Volleyball | Jumbos split pair of doubleheaders
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 08:09
Tufts volleyball continued its strong start to the season by picking up a pair of wins in four games played in the MIT Invitational tournament this weekend.
“We played really well against some really good teams,” sophomore Carolina Berger said. “I was proud of our team’s composure this weekend.”
The Jumbos, now 6-3, began the tourney with a home doubleheader on Friday. Tufts dominated the opening match against Regis College, routing the visitors by scores of 25-7 and 25-4 in the first two sets. Regis responded to the pair of blowouts with a much better effort in the third set, but its rally fell short as Tufts finished off the sweep with a 25-17 victory. Junior Hayley Hopper led the way with ten kills, while sophomore Esme Nulan chipped in six kills and four aces.
The Jumbos kept rolling against Springfield College in the second game, winning the first set to stun a Springfield side that had not previously dropped a set through five games. The Pride, however, shook off the rare defeat and recovered to beat Tufts in three straight sets and win the match. The Jumbos didn’t lose by much, though, and were outscored by a margin of eleven points in the four sets.
On Saturday, the tournament shifted to MIT, where it looked like Tufts was headed for another tough loss when they fell behind Endicott College two sets to one. Needing a win to stay alive, the Jumbos fought back to win the fourth set 25-19, then completed their comeback by edging the Gulls 15-7 in the fifth and final set. Freshman Mary Maccabee stepped up with a team-high 13 kills and Hopper totaled 12 kills.
But the comeback appeared to exhaust the Jumbos, who ran out of steam against MIT in the finale and were swept for the first time this season. Despite ending the tournament on a loss, Tufts can feel good about holding its own against tough competition.
“Overall, we did well,” Hopper said. “I was proud of the way the team came together and persevered throughout the tournament. It was great to see the freshmen grow into their positions on the team.”
Berger also saw the team’s freshmen make great strides this weekend.
“All of our freshmen have really stepped up to the plate,” she said. “They have quickly adjusted to the college-paced game.”
Seeing as how Tufts is a young team on which the freshmen play a big role, this year’s team will go only as far as its first-year players can take it. So far, the freshmen have risen to the challenge. They are flourishing under coach Cora Thompson, who took great care during the preseason to integrate them into the team and prepare them for the season ahead.
With the team’s first-year players already making key contributions, Tufts is poised to improve throughout the year, as the rookies mature and gain additional experience. The Jumbos will also look to take advantage of six straight games on their home court starting on Wednesday against Western New England University.