After a five-set loss to Amherst last weekend, Tufts bounced back with an impressive three-game winning streak starting at home on Friday against NESCAC opponent Connecticut College and continuing into Saturday at UMass Dartmouth against the host and non-conference foe Western Connecticut State. The Jumbos didn’t surrender a single set throughout this streak.
Friday’s home win against Conn. College was characterized by a tough second set that went to extra points, with the Jumbos eventually topping the Camels 27-25. Sets one and three were much more comfortable for the Jumbos, with dominant serving by senior Maddie Kuppe leading the way to a 25-14 victory in the final set.
Their Saturday match against Western Connecticut offered a different challenge, with a closely fought first set (25-23), giving Tufts the confidence to push on and improve in each of their next two sets, eventually winning the final one 25-18. The Jumbos won each set in the last game of the day against the UMass-Dartmouth Corsairs, and the matchup saw several first-year players particularly impress with strong performances.
With these three wins in the bag, the Jumbos move to 7-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference play. During this streak, Tufts has not just dominated play, but has also ruled the stats board, leading in hitting percentage, blocks, aces and kills in all three games. The only statistic the Jumbos failed to lead in was digs. UMass Dartmouth managed 34 digs to Tufts’ 32, and, in the most competitive match of the three, Western Connecticut racked up 56 digs to Tufts’ 54.
The weekend also saw many different players contribute to the Jumbos’ winning efforts. Leading the team in kills the first two games was Kuppe, with 11 against Conn. College and 13 against Western Connecticut. First-year Alexandra Wood led the team with seven kills in the final game of the weekend versus UMass Dartmouth. Senior Kyra Baum and first-year Angela Yu supplied Kuppe and the rest of the offense with 16 and 15 assists, respectively, in the first two games. First-year Katie Zheng also racked up an impressive 25 assists against UMass Dartmouth in addition to collecting five digs.
The strong defensive performance was a team effort as well. Five players contributed to blocks against Umass Dartmouth, each with either a team block or individual. Senior co-captain Carolina Berger did the digging work for the game, registering 12. Against Western Connecticut, sophomore Wendy Dyer led the team with three blocks, while Kuppe registered two blocks and capped off a good all-around game with eight digs. Berger also had 25 digs to fight off the Western Connecticut Colonials. Against Conn. College on Friday, several different players racked up blocks, and Kruppe picked up 13 digs.
The team is looking to build off this impressive three-game display and has their next home match on Oct. 1 against UMass Boston. On Oct. 3, they travel to NESCAC rival Bowdoin to take on the host and Keene State.