Wesleyan Falls Short to Tufts in Five-Set Thriller, 3-2

Photo by Steve McLaughlin
Photo by Steve McLaughlin

THE BASICS:

Score: Tufts 3, Wesleyan 2 (25-18, 24-26, 25-20, 21-25, 15-8)
Records: Wesleyan (8-2, 3-1 NESCAC); Tufts (10-1, 4-0 NESCAC)
Location: Middletown, Conn. (Silloway Gymnasium)
Date: Friday, September 30, 2016
Time: 7 p.m.
The Lead: Friday night's matchup, which featured two of the three NESCAC unbeaten, did not disappoint as the Wesleyan University women's volleyball team played Tufts University to a five-set thriller, in which the Jumbos prevailed in the fifth frame to claim a 3-2 win. The loss snapped Wesleyan's impressive seven-game winning streak. 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Tufts came out hot to start the game and jumped out to a commanding 20-5 lead in the first set. However, back-to-back kills by Madeleine Lundberg '19 sparked an impressive rally by the home team as the Cardinals scored 13 of the final 18 points. After a late 4-0 run by Wesleyan, Brigid Bell sealed the 25-18 victory with a kill. Despite the first set loss, the Cardinals rally shifted the momentum in their favor.
  • The second set was competitive from the first point, and featured seven lead changes and 12 ties. Knotted at 17-17, Wesleyan scored five of the next six points to take the largest lead of the set, up 22-18. The Jumbos came back and tied it at 24 all, but blocks by Sarah Swenson '18 and Nicole Hilton '20, followed by an attack error from the visitor's, lifted Wesleyan to a 26-24 lead to even the match at 1-1.
  • Tufts jumped out to a big lead and led 11-5, but another impressive run by the Cardinals led to eight unanswered points as they regained the lead and pulled ahead, 13-11. The Jumbos would eventually pull away late in the set and took a 24-17 lead after a Wesleyan error. A 3-0 Cardinals run cut the deficit to four, but a kill from Katie Kim gave Tufts the victory.
  • The fourth set featured some more back-and-forth play until a kill from Gabby Bennett '20, a service ace from Kaira Muraoka-Robertson '20, and a kill from Hilton put Wesleyan ahead 17-15, and the Cardinals would never look back. Wesleyan held on to a 25-21 win to force a decisive fifth set.
  • In the final frame, the Jumbos came out strong and jumped out to a 7-2 lead. The deficit proved to be too much for Wesleyan to overcome as Tufts prevailed with a 15-8 win to seal the match.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Three players recorded double-digit kills for Wesleyan; Lundberg (12), Stasie Litinsky '20 (11) and Swenson (10). Tam dished out 34 assists, Rachel Savage '17 recorded a team-high 22 digs, and Lundberg completed the double-double with 13 digs. Swenson added five block assists, while Bennett recorded four and one solo, while tallying seven kills. Nicole Hilton '20 added eight kills as well and three blocks.
  • Four Tufts players recorded double-digit kills; Mackenzie Bright (13), Bell (13), McKenzie Humann (11) and Elizabeth Ahrens (11). Angela Yu recorded a double-double with a game-high 36 assists and 10 digs, and Kelly Klimo added 22 digs.

UP NEXT:

  • Wesleyan returns to Silloway Gym tomorrow for a 1 p.m. NESCAC matchup against Bowdoin.
  • The Jumbos will remain in Connecticut and will play at Trinity tomorrow, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.

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