Volleyball | Tufts Volleyball looks to join in the spirit of Homecoming
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 02:09
After a tough second day of competition on Saturday at the MIT Invitational, held at Brandeis, the volleyball team is looking to regain its high level of play in their two games scheduled for homecoming weekend.
Losses to Springfield and MIT in four sets and three sets, respectively, dropped the team’s overall record to 6-4. But the losses have contained bright spots for Tufts as well, and the team has undoubtedly shown what it is capable of. Those positives, and improving the steadiness of their play, are what the Jumbos will focus on in their upcoming games.
“We are looking to improve consistency throughout our play,” senior tri-captain Kiersten Ellefsen said. “In our first set against Springfield, we played the high level of play we are capable of. We want to try to reach that level of play and keep it there.”
The team will need to maintain that attitude as they head into Homecoming weekend. Tufts will take on Connecticut College at 8 p.m. on Friday, followed by a Saturday game against Wesleyan at 2 p.m. But these games are more than just a chance for the Jumbos to get back on track. They also are the first homecoming games anyone on the team will ever play.
“I’ve never played in a homecoming game before,” senior tri-captain Kendall Lord said. “This is my first one, the first one for the team in many years.”
The privilege of playing in such a game is not lost on the Jumbos, who hope that the school spirit usually displayed that day on Zimman, Kraft and Bello Fields will spill onto the court and into the stands at Cousens Gymnasium.
“We have an incredible amount of Jumbo pride, and now we really get to share that,” Ellefsen said. “I hope the school Jumbo pride carries right over from the football game to the volleyball game.”
That said, the results of this weekend’s upcoming matches will also play a definitive role in the team’s aspirations for the rest of the season. A weekend of victories could set the tone for an energetic and consistent level of play the rest of the way, which will be critical if Tufts wants to remain competitive in a difficult NESCAC.
“This weekend we’re hoping to improve our all-around game,” Lord said, when asked what positive steps the team can make in these next two games. “We need to play together, as a team. I’m really excited for this opportunity, we can learn a lot.”
The biggest test this weekend for the Jumbos will be one of character. Handling the excitement and channeling it into cooperation will be crucial, as the hype could just as easily turn into panic. The team will have to focus on recovering and improving after last weekend’s mishaps.
However, the road to victory will not be an easy one, especially considering the high caliber of their opponents, particularly Conn. College. Coming into the weekend game, the Camels hold a 10-1 overall record, with a 2-1 record in the conference, and will be looking to assert themselves as a strong force in the NESCAC by knocking off the Jumbos on their home floor.
Meanwhile, the Wesleyan Cardinals are 3-6 overall with a 0-3 record in the NESCAC, making them the weakest of the pair of opponents for Tufts this weekend. Regardless of the records coming into the weekend though, both games are winnable for Tufts — and victories in these matches will go a long way to help the Jumbos secure a high seed in the postseason conference tournament.