Courtesy of Tufts University
MEDFORD, Mass. – The Amherst College volleyball team opened its weekend with a 3-0 loss (25-21, 25-17, 25-17) to Tufts University Friday evening at Cousens Gymnasium. The Lord Jeffs will return to Tufts Saturday for an 11 a.m. match against Connecticut College.
Tufts—ranked fourth in the latest NEWVA Regional Poll—improves to 13-3 overall and 5-1 in the NESCAC. Amherst—ranked eighth—drops to 11-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
The first set was the closest of the match as it had four ties and two lead changes. The Jumbos initially jumped ahead 6-2 after a kill by senior Cara Spieler, but Amherst fought back to take a 10-8 lead. That would be the largest advantage of the match for the Lord Jeffs, as Tufts tied the score at 10 and never let the visitors regain the lead. Amherst senior KC Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) pulled the Lord Jeffs within two at 22-20, but the Jumbos recorded three of the next four points to win the first set, 25-21.
The Jumbos jumped out to a 2-1 advantage in the second set and never relinquished their lead. Tufts held an eight-point edge (15-7) midway through the set, and Amherst never got to within closer than three points (16-13). The Jumbos scored three straight to end the set, including kills from first-years Hayley Hopper and Isabel Kuhel.
The Jumbos ran away with the third set early, tallying the first six points and eventually going up by as many as 11 at 12-1. First-year Lauren Antion (Los Angeles, Calif.) registered a service ace in the middle of the set to get Amherst back within seven at 15-8. That was the closest Amherst would be for the remainder of the set, as Tufts cruised to another 25-17 victory for the match sweep.
Hopper led the way for the Jumbos with a team-high 15 kills, while her classmate Kelly Brennan had 12. Junior Kendall Lord recorded 41 assists and three service aces, senior Audrey Kuan finished with 17 digs, and Spieler ended the night with nine kills and 11 digs.
Senior Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, Calif.) continued her impressive week by finishing with a match-high 16 kills for Amherst. Junior Callie Neilson (Escondido, Calif.) registered 24 assists, while classmate Kristin Keeno (Honolulu, Hawaii) had a match-high 21 digs.
Tufts hit at .240 and recorded six team blocks, while Amherst finished with a .122 hitting percentage and two team blocks.