Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. – After falling in the first set, top-seeded Tufts came back to win three straight sets and take a 3-1 win over No. 4 Bowdoin in the NESCAC Semifinals in Cousens Gym on the campus of Tufts on Saturday. The Jumbos advance to the conference final where they will face second-seeded Middlebury on Sunday at Noon.
The Jumbos move to 24-2 this season and will play for their first conference title since 1996. With the loss Bowdoin ends its season with a 15-10 record.
The Polar Bears took the lead early in the first set, but the Jumbos were able to tie things up at 18. After the two teams traded points the Polar Bears got kills from Sydney Salle and Michelle Albright to take a 21-19 lead. A kill from Jumbo McKenzie Humann brought the Jumbos within one again, but the Polar Bears responded with kills from Khelsea Gordon and Salle and held on to win the set, 25-21.
The two teams traded points to start the second set, but the Jumbos then scored five consecutive points behind the serve of Rachel Furash to take an 8-4 lead. The Jumbos would lead by as many as eight, 17-9, but the Polar Bears pulled together a comeback and closed within one late in the match, 22-21. A kill from Katie Kim followed by back-to-back kills from Mackenzie Bright secured a 25-21 win for the Jumbos to even the match at one.
Tufts took an early lead in the third set, but the Polar Bears once again made things interesting, coming within one 21-20. A Bowdoin service error followed by an attack error gave the Jumbos the three-point advantage, a lead they held on to for the 25-23 win in set three to take the 2-1 lead in the match.
With the game tied at 12 in the fourth set, Brigid Bell's kill and a Polar Bear error and a kill from sophomore Angela Yu, pushed Tufts out in front, 15-12. The Jumbos held on to the lead to secure a 25-21 win in the fourth set to take the match, 3-1.
The Jumbos had several players contribute to the cause offensively as Bright and co-captain Elizabeth Ahrens finished with nine kills and Maddie Stewart, Bell and Kim all added eight kills each. Humann finished with six kills and five blocks. Defensively, Kelly Klimo led the Jumbos with a career-high 34 digs and Bell added 20 of her own. Yu took care of the setting for the Jumbos, tallying 30 assists as Furash helped with 14.
Caroline Flaharty led the Bowdoin offense with 11 kills and Erika Sklaver and Salle each added ten. Katie Doherty totaled 26 digs and Lisa Sheldon helped with 25 digs. Quincy Leech finished with 38 assists.