Jumbos rally to beat Golden Bears
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 02:09
After dropping the first set on Wednesday night against Western New England, the volleyball team rallied to take a 3-1 victory and hand the Golden Bears their first loss of the season.
The Jumbos came into the contest at 6-3, following a weekend at the MIT Invitational in which they split a pair of doubleheaders. On the other side of the net, Western New England was riding a 10-game unbeaten streak and came into Cousens Gymnasium looking to extend their school-record start to the 2013 season.
At the beginning of the match, it looked like the Golden Bears would do just that, as they took the first set, 25-22, over a Tufts squad that played sluggishly at times. Although the set was once tied 8-8, Western New England capitalized on some uncharacteristic Tufts errors to stretch the lead to 20-11 and eventually put the Jumbos away.
“We had some difficulties in the beginning with maintaining a consistent level of energy,” senior tri-captain Virginia Clay said, adding that the Jumbos regrouped in between the first and second sets in an effort to make sure every player was focused on the task at hand.
“Before the second set, we came together and talked about how important it was for us to commit to playing with an attack mentality,” Clay said. “I think we did a really good job of recognizing and admitting that we didn’t play to our potential in the first set, and then making the right technical and mental adjustments so that we could be successful in the next three.”
In the second set, the Golden Bears jumped out to a 12-6 lead and looked poised to take control of the match. But junior outside hitter Hayley Hopper stepped in to serve and proceeded to win nine straight points for Tufts. That run, which included three Hopper aces, gave the Jumbos a 15-12 lead that they would not relinquish.
“We played hard and fought back after dropping the first set,” junior tri-captain Jessica Ingrum said. “I was really proud of our energy on the court.”
The Jumbos dominated in the third set, taking a 10-10 score and turning it into a 25-13 win that saw Tufts capitalize on Western New England errors. Ingrum picked up two kills during the run to help the Jumbos take control of the match.
In the fourth, Tufts led wire-to-wire, taking a 2-1 lead and holding it for the entire set. They stretched their advantage all the way to 19-12 and withstood a Golden Bears rally that brought the score to 22-20 before putting the match away.
Freshman Mary Maccabee had four of her team-high 11 kills in the fourth set. The match showcased Tufts’ depth, with five different players recording three kills or more.
“I really think tonight’s win was a complete team effort,” Ingrum said. “Different players stepped up at different times.”
Clay gave credit to the Golden Bears for making the Jumbos work for the victory.
“Western New England did a great job of keeping the ball in play,” Clay said. “There were several long rallies during the game. I think our success in those long rallies came both from our solid ball control and from our setter and hitters working hard to mix things up offensively.”
The win brought Tufts’ record to 7-3 before they open up their NESCAC schedule this weekend against Trinity and Wesleyan. On Saturday, they take on Roger Williams in the second part of a doubleheader.
Last year, the Jumbos were swept by the Bantams but earned a 3-1 win in their matchup with the Cardinals. The teams are 7-2 and 2-4, respectively, going into the weekend.
“We’ll definitely see some strong teams this weekend,” Clay said. “But I think we’re ready for the challenge.”