nine kills and eight digs, along with three blocks. Stewart and Holz each added six kills and a block each. Ryan finished with four kills and a block. Defensively, Lee tallied 16 digs. Furash added seven digs and also finished with 29 assists. Sophomore Ariel Zedric helped with the setting, collecting 12 assists and adding five digs.
Conforti and Erin Deham led the Eph offense with five kills each. Denham added six digs and a block. Tosolini finished with four kills and Lauren Barry helped with three kills. Defensively, Daiana Takashima finished with eight digs and Alexandra Newton added seven. Newton finished with eight assists while Gracie Guidotti tallied seven.
The Jumbos are back in action on Friday when they travel to Clark for a 6 pm start. Williams plays again on Friday as well, hosting Colby at 8 pm.
Action photo credit to Zach Webster