Volleyball 2nd in NESCAC draws NCAA tourney bid

The Williams women’s volleyball team has earned the second seed in the six-team NCAA New England Regional field behind host Wellesley College. This is the third time in six years that the Ephs have landed an NCAA berth since NESCAC teams have been permitted to compete in NCAA team competitions.

With a first round bye this marks the Ephs first appearance in the second round of the tournament. The Ephs are led by All America candidate middle blocker Amy Greifenstein ’99 who is a three-time All-New England selection and a two-time NESCAC Player of the Year.

Leading up to the NCAA’s decision, the team traveled to Colby this weekend to play in the NESCAC Championship. Plagued by slow starts all weekend the first ranked Ephs were unable to produce in the finals against Middlebury, losing in five games.

Earlier in the tournament Williams defeated Wesleyan and Tufts to make it to the finals in a rematch of last year and a have a chance to avenge their loss. However, it was not meant to be as the Ephs came out and dropped the first game 5-15. Fired up over this loss, Williams came out and took the next game decisively. Strong serving, tough defense, and aggressive net play helped the Ephs win 15-5 in the second game and led to another win in the third game, 17-15. Up two games to one heading into the fourth Williams fought long with the Panthers, who ultimately won 11-15.

Tied at two games apiece the match went into a fifth game of rally score. The Ephs struck first with a huge block, but Middlebury quickly stole their thunder and took a lead which they held until their 10-15 win.

In earlier rounds the Ephs defeated Wesleyan and Tufts easily. Against Wesleyan, Katie Ford ’00 had 16 service points, Christine Whitcraft ’99 had 32 assists, and Shekinah Cohn ’01 had 20 digs.

Ford and Whitcraft were both awarded NESCAC Honorable Mention for their strong play throughout the year. Against Tufts, Cohn put down 15 kills and Kelley Powell ’99 managed 15 digs. Greifenstein put in a strong effort all weekend with 44 kills (23 against Middlebury) and 20 blocks, earning her a spot on the All-NESCAC first team and NESCAC Player of the Year honors.

The Ephs will open tournament play on Friday night at Wellesley College in a 5:00 p.m. match against the winner of Thursday night’s match between Amherst and MIT. The winners of Friday night’s regional semifinals will play on Saturday night at Wellesley College at 7:00 p.m. for the New England regional title.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *