MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Five Cardinals recorded double-digit kills but the 15th-ranked Wesleyan volleyball team saw its perfect record come to an end Saturday afternoon as it lost to Tufts in a NESCAC thriller, 3-1. The Jumbos won by scores of 21-25, 27-25, 26-24, and 25-16.
Entering today's match, Wesleyan had won its first seven matches of the year without losing a set. The Cardinals are now 7-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Tufts remains undefeated and is now 9-0 and 2-0.
- The Jumbos scored the first point of the first set, but after two consecutive points put Wesleyan ahead, the visitors didn't lead again. The Cardinals had the advantage for most of the first until Tufts tied the score at 18-18. However, the home team responded with a 6-0 run to essentially put the set away.
- The second set was a thriller from the beginning as the teams went back-and-forth early and often. Trailing 13-12, Tufts went on a 7-0 run to gain a sizeable lead late, but the Cardinals rallied and scored 11 of the next 15 points to go ahead 24-23. After some more back-and-forth action knotted the match at 25-25, Cate Desler hit back-to-back kills for the Jumbos to claim the 27-25 victory.
- Wesleyan would go ahead early in the third set behind strong serving from Harper Graves and would lead most of the way. Once again, the Cardinals were ahead 24-23 but Tufts answered with three-straight points to seal the victory.
- The Jumbos opened the fourth on a 9-1 run to gain a significant lead early. Wesleyan responded and got within three, 14-11, but it would be the closest the home team would get the rest of the way. A kill from Jennifer Ryan sealed the set and the match.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Stasie Litinsky led the Cardinals with 15 kills while Bella Ahearn added 13, Graves totaled 11, and Gabby Bennett and Nicole Hilton each registered 10. Ahearn led the way with a .393 hitting percentage.
- Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 45 assists and totaled a team-high 18 digs. Phia Bellizzi and Jenna Otaola each totaled 17, Graves contributed 14, and Olivia Guidotti recorded 10. Additionally, Hilton totaled four blocks (one solo, three assisted) and Graves registered three (one solo, two assisted).
- Desler led Tufts with 15 kills and 18 digs, while Maddie Stewart recorded 12 and Ryan hit 11 with a match-high .529 hitting percentage.
- Rachel Furash dished out 45 assists and totaled 15 digs, while Desler recorded a team-high 18 digs, Stephanie Lee added 16, and Sophia Acker totaled 10. Desler also led the team with four blocks (one solo, three assisted).
- The Cardinals are back in action Thursday, Sept. 26 as they host in-state NESCAC rival Connecticut College. The match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.