Medford, MA—Williams volleyball (17-3, 6-1 NESCAC) was overcome by Tufts University (12-7, 6-1 NESCAC) in their first conference defeat this evening, losing in four sets, 25-17, 18-25, 21-25, 17-25.
The Ephs had a strong start in the first set, leading by two points before the Jumbos tied the score at 10-10. Two service aces from junior setter Ryan Farley followed by a kill by sophomore pinhitter Tori Jasuta racked up Williams' score to 15-11. A few Ephs errors allowed Tufts to tighten the score to 17-15, but that was as close as the Jumbos got, while Williams raced ahead on a four-point run to win the first set, 25-17.
Struggling to keep up with the Jumbos at the start of the second set, the Ephs trailed 4-6 before tying the score at 8-8 with a kill from Katherine Lane. Tufts fought to maintain the lead before breaking away from 13-13 and grabbing a five-point run to 14-21. Catherine Egan, Farley, and Jasuta fought back with kills for the Ephs, but Tufts' seven-point lead was too much to overcome, and the Ephs lost the second set, 18-25.
Another slow start found the Ephs in the beginning of the third set, and Coach Kelsey called a time-out after an Eph error set their score at 4-8. A four-point run by the Jumbos doubled the Ephs' score before a kill by Jasuta and a strong defense pushed Williams to 12-14. Claire Miller scored a kill for the Ephs, maintining the two-point deficit at 17-19. A Jumbo service ace pressure Williams to call another time-out, but the Ephs were unable to regroup, and were overcome in the third set, 21-25.
Williams refused to allow another slow start in the fourth set, grabbing a quick lead 6-1 thanks to a kill by Jasuta and multiple Jumbo errors. Tufts cleaned up their swing and came back with kills, tying the score at 10-10, before Williams fought on to 13-10. After a six-point turnaround, the Jumbos pulled their score back to 16-14. The Ephs called their final time-out when the Jumbos broke 20 points with a five-point lead over the Ephs. Egan fired away for a kill, but could not overcome the point deficit, and the Ephs gave up the fourth set, 17-25.
While the Ephs burned the court in the first set, scoring 12 kills with an impressive .375 hitting percentage, the Ephs were overcome by the Jumbos, who scored 14 kills with a .429 hitting percentage in the fourth set.
Sophomore powerhouse Tori Jasuta led the Eph frontline this evening, scoring 13 kills, followed closely by Katherine Lane with 10 kills and a .368 attack percentage. Jasuta and Claire Miller guarded the backline, gathering 8 and 9 digs respectively for the Ephs.
Jumbo attackers Maddie Kuppe and Hayley Hopper gathered 15 and 14 kills for Tufts as well as contributed one block each. Defense broke double digits, with Kyra Baum digging 17 balls and Carolina Berger gathering 14.
"Tufts played a very strong match from start to finish," commented Coach Christi Kelsey. "They made some good adjustments after the first set and we didn't." While looking ahead to tomorrow, the Ephs hope to bounce back with a good match againt another NESCAC opponent.
The Ephs continue conference play tomorrow afternoon, facing off against Connecticut College in New London, CT, beginning at 2pm.