In a strong start to the NESCAC tournament, the Tufts women’s volleyball team won against Trinity College for a home victory on Saturday. The Jumbos won three out of four sets to secure their position in the semifinals next weekend.
Rileigh Farragher, senior setter and opposite hitter, explained that both the offense and defense played cohesively in order to outpace Trinity.
“We have settled into a faster offense and done a much better job picking up balls defensively,” Farragher wrote in an email to the Daily.
Tufts lost the first set 25–23, largely due to Trinity’s impressive offense. Trinity had a hitting percentage of 0.306 during the first set, helping them secure an early lead.
Despite this initial victory, the Bantams were unable to hold this lead. The following sets showed major improvements for the Jumbos, especially in terms of defense. During the second set, which ended in a 25–16 win, the Jumbos’ defense forced the Bantams into a 0.079 hitting percentage.
“I think as a team we played great defense and did a great job moving the ball around and keeping all of our hitters involved,” Farragher wrote.
Tufts had 71 digs to Trinity’s 65, representing the strength of their defense. Megan Harrison, senior libero and defensive specialist, led the team defensively with 17 digs.
The third set also spelled victory for the Jumbos, with a 25–20 win. During the third set, the Jumbos had an impressive 15 kills and also benefited from multiple errors by the Bantams.
Tufts outlasted Trinity to clinch a 25–23 triumph in the fourth set, winning the game. The fourth set was close throughout, with no team ever taking a decisive lead until the Jumbos were able to secure a two-point victory.
Notably, setters played an important role in the Jumbos’ victory, with a total of ten aces. Claire Castor, first-year setter, outside hitter and opposite hitter, had four of these aces. First-year, opposite hitter Emma Heckman led the team in kills, with 13 kills for the game.
Farragher explained that first-years have played an important role on the team this year.
“We have a lot of underclassmen this year and they have done a great job stepping up both on and off the court and really becoming great players & leaders,” Farragher wrote.
The Jumbos also had a strong offensive showing with a total hitting percentage of 0.234 as compared to the Bantam’s hitting percentage of 0.197. Tufts also scored 72 points throughout the game, beating Trinity’s 66 points.
Though this weekend was a success for the Jumbos, they will face tough competition to advance further in the tournament. Farragher explained that the team will continue to brush up on their skills to help their chances in the rest of the NESCAC tournament.
“I think our focus for the rest of the NESCAC tournament is definitely limiting errors and forcing the other teams we play to earn all of their points,” Farragher wrote.
Tufts will take on Williams College on Friday to determine whether they advance to the NESCAC finals. It will be the second time this year the Jumbos have played the Ephs, and the Jumbos are hoping to replicate their previous victory.
“I am also really excited about this weekend,” Farragher wrote. “I know Williams is coming back with a chip on their shoulder from our last game, so I’m ready to take care of business again and hopefully win another NESCAC championship.”