The Tufts volleyball team improved its overall record to 15–5 this weekend with wins over Babson College and Springfield and a loss to MIT. The Jumbos started their weekend on Friday night with senior night at home against Springfield. On Saturday, they played in the New England Challenge at New England College where they played their second two opponents. None of these matches were conference games, so the Jumbos’ in-conference record was unaffected.
Tufts won the match against Springfield 3–1, losing the third set 20–25. However, the Jumbos played a tight fourth set, with a score of 27–25, to clinch the match. In the first two sets, Tufts performed impressively with .565 and .452 hitting percentages respectively. Junior outside hitter Rileigh Farragher had a great performance the entire match, tallying 12 kills, followed by seniors Jennelle Yarwood and Grace Legris who each added 9 kills as well. The importance of this match was apparent, as senior night was a way to celebrate the six seniors on the team.
“The seniors have really strong leadership on the court and off like getting the new freshmen, now sophomores, involved and just being really vocal on the court because they were really the only ones that had a normal year of experience,” Farragher said, referencing the senior class’ time on campus before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The excitement in the gym was felt by all as the seniors were celebrated throughout the game. Additionally, this game was one of the last regular season home matches for the Jumbos, so everyone had high energy.
Moving on to Saturday, the team traveled to New England College to compete in the New England Challenge. Their first game of the day was against No. 23 Babson. The Jumbos dominated this match, winning 3–0. This win was helped by an impressive 10 kills from junior outside hitter Christine Audette and 7 from Farragher. Farragher said the team knew that this game was going to be competitive and was ready for the challenge.
“We play really well against really good teams,” Farragher said. “It’s kind of exciting, because when we get to run our tempo offense, we play really well.”
In their second match of the day, the Jumbos fell to No. 19 MIT 3–0. Senior defensive specialist Stephanie Lee led the team in digs with 13. Although this game did not go how the team wanted it to go, they know there are lessons to be learned that they can use moving forward to be successful.
According to Farragher, one thing they would like to focus on is their first contact, whether it be on their serves or serve receives. They want to make sure, instead of focusing on acing the other team, to hit solid serves so as to not give away any points. Additionally, playing two games in one day is difficult and the mental reset from game to game is another thing the team can work on moving forward.
“Physically, it's really hard because your body's really tired but usually the other team has also had two games so it kind of evens it out. But then mentally it’s really hard to stay really energetic eight hours in a row,” Farragher said.
The Jumbos secured another hard-fought win last night against out of conference opponent Brandeis (27–29, 25–14, 28–26, 25–16), increasing the team’s overall record to 16–5. The squad will travel to Connecticut College on Friday, where they can work on implementing the things they learned from their MIT game. On Saturday, the team will be back on the court for their last game of the regular season at Bowdoin. Both of these games are in-conference games that the Jumbos hope to win to improve their in-conference record from 7–1 to 9–1.