Nov. 12, 2009

Courtesy of Tufts

 MEDFORD -- The top-seed Tufts University Jumbos dispatched of the Maine Maritime Academy Mariners 3-0 (25-14, 25-10, 25-16) to win in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Thursday evening at their own Cousens Gymnasium.

Maine Maritime battled hard in the first set and kept it close. In fact, the Mariners held a lead at 11-10 before the Jumbos began to assert their dominance. Tufts would tally 15 of the final 20 points en route to a 25-14 first set win.

Tufts would jump out to a 10-1 advantage in the second set as Maine Maritime was no match for them. Once the Jumbos went up by ten points at 12-2, the lead would never drop back down into single digits as Tufts won by a set-high margin of 15 points, 25-10.

The Mariners were able to hang around in the third set as there were two ties at 1-1 and 5-5. The Jumbos would use a run in which they scored ten of 11 points to gain a nine-point advantage at 15-6. The final margin of victory in the third set would be nine as well with Tufts sweeping the match, 25-16.

Junior Caitlin Updike (Manhattan Beach, CA) led the way for the Jumbos (29-4) with a match-high 11 kills and she also added one service ace. Sophomore Audrey Kuan's (Los Altos, CA) 13 digs tied for the team high and she led the Jumbos with two service aces. Senior co-captain Dena Feiger (Long Grove, IL) added a match-high 40 assists, while junior Dawson Joyce-Mendive (Minden, NV) had 10 kills. The Jumbos are now 4-3 overall in NCAA Tournament play, including 4-2 in three appearances under Coach Cora Thompson.

Eleven kills by sophomore Chelsea Ward (Homer, AK) led the way for the Mariners (22-6), and sophomore Lauren Sakahara (Bellevue, WA) tallied a match-high 17 digs. First-year Jennifer Dixon (Woodstock, MD) chipped in with 16 assists and one service ace. Senior Amy Young (Cumberland, ME) recorded two services aces and seven digs.

"We wanted to serve tough and do the little things right on our side no matter what was happening on the other side," Coach Thompson said. "We really worked hard to force the tempo on our side of the net in terms of getting our middles established and having our outside hitters and our right sides running some faster tempo sets. I think we needed to pass well and play great defense and that's what we did. We stayed solid on our side and that's important."

The Jumbos will play Wellesley in the New England Regional semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday evening at 7 pm.