Women's Volleyball | Jumbos split NESCAC games over weekend
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 02:10
Coming off a disappointing weekend in which it lost consecutive games for the first time all season and fell out of first place, Tufts volleyball took on two more NESCAC teams, Bates and Bowdoin, on a road trip to Maine in which they went 1-1.
The Jumbos needed all the momentum they could muster in their Saturday matchup versus the Polar Bears of Bowdoin, who had won eight in a row prior to Saturday’s game. Tufts gave the red-hot Bowdoin squad all it could handle, battling through four closely contested sets but ultimately coming out on the losing side in three of them (all by the same score of 25-21). The Jumbos did score the most decisive win of the match with their 25-19 victory in the second set, proving themselves to be more than capable of hanging with the second-best team in the NESCAC.
Though Tufts was forced to settle for the weekend split after the loss to Bowdoin, coach Cora Thompson saw many encouraging signs from her team’s performance in both games.
“We did a lot of things really well during the course of the weekend,” Thompson said. “When we passed well, we were able to execute offensively, as our setters had great options. Our serving was very tough overall, and we were encouraged to see that, as that is something we have been working on.”
Junior Isabel Kuhel, who tallied eight kills versus Bowdoin, felt the same way.
“We played at a much higher level this week in practice and throughout the weekend,” she told the Daily in an email. “We showed our competitive fighter side, and I loved it.”
Tufts’ first game of the weekend was a matchup in Lewiston, Maine against Bates. The Bobcats played well early in the match, winning the second set 25-23 after leading late in the first set, before the Jumbos snatched victory out of their hands with a strong finishing kick.
But Tufts has proven themselves to be the superior team over the course of the season, and they made that abundantly clear in the final two sets. In set three, they posted a .625 hitting percentage and cruised to an easy 25-10 win. Their victory in the fourth set was even more convincing, a 25-7 blowout that not only clinched the win for Tufts, but also left no doubts about who was the better team.
“It was awesome on Friday to feel like we were playing at our best again,” Kuhel said. “We showed just how competitive we can be and really turned it around after a disappointing weekend last week.”
Thompson, pleased to see her team rebound against a worthy adversary, echoed those sentiments.
“Anytime you win in the NESCAC, it’s a good feeling,” she said. “The conference is much improved, and every match counts, so it certainly was a good victory for the team.”
The Jumbos, now 4-3 against NESCAC teams and 12-7 overall, will host Hamilton and Middlebury this weekend. Tufts is hopeful it can sweep both games and move up in the conference standings, where they are currently in fourth place behind Williams, Bowdoin and Amherst. Given that Hamilton is winless in conference play and Middlebury is 3-3, Tufts will be favored against both opponents, but will need to continue its impressive play if it hopes to remain in the top tier of the NESCAC.