No. 15 Engineers Fall to Tufts, 3-1, in New England Challenge

Andie Maloney
Courtesy of DSPics.com

THE BASICS:

- Score: Tufts University 3, No. 15 MIT 1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-9, 25-20)

- Records: No. 15 MIT (22-2); Tufts (16-5)

- Location: Williamstown, Mass. (Chandler Gym)

- The Lead: In the opening match of the New England Challenge, the nationally-ranked No. 15 MIT women's volleyball team fell to Tufts University, 25-16, 22-25, 25-9, 25-20, on Friday night at Williams College. Junior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) powered the Engineers with a match-high 15 kills while tacking on two blocks.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- A hitting error along with back-to-back Bertics kills brought MIT within 10-9 in the first set. Tufts responded by gradually creating a 17-12 lead. The Engineers narrowed the gap to 18-15 but the Jumbos mounted a 7-1 run to win the set.

- MIT jumped out to a 6-2 advantage in the second stanza on the strength of tough serving by senior Alli Davanzo (Saint Johns, Fla.) which featured two aces. Tufts countered with an 11-4 run to reclaim the lead. The Engineers responded with a 7-1 burst, going ahead 17-14 after an ace by freshman Francesca Macchiavello (Lexington, Ky.). The Jumbos captured the next three points but a setting error resulted in an exchange of side outs that moved the score to 21-21. Kills by sophomore Alexis Groark (Huntington, N.Y.) and freshman Andie Maloney (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) along with a Tufts hitting error gave MIT set point. A hitting error kept the Jumbos alive but another Groark kill gave the Engineers a 25-22 victory.

- MIT built a 5-2 edge in the third set. Tufts replied with 10 unanswered points to take control of the frame and cruise to a 25-9 win.

- The Jumbos carried the momentum into the fourth set as they claimed four of the first five points. The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, capitalizing on a hitting error which brought them within 8-7. Tufts picked up the next four points but a 4-1 spurt narrowed MIT's gap to 16-15. The Jumbos put together a 6-2 run, however, a kill by Bertics coupled with an ace from senior Clare Farley (La Jolla, Calif.) kept the Engineers within striking distance as the score shifted to 22-19. Tufts then claimed three of the last four points to secure the match.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Maloney totaled 28 assists and nine digs as sophomore Madison Lee (Hillsborough, Calif.) posted eight digs and two aces. Junior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) collected eight digs, followed by seven from senior Lisette Tellez (Miami, Fla.). Junior Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) rounded out the squad with three blocks.

UP NEXT:

- MIT wraps up the New England Challenge with two matches on Saturday, Oct. 21. The Engineers will battle host Williams at 11:00 a.m. and then square off with Middlebury College at 3:30 p.m.

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