Courtesy Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. - The #2 seed versus the #3 seed second-round matchup in the New England Regional of the 2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship met all the hype as it went the full five sets with #3 Wellesley College prevailing, 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12), over #2 seed and host Tufts University on Friday night at Cousens Gymnasium. Wellesley (28-7) will face #4 seed Williams College in the New England Region final on Saturday night at 7 pm inside Cousens Gymnasium. Tufts’ season ends at 29-4.
Things did not start out well for Wellesley as Tufts led the entire first set, building a lead of as much as seven points in the middle of the set at 15-8. The Blue pulled to within four at 20-16, but the Jumbos finished on a 5-3 spurt to take the first set 25-19.
The tide turned in the second set for Wellesley though, as they virtually led wire-to-wire with Tufts only holding one lead at 2-1. The Blue could only stretch their lead to five at most, which allowed the Jumbos to fight back at the end of the set to tie things up at 20 and 21 apiece. Wellesley recorded the final four points though, en route to the 25-21 second set victory to even the match up at 1-1.
The momentum swung back to the Tufts side in the third set, as after Wellesley led in the early part of the set, the Jumbos evened the score at 8, then took the lead and never relinquished it. The Jumbo lead grew to as many as six at 19-13, and they eventually took the third set 25-19.
With the season on the line, Wellesley was resilient in the fourth set, as they fell down by as many as three points at 13-10. After coming back to tie the score at 21 apiece, the Blue took control of the set and finished with four of the final six point to tie the match up at 2-2 with the 25-23 fourth set win.
The decisive fifth set saw nine ties and four lead changes, with the final tie coming at 10-10. The Blue tallied two in a row to go up 12-10, and after that Tufts could not battle all the way back. The Jumbos got back to within one point twice at 12-11 and 13-12 before the Blue scored the final two points to win the match, 3-2, with the 15-12 fifth set victory.
Junior Alice Cummings (Tallahassee, Fla.) led the Blue with 21 kills and also had 17 digs in the match, while senior Emily Peters (Temescal Valley, Calif.) was the digs leader with 20. Senior Jessica Duff (Abingdon, England) added 20 kills, 19 digs and four blocks for Wellesley. Sophomore setter Victoria Peng (Diamond Bar, Calif.) had 61 assists in the five sets.
The Jumbos were led by the 18 kills of sophomore Dawson Joyce-Mendive (Minden, Nev.) and the 19 digs of first-year Audrey Kuan (Los Altos, Calif.). Sophomore Caitlin Updike (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) added 15 kills, while senior Maya Ripecky (Chicago, Ill.) recorded 17 digs. Senior Kate Denniston (Tarzana, Calif.) added five block assists.