Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. – Sophomores Christina Nwankpa and Maddie Stewart combined for 23 kills and top-seeded Tufts picked up a 3-0 win over No. 5 Amherst in a NESCAC Semifinal match in Cousens Gym .
The Jumbos (22-5) move on to the conference final where they will face No. 2 Wesleyan, a 3-1 winner over No. 3 Bowdoin. Amherst sees its season end with a 17-10 mark.
The first set was the tightest of the day. Amherst that took the early lead, 11-7. The Jumbos tied it at 12 and the two teams traded points and the lead for the rest of the set. With things locked at 19 the Jumbos got a kill from Rachel Furash and a Mammoth error and a kill from Heather Holz to heled Tufts take a 22-19 lead. The Mammoths came within one, 23-22, but the Jumbos got two kills from Stewart to pick up the 25-22 win in the first set.
Amherst held an early 12-6 lead over the Jumbos in the second set. A kill from Sophia Acker, followed by a Mammoth error and an ace from Angela Yu and a kill from Mackenzie Bright brought the Jumbos within two, 12-10. With the score tied at 16 the Jumbos scored four straight points behind the serve of Furash to take a 20-16 lead and would go on to post a 25-21 victory in set two to take the 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set was all Jumbos as they took an early lead and went on to win 25-15 win to seal the 3-0 match win.
Stewart was the kill leader with 12 while Nwankpa finished with 11 kills and four blocks. Bright finished with eight kills and sophomore Brigid Bell tallied five kills and 14 digs. Kelly Klimo led the defensive efforts with 21 digs, and Yu added 13. Furash and Yu took care of the setting, finishing with 17 and 21 assists, respectively.
Daria Kim-Percy was the offensive leader for the Mammoths with eight kills and eight digs. Marialexa Natsis turned in seven kills. Defensively, Hayes Honea was the leader with 13 digs. Charlotte Duran ran the offense, picking up 20 assists.
The Jumbos advance to their second consecutive NESCAC Championship match and will be looking for their first conference crown since 1996.