The Middlebury College volleyball team will defend its NESCAC Championship on Sunday after defeating Tufts University, 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 28-26 ), in the NESCAC semifinals at Bowdoin College on Saturday afternoon.
The third-seeded Panthers (21-7) will face the host Polar Bears in the title match Sunday at noon. Tufts (25-5) will hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced on Monday.
Middlebury carried a 2-1 lead into the fourth set and rallied from a 22-19 deficit, dodging a set point for Tufts, to earn a 28-26 victory to seal the match.
The Panthers featured a balanced attack, getting 13 kills each from Megan Jarchow and Jane Handel. Handel also pitched in 11 digs for Middlebury.
Julia Gibbs sparked the attack with 38 assists and earned 16 digs defensively. Caitlin Barrett led the squad with 19 digs.
Cara Spieler led the way for the Jumbos, racking up a match-high 19 kills and 19 digs in the loss. Hayley Hopper had 15 kills and Kelly Brennan notched 11 for Tufts. Kendall Lord dished out 52 assists while Audrey Kuan posted 28 digs.