MEDFORD, Mass. (courtesy Tufts sports information) -- In a closely contested match, Tufts University earned a 3-1 victory (25-22, 25-21, 27-29, 25-23) over Brandeis University on the Cousens Gymnasium court Tuesday night. The teams entered play with two of the better records in New England early in the 2008 season, but the Jumbos remained undefeated at 9-0 and Brandeis fell to 8-2.
In the 25-22 first-set victory, Tufts used a stretch of six straight points to turn a 17-15 deficit into a 21-17 lead. The Judges narrowed the margin to 23-22, but Tufts held on for the win. The Jumbos surged to a 17-10 lead in the second set before Brandeis came back to within 19-17. Tufts was able to finish up 25-21 to go ahead 2-0. Brandeis got out strong in the third set, leading 9-2 and 20-12. The Jumbos rallied to tie the score late, but could not get the lead and Brandeis went extra to post a 29-27 win. The fourth set was just as close, with Tufts scoring the final two points to take a 25-23 win and the match.
Brandeis was led by sophomore twin-sisters Paige Blasco (Greeley, Colo.) and Abby Blasco (Greeley, Colo.). Paige finished with 12 kills, 15 digs and five blocks. Abby posted 32 assists, three service aces and 24 digs. Junior Bridget McAllister (Santa Clara, Calif.) led the Judges with a .300 hitting percentage for the night, including nine kills.
The Jumbos were led by 17 kills from sophomore Dawson Joyce-Mendive (Minden, Nev.). Sophomore Caitlin Updike (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) hammered home eight kills in just two games played. Tufts was solid defensively, with senior tri-captain Kate Denniston (Tarzana, Calif.) getting in on five blocks and senior tri-captain Natalie Goldstein (Piedmont, Calif.) tying for the team lead with 23 digs. Junior setter Dena Feiger (Long Grove, Ill.) also had 23 digs to go with 42 assists.