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Volleyball Drops NESCAC Road Match to Tufts in Three Close Sets

Maddie Rust

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Connecticut College volleyball team fell to Tufts by a 3-0 score on Friday evening at Cousens Gym. Set scores were 25-19, 25-22, and 25-22.

Connecticut College got off to a sluggish start, falling behind 7-1, before regrouping and bringing the margin down to three at 15-12 on a kill by freshman Avery Light (Sudbury, Mass). Tufts, however, recovered and moved ahead by a 22-15 score on a bad set before finishing it off on a kill by Mackenzie Bright.

With sophomore McKaela Simons (Redmond, Wash.) providing early service aces, the Camels earned their first lead of the night in the early stages of the second set. Simons registered three aces during a 4-0 run to give the visitors a 6-3 edge, but the Jumbos came right back with a run of their own and swung the momentum in their favor by tallying six straight points. A seesaw battle ensued with two more lead swings, and it was the Jumbos who ended up emerging as the victors by three points as the result of a Camel attacking error on the final play.

The third set was played just like the first two and was competitive with four lead changes before the midway point. The Camels continued to find success with Simons serving, which included seeing the sophomore setter find senior Jenny Kellogg (Los Altos, Calif.) and freshman Eliza Wolcott (San Francisco, Calif.) for back-to-back kills to make it 6-4. But just like the other frames, the Jumbos were able to gain the upper hand as the set progressed and hung on by the skin of their teeth. A kill by Cate Desler on match point gave the hosts their sixth NESCAC win of the season.

Christina Nwankpa led a balanced attack and a trio of Jumbos who registered eight kills to lead the way for Tufts (15-8, NESCAC 6-3). She hit at a .500 clip by only committing on error on 14 swings while also tallying three blocks. Rachel Furash finished with 21 assists to go along with three aces, and Sophia Acker and Desler notched 11 digs apiece.

Howley had a strong all-around effort for Connecticut College by finishing with six kills, eight digs, two blocks and a service ace. Simons added a team-leading 11 assists and a game-high four aces, while Kellogg and Wolcott contributed eight digs and three blocks, respectively.

Connecticut College (10-14, NESCAC 2-7) will wrap up the regular season when it visits Bowdoin tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.