Nov. 19, 2009

Courtesy of Tufts Athletics

The Tufts University volleyball team's historic 2009 season came to an end on Thursday afternoon when the Jumbos lost 3-1 to Hope College in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Championship at John Carroll University. Down 2-0 after dropping the first two sets 25-17 and 25-23, the Jumbos battled back and won the third set 31-29. However, the Flying Dutch - the #6 ranked team in the nation - won the fourth set 25-15 to take the match.

The Jumbos were led by 22 kills from junior Dawson Joyce-Mendive (Minden, NV). She had eight errors in 47 total swings, giving her a fine .298 hitting percentage for the match. Junior Caitlin Updike (Manhattan Beach, CA) added 12 kills to the Tufts attack. The Jumbos hit .195 overall with 52 kills and 23 errors in 149 attempts.

Making their first appearance in the NCAA Championship round, the Jumbos' nerves were apparent in their service game as they made 11 errors. Senior setter Dena Feiger (Long Grove, IL) finished with 45 assists in the four sets and also contributed 13 digs. Tufts was led by 15 digs from senior co-captain Brogie Helgeson (Santa Cruz, CA). First-year Brittany Neff (Culver City, CA) was in on five blocks at the net, including four assists.

Hope (34-3) received an outstanding game from Jacie Fiedler, who had 18 kills and just three errors in 35 attempts for a .429 percentage. Sara DeWeerdt added 14 kills with just four errors in 27 attempts (.370). Andrea Helminkiak set the offense with 47 assists, while Traci Baker served three aces. Kristen Johnson led three players in double-digits for digs with 13. Kara VandeGuchte had a solo block and three assists.

Coach Cora Thompson's Tufts team finishes the year with a 31-5 record, a school record for victories. The Jumbos won their first-ever NCAA New England Region title to earn the trip to the national quarterfinals. The Jumbos are the first New England team to win a set in an NCAA quarterfinal match since 2004.