Williamstown, MA – Williams College (7-7, 2-3 NESCAC) faced Tufts University (9-6, 4-1 NESCAC) for Saturday, September 29th's matchup. Both teams had won one set when Tufts rallied to win the third set 25-13 and then ultimately utilize this energy to win the match 3-1.
Intense rallies constituted play for the first set. Both teams showed incredible hustle in running down balls and playing shots off of blocks. Williams built an early four-point lead, but Tufts came swinging back into the set. It was looking as though it could go in either team's favor with a set total of ten ties. A powerful kill by Tufts junior Christina Nwankpa broke a 24-24 tie and was followed up with a block from Christina Nwankpa and junior Maddie Stewart for Tufts to take the first set 26-24. Williams junior Erin Denham led the Ephs with four kills.
Williams was looking to bounce back in the second set and did just that. Although the set was again played in a back and forth manner, the Ephs were focused from the first point and never lost sight of the overall goal. A dump set by Williams junior Alex Newton extended the Williams lead to 17-14 and provided the spark needed for the Ephs to coast to a win of 25-19. This final push was led by kills from senior Mia Weinland, senior Roxi Corbeil, and freshman Olivia Hindy. For this set, Tufts juniors Brigid Bell and Heather Holz both had three kills.
In the third set, Tufts jumped out to an early four-point lead led by a kill from Brigid Bell, two kills from freshman Cate Desler, and an ace by Cate Desler. From here, Tufts never looked back and used the dynamic play of Cate Desler's serves and five kills to win 25-13. For the Ephs, Mia Weinland had two kills and sophomore Allison Frison had one ace.
The fourth set was played evenly until a 9-9 tie. Tufts then went on a four-point run as a result of two kills from Cate Desler, a kill from Heather Holz, and a kill from Christina Nwankpa. Alex Newton of the Ephs had two dump sets that provided a push for Williams, but it was not enough. Williams hustled hard and made some great plays, but the Tufts lead was too elusive as Tufts won 25-15. Tufts leaders were Cate Desler with fourteen kills, junior Rachel Furash with thirty-eight assists, and sophomore Sophia Acker with twenty-three digs. Williams leaders were Mia Weinland and Erin Denham with seven kills, Alex Newton with twenty-six assists, and junior Daiana Takashima with eighteen digs.
Head coach Christi Kelsey explained, "The first two sets had a lot of progress from last night. We came out and executed well on our game plan. Tufts did a great job of adjusting and responding, and I think an area we can improve on is making adjustments as the match evolves."
Williams will take on New Paltz on Tuesday, October 2nd at 7:00 P.M. for another home matchup.