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Russell leads volleyball in narrow loss to Tufts

LEWISTON, Maine -- Tufts University came out a 3-1 winner (25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 25-19) in a well- and tightly-played NESCAC volleyball match over host Bates College on Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Jumbos rose to 4-1 in NESCAC play and 9-5 overall, and dropped the Bobcats to 7-9 overall, 0-4 in the NESCAC.

Bates rallied to within a point of Tufts in the first set, 22-21, on the heels of an ace by first-year Nicole Cueli (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), but Tufts pulled out the first set win. Bates put together a late rally in the second set to notch the 26-24 win.

Bates senior captain Nicole Russell (Boca Raton, Fla.) had an immense performance for the Bobcats, with a match-high 14 kills on 55 attempts, to go with 23 digs. The 5-foot-6 Russell recently switched from Bates' starting libero to outside hitter, and she kept the Jumbos on their toes all night with attacks from all over the floor.

Fellow senior captain Eliza Pyne (Atherton, Calif.) added 10 kills with just two errors in 22 attempts, for a .364 attack percentage.

Sophomore Miranda Shapiro (New York, N.Y.) took over as Bates' full-time setter when sophomore Tess Walther (Santa Monica, Calif.) went down with an injury during the first set, and Shapiro had a career-high 26 assists with 12 digs. First-year Laryssa Schepel (Flemington, N.J.) led Bates with 26 digs and four aces. First-year Kelsey Berry (Hollis, N.H.) added four kills, four aces and 19 digs.

Sophomore outside hitter Kelly Brennan (Burr Ridge, Ill.) led Tufts with 13 kills on a team-high 46 attack attempts, to go with 20 digs and two service aces.First-year Carolina Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) had a match-high 30 digs, and senior Kendall Lord (La Jolla, Calif.) had a match-high 42 assists to go with 23 digs.

Also powering the Tufts attack were sophomore Jess Ingrum (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), sophomore Isabel Kuhel (Brisbane, Calif.) and senior Kiersten Ellefsen (Goshen, N.Y.) with 10, nine and eight kills, respectively.

Bates plays host to Bowdoin on Saturday at 11:30am (Video).