Volleyball Opens Up NESCAC Tournament Play With Quarterfinal Win Over Hamilton

MEDFORD – Senior Maddie Stewart finished with 13 kills and the top-seeded Tufts volleyball team picked up a 3-0 NESCAC quarterfinal win over eighth-seeded Hamilton on Friday night in Cousens Gym.

Stephanie Lee led the defensive efforts with 22 digs on Friday night

With the win the Jumbos improve to 25-1 and await the winner of the match between fourth-seeded Amherst and fifth-seed Middlebury.  Hamilton sees their season come to an end with a 10-14 record. 

The Jumbos jumped out to an early 9-3 lead in the first set, but the Continentals were able to climb back in and came within three, 12-9.  But, the Jumbos got behind the serve of senior Brigid Bell and scored five straight points to take a 17-9 lead.  Tufts scored the final five points of the set with sophomore Cate Desler serving, winning the first set 25-13.  

The two teams traded points to open the second set but then the Jumbos took a 5-2 lead thanks to a couple kills from Stewart.  Senior Heather Holz turned in two kills and Desler added an ace to help the Jumbos grow their lead to seven, 11-4. The Continentals didn't give up, but the Jumbos pulled out a 25-14 win in set two. 

Once again Tufts got going early in the third set, taking an early 7-2 lead.  The Continentals weren't able to gain any momentum and the Jumbos closed out the match with a 25-12 win in set three.

Stewart led the offense with 13 kills and a .524 hitting percentage.  Junior Jennifer Ryan added seven kills and three blocks.  Desler and senior Christina Nwankpa each added six kills.  Holz finished with three kills and three blocks.  Defensively, freshman Stephanie Lee collected 22 digs.  Senior Rachel Furash and Bell each added eight digs.  Furash and sophomore Ariel Zedric took care of the setting, and Furash finished with 18 assists and Zedric added ten.

Deirdre Corrigan led the Continental offense, finishing with seven kills and she also added three blocks.  Dorothy Poucher added five kills and Guiliana Rankin turned in four kills.  Defensively, Nikki Matsuoka collected 11 digs and Jo Dine added ten digs.  Dine also ran the offense, finishing with 18 assists. 

The Jumbos advance to the NESCAC semifinals where they will play the winner of the Amherst Middlebury match on Saturday at 1 pm.  In other quarterfinal action, second-seeded Wesleyan topped No. 7 Bates and will face off with the winner of the match between Williams and Bowdoin in Saturday's other semifinal scheduled for 3:30 pm.  Saturday's semifinal winners play at noon on Sunday for the conference championship.