Williams volleyball headed up to Lewiston, Maine this weekend to play in the competitive sixteen-team Bates Invitational. The tournament included top seeds from three different regions, including three of the top four New England squads. The Ephs did well putting forth strong efforts against tough teams and placing fourth on the weekend.
After a successful outing Friday night, the Ephs entered the semi-final bracket Saturday morning and faced top ranked Wellesley. Williams started slowly, immediately handing Wellesley a five-point lead. The Ephs quickly regrouped and fought back with solid defense. However, the lead was too much to overcome and Wellesley took the first game. Gaining some momentum in the second game, Williams answered back with a strong win, tying the match at 1-1.
But the Eph effort over the next two games was not enough and Wellesley proved its strength by taking the next two games, and the match 3-1. Wellesley, which is the only New England team ranked nationally, went on to win the tournament.
After their disappointing loss to Wellesley, the Ephs faced the regionally fourth ranked Springfield in the third place match. Williams jumped out to an early lead through strong serving and net play. After grabbing the first game, Williams put forth a fierce effort and fought hard but ultimately came up short, losing the match.
Despite the loss, the Ephs were pleased with the improvements they have made thus far. “We took some steps,” head coach Fran Vandermeer said. After disappointing results last weekend, this weekend’s efforts proved much better for the Ephs. The Ephs began the weekend on a high note, quickly disposing of Wheaton College on Friday afternoon. Williams jumped out to an early lead against Wheaton and never looked back. Once again the Ephs’ defense came through, digging several of Wheaton’s attacks, and they took the first game 15-7. The second game was much of the same, with Williams being able to put together a little more offense and take a solid 15-5 win.
The Ephs were confident entering the third game but Wheaton came out firing. However, Williams squelched any attempts by Wheaton and answered with a team effort to pull out a 15-11 win and take the match 3-0. After beating Wheaton, Williams went on to play a tough MIT team in a quarterfinal matchup Friday evening. Once again, the Ephs had a strong start in the first game and were able to fend off the MIT comeback to take a 15-12 victory and a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Ephs dominated the second game, winning 15-10 and now taking a 2-0 lead into the third game. The third game was much more of an effort for the Ephs as MIT began to attack the center of the court. Williams forged ahead to reach matchpoint but MIT would not roll over.
With the game tied 14-14, Williams had some key plays to stop MIT and go up 15-14. However, the Ephs were unable to grab the last point, turning the game over to MIT and losing 15-17. Williams proceeded to take the fourth game 15-10, and the match 3-1.
For her efforts this weekend, Carmel Lyons ’03 was named to the all-tournament team for the Ephs.
With their record now at 13-4, the Ephs look to improve their regional and NESCAC standings. Next weekend Williams heads to Colby for a NESCAC Quad with the three Maine schools.