With the win, Tufts is now 26-5, while #5-seeded Roger Williams finished 28-4.
Tufts thus advances to the second Regional semifinal match Saturday at 6 pm. The Jumbos await either #1-seeded Springfield or #8-seeded Westfield State.
Neither team hit particularly well in this match -- Tufts .131, Roger Williams .137. But those figures belie the type of defense that was played throughout. It was also a match in that whichever team grabbed an early lead in a particular game, it usually managed to lengthen it and hold on.
In a match where there was a yo-yo effect, it was Tufts which came through in the end. But that did not look like the case after three sets. It was the Hawks that had the better of it at that juncture.
RWU won the first set, 25-18. But Tufts came back strong to win set #2, 25-20. Roger Williams was totally dominant in game #3, jumping out to an 18-4 lead. The 25-12 win was actually not that close.
But just as dominant as RWU was in game #3, Tufts was nearly as dominant in game #4, winning 25-18.
In game #5, Tufts took leads of 6-2 and 7-3, eventually leading 11-7 and 14-10. RWU made it interesting by winning two straight points, making Jumbo fans squirm. But Tufts put the final point away, and the comeback was complete.
Tufts' attack was more balanced. Hayley Hopper finished with 13 kills, followed by Kelly Brennan with 11, Isabel Kuhel with 10, and Cara Spieier with nine. Kuhel's hitting percentage was a team best .269. Four players had 10+ digs. They were Audrey Kuan with 21, Kendall Lord with 19, Spieier with 16, and Brennan with 10. Lord finished with 36 set assists. Spieier had three service aces to lead her team in that area.
For Roger Williams, which had as impressive a spurt as one would see in game #3, Krystie Luczynski led with a match-high 18 kills. Danna McDonald was next with 13 kills and a .276 hitting percentage. Gonzales-Yanez had a match-high 23 digs, followed by Kelsee Loche with 22, Marybeth Torpey with 16, and McDonald with 10. Emily Lebowitz ended with 41 set assists.