Tufts volleyball took on three high-level competitors this past weekend to earn mixed results at the East-West Classic. The games were hosted by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, bringing together some of the top competition in Div. III volleyball. Teams included some of the nation’s elite competition, including this year’s No. 1 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and last year’s No. 1 seeded team, the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays. The Jumbos upset the Blue Jays in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. The trip to Georgia is the team’s second away trip of many to start its season.Junior outside hitter Rileigh Farragher commented on the schedule.
“We play a lot of really competitive teams, which I think is really exciting because we get to kind of test our play, our game, against some of the top teams,” Farragher said. “And while I would love to do it at home, it’s exciting to get to go and play them either way”.
For their first game of the weekend, the Jumbos took on the California Lutheran University Regals. The starting lineup was composed of junior setter and captain Maddie Yu, junior outside hitter Christine Audette, senior middle hitter and captain Grace Legris, senior libero Stephanie Lee and senior outside hitter Jennelle Yarwood.
Yarwood said she finds herself in a leadership position on the court alongside fellow seniors.
“We all have found unique leadership roles,” Yarwood said. “I know for me, being the sixth rotation outside player has a lot of chance for leadership just on the court. So I think just kind of using my voice there [is] helping to connect the younger players.”
The Regals posed an early threat with a clear height advantage on the Jumbos. However, after a slow start for Tufts, the first set was tied up at eight. The first set saw long, competitive points between the two teams. This would continue throughout all five sets of the hard-fought, back-and-forth match. The Jumbos eventually came out on top, winning the first of three matches for the weekend (25–21, 25–20, 23–25, 19–25, 15–9).
The following day, the Jumbos took on the UT Dallas Comets and Washington University in St. Louis Bears. In the morning, Tufts’ offense looked strong, maintaining consistent ball control throughout the match. While the Comets did remain in striking distance, they never successfully shifted momentum in their favor. The Jumbos won in three sets (25–19, 25–14, 25–15).
The night game against WashU, however, posed a larger threat. Heading into their match against the Jumbos, the Bears were 7–0 on the season and ranked No. 20 in the nation, just one beneath the No. 19 spot Tufts.
Farragher said that despite not coming up with the win, the team battled.
“WashU is definitely a really good team,” Farragher said. “And I thought we worked really hard to keep trying to fight back and keep a positive energy during that game.”
The Bears took the first set and the Jumbos took the second, but the Bears took the following two to win in four (19–25, 25–23, 19–25, 23–25). The match against WashU gave Tufts its first loss of the season, bringing its overall record to 3–1.
Yarwood said the loss gave the team motivation and also a chance to learn.
“I think it’s just going to give us a lot of fire coming into this week of practice,” Yarwood said. “Then obviously, another weekend of games. But I think we all are really glad that we got the opportunity to play against a talented team like that, because it’s always fun. Obviously, we wish we would have won, but I think it definitely showed us some things we needed to work on but also kind of showed the things that we did well against such a great team like WashU.”
The Jumbos will travel to Wesleyan University for their first NESCAC contest of the season at 7 p.m. on Friday.