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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Women’s volleyball beats Williams and Amherst for a successful weekend at home

The Jumbos are on a three game win streak, moving into a strong position for postseason.

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The Tufts volleyball team celebrates against Susquehanna University on Sept. 23.

It was an incredibly successful weekend in the Cousens Gymnasium for the Tufts women’s volleyball team. Tufts won two games over the weekend, against Williams on Friday night and Amherst on Saturday afternoon. This pair of NESCAC wins has brought the Jumbos up to a three game winning streak.

Maddie Yu, senior defensive specialist and setter, explained that the source of the Jumbos’ confidence.

“We had an excellent week of practice, so our mindset going into this weekend was to carryover all our hard work from practice into the games,” Yu wrote in an email to the Daily.

The win against Williams took place on Tufts’ Senior Night, honoring the seven seniors on the team. The five-set match was tight, but the Jumbos rallied in the last two sets to win the match 3–2.

The first set started with a 25–21 loss for the Jumbos, but they came back strong, winning the second set 25–17.

The third set was marked by a strong initial lead, followed by a scoring drought for the Jumbos. During the first part of the set, the Jumbos were up as much as 15–8, directly followed by 6 points in a row for the Ephs, bringing the score to 15–14. The Ephs continued this forward momentum, which resulted in a 25–23 loss for the Jumbos in the third set.

The fourth set was another close matchup, this time ending in a win for the Jumbos. Williams started strong, scoring the first 5 points, putting Tufts in a position where they needed to catch up to stay in the game. The Jumbos were able to mount a comeback to win the fourth set, 26–24, largely because of their stellar defense.

The end of the fourth set was marked by two key blocks by Alina Qi, junior middle and opposition hitter. First year setter Rianna Liu explained that these blocks were essential to the Jumbos’ fourth set win and later victory over the Ephs.  

“Those plays were a perfect example of perseverance and focus, and I was so proud to watch Alina take charge at the net,” Liu wrote in an email to the Daily.

After the fourth set, Tufts and Williams were tied with two sets apiece, making the fifth set crucial. The Jumbos pulled out the victory 15–10.

Fresh off of their victory against Williams, Tufts’ second game of the weekend against Amherst proved even more successful. The Jumbos won all three sets and outscored the Mammoths 61–23. Tufts also had 44 kills as opposed to Amherst’s 18.

The Jumbos played well in each of the three sets. They won the first 25–17, the second 25–14 and the third 25–9. 

Tori Goldin, senior outside and opposition hitter, led the Jumbos in both games. She had 12 kills against Amherst and 22 kills against Williams, a career-high for Goldin.

Liu explained that the Jumbos’ capabilities had improved across the board, most notably in terms of teamwork.

“We definitely have all improved in our individual skill sets, but the main area that sticks out to me is our improvement in communication with each other on the court,” Liu wrote. “This shift in communication has been pivotal in our success and unity as a team.”

Along with this improvement in communication and teamwork, Yu explained that the team had upped their energy on the court.

“I think these past couple of games have absolutely been a turning point,” Yu wrote. “We played with so much energy, intensity, and grit throughout each of the matches, and we are all extremely proud of the way we played.”

These wins propelled the Jumbos up three spots to sixth place in the NESCAC rankings, putting them squarely into position to qualify for the NESCAC tournament.

Liu explained that the past three wins have been an important turning point for the team, forming a positive outlook for the postseason.

“I think the past few games have been crucial in setting up the team for a great post season run,” Liu wrote. “We’re seeing all of the hard work in practice pay off in our games, and the team is working as a unit to accomplish the same goal.”

Tufts will face Brandeis on Tuesday. They’ll also play Babson College, Springfield College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the New England Challenge this weekend.