MEDFORD, Mass. – In the opener of an important New England Small College Athletic Confernece (NESCAC) weekend, the Amherst College women's volleyball team came from two sets down to claim a 3-2 victory over Tufts University at Cousens Gym on Friday night.
Refusing to give up after falling 25-18 and 25-20 in the first two sets, the Mammoths stayed alive with a 25-20 set three victory, then won both the fourth (27-25) and deciding fifth (16-14) sets in extra points. The win was the first against Tufts since 2015, as the Jumbos were on a three-game winning streak in the series.
Amherst improves to 11-3 overall this year and 4-1 in NESCAC play ahead of another big game on Saturday at Bowdoin. The Polar Bears are 15-1 and 6-0 in the conference.
The two teams traded points for the first half of the winner-take-all fifth set. Down 9-7, the Mammoths took advantage of two Jumbo errors and got two kills from Dailey to take an 11-9 lead. The Jumbos came within one, 11-10, thanks to a kill from junior Heather Holz, but Amherst got another kill from Dailey and one of Cameron Hendricks' '20 10 kills to take a 14-11 lead, and then claimed the match with two attack errors by the Jumbos.
Facing elimination in the third set and with the score locked at 18, Dailey and Emily Kolsky '20 provided the firepower as the Mammoths closed the set on a 7-2 run.
With the scored tied at 24 in the fourth set, a kill by Kolsky put Amherst on the brink of tying the match, but Cate Desler kept Tufts in the game with one of her career-high 17 kills. Once again, however, a Dailey kill was the catalyst and an attacking error by Tufts sent the teams to the deciding fifth set.
Desler finished ten digs and three blocks to go with her 17 kills for the Jumbos. Maddie Stewart added 15 kills and senior co-captain Mackenzie Bright finished with 12 kills and four blocks. Junior Christina Nwankpa added 11 kills and six blocks. Brigid Bell ended with seven kills and ten digs. Defensively sophomore Sophia Acker turned in 17 digs and junior Rachel Furash and freshman Ariel Zedric each helped with 14. Furash and Zedric took care of the setting, finishing with 36 and 24 assists, respectively.
The Jumbos are back in action tomorrow when they host Trinity with a 1 pm scheduled start.
Amherst and Bowdoin will also serve up at 1:00 pm in Brunswick, Maine.