AMHERST, Mass. – Nicole Gould '17 registered a team-high 13 kills to lead four Amherst College players in double-digits in the category as the Purple & White erased a 2-0 deficit in the match to post a thrilling, 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-10) victory over NESCAC rival Tufts University on Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium.
With the win, Amherst extends its unbeaten record to 7-0 overall, 2-0 in NESCAC play. Tufts moves to 4-3 on the season, 1-1 in league action.
Trailing 2-0 in the match following a pair of narrow, 25-23 victories by Tufts in the first two sets, Amherst responded with a strong third frame that saw the Purple & White build on a 14-10 lead with a stretch of six straight points to set the score at 20-10. The Jumbos answered with a run of their own as Mckenzie Humann and Kyra Baum downed a kill each to help pull Tufts to within eight at 22-14. A kill by Gould and an assisted block by Marialexa Natsis '18 and Nicole Carter '16 allowed Amherst to stave off the sweep and take the third set, 25-14.
A back-and-forth fourth stanza saw the sides battle to 10 tie scores and seven lead changes with neither team holding more than a five-point advantage. After Maggie Danner '17 knotted the set for the 10th time (23-23), Tufts suffered a pair of attacking errors as the Purple & White clinched the frame and evened the match at two sets apiece.
The fifth set saw Amherst bolt out to an 8-2 lead highlighted by a tandem block from Natsis and Gould. Tufts used a 5-1 run capped by a kill from Alexandra Wood to pull the Jumbos to within two at 9-7, but a kill by Danner and two miscues by the visitors pushed the Purple & White lead back to four at 12-7. A kill by Maddie Kuppe set the score at 14-10 in favor of Amherst before Danner and Samantha Newby '16 delivered the team's 12th block of the match to complete the hard-fought, come-from-behind win.
Carter dished out 46 assists, notched eight digs, and served up three aces, while Lizzie Ahern '16 finished with 12 kills, three assisted blocks and one solo stuff. Danner and Natsis added 10 kills each, while Newby chipped in seven kills. Newby and Danner were also stellar at the net registering five assisted blocks each, while Natsis added four.
Kuppe led all hitters with 22 kills, and contributed 18 digs in the loss for the Jumbos, while Humann followed with 10 kills. Alexandra Garrett led all players with 34 digs, Sara Wojciechowski added 10, and Katie Kim and Baum tallied nine each. Humann and Ahrens notched six and five assisted blocks respectively, while Baum dished out 31 of Tufts' 52 assists.
Amherst returns to NESCAC action Wednesday evening when it travels to Little III rival Williams College for a 7 p.m. match.