Volleyball finishes third in Hall of Fame tournament

Volleyball enjoyed a successful past two weeks, celebrating seven wins and suffering only one loss. It also solidified the squad’s second place in the NESCAC standings and qualified the team for the NESCAC tournament Nov. 2-3.

This past weekend, the team earned third place in the Hall of Fame tournament at Springfield, with triumphs over Wheaton, Springfield and MIT. The team also suffered a loss, in the semifinals to Wesleyan.

In the first round against Wheaton, the Ephs triumphed in three games (30-26, 30-19, 30-16). Meg Demment ’05 registered 30 assists, Robin Young ’05 contributed 12 kills and Joyia Chadwick ’05 scored nine kills and three blocks.

Co-captain Carmel Lyons ’03 stood out in the game, with a terrific all around performance of nine digs, seven service aces and eight kills. Akilah Rogers ’04 chipped in four blocks.

Next, in the quarterfinals, the team faced Springfield, who had recently regained the number one ranking in the Division III New England poll. The Ephs triumphed handily in three games (30-24, 32-30, 30-22).

“We executed very well,” said head coach Fran Vandermeer. “We were very, very focused in all aspects of our game.”

Individually, Demment scored 26 assists and, “did a nice job of running our offense,” according to Vandermeer. Young continued her dominant play on the front line, registering 16 digs and 14 kills. Chadwick contributed 12 digs, six blocks and led the team with 18 kills. Rogers had five digs on defense, and Lyons again performed well in all aspects of the game with 22 digs, three aces and eight kills.

After the exciting victory in the quarterfinals against Springfield, the team faced Wellesley, a team whom Coach Vandermeer described as, “one of the best teams in the region for several years,” in the semifinals on Saturday.

In the first game, Williams led 29-27 and seemed poised to knock off its highly regarded opponent, but the team let the match slip away, dropping that first game 31-29, and the next two games 30-25 and 30-26.

“Had we put them away in the first game, it would have set a different tone for the match,” said Vandermeer. “However, we let them back into the match. We have to use it as a learning experience.”

After strong performances in the previous two matches, the young team’s defense showed its lack of experience in the defeat.

“We needed a much better defensive effort,” said Vandermeer. “We’re adjusting to a change in our defensive system, with players still learning where to be on the floor.”

Individually, Young had 14 kills and tied with Lyons with a team high 12 digs. Lyons also had nine kills, and Chadwick led the team with 16 kills and five blocks.

The team played well throughout the match, but hurt itself at key momentum points throughout the match.

“We had errors at inappropriate times, making service errors after a strong defensive stop, that sort of thing,” said Vandermeer.

Despite the loss, the team still earned a spot on the tournament’s podium when it defeated MIT in its next match, earning third place for the tournament. MIT has been ranked first or second in the Division III New England poll for most of the year, but the Ephs triumphed in four games (30-22, 24-30, 30-16 and 30-21) giving the team wins over two of the top teams in the area in the same weekend.

Individually, Lyons and Young led the team in the match as they did for most of the weekend, with the co-captain contributing 11 kills and a monster 28 digs, and the first-year scoring 14 kills and 20 digs. Chadwick was again dominant on offense, registering 28 kills, five blocks and four aces. Rogers had two blocks, co-captain Diane Williams ’02 had 14 digs, and Demment, who, “battled well all weekend,” according to Vandermeer, guided the team in her usually consistent and skillful manner with 49 assists and eight digs.

“[Chadwick] played a very solid weekend offensively, but Robin and Carmel did the rest for our team this weekend,” Vandermeer said. “We’re a young team, we can read the other team better, Young and Lyons did that. Our serve-receive passing, which is mostly Robin and Carmel, was excellent all weekend long.”

In addition to earning third place at the Hall of Fame tournament, the team also enjoyed a victory over Middlebury on Wednesday, and victories over Colby, Hamilton, Bates, and Bowdoin the previous weekend.

Against Middlebury, the team triumphed in the three games (30-26, 30-19, 30-21). The team played strong all around, with Rogers, who had eight kills, in particular coming through in clutch moments. Chadwick contributed 17 kills, and the serve-receive passing was again “awesome” according to Vandermeer.

The previous weekend, the team triumphed in four games against Colby, Hamilton, Bates, and Bowdoin.

Against Colby, the team triumphed in three games (30-19, 30-28, 32-30). Colby played every point tough, but Williams was clearly the stronger club.

Diane Williams was crucial in the match, both as a floor leader and with five kills, most of which came at clutch moments. Chadwick, with 11 kills, four aces and four blocks, clearly intimidated Colby at the net, who adjusted their game to avoid having to go through the first-year.

Young, whose jump serve acted as a spark-plug to the team the whole weekend, also added to Williams’ front-line dominance, with 11 digs, 11 kills and four aces. Demment, who had 28 assists, again guided the team as the floor leader, changing her tactics when Colby adjusted to Williams’ hitters.

Lyons and Rogers both also played very important roles at the net, with Lyons contributing more offensively and Rogers defensively.

In the second match Friday against Hamilton, Williams won in four games (27-30, 30-20, 30-15, 30-17). “Hamilton was fighting to qualify for the conference tournament,” said Vandermeer. “They really battled the whole way.”

Individually, Young stood out in the match, both with her jump serve, where she registered nine aces, and by leading the team with 20 kills and 14 digs.

Demment also had 42 assists, and Chadwick 18 kills. Lyons and Rogers also played important roles at the net, Lyons registering 11 digs and 13 kills, and Rogers four kills.

Against Bates on Saturday, the team triumphed in four games, rolling over Bates in the first two games 30-21 and 30-12. The Ephwomen narrowly dropped the third, 26-30 but regained their dominance in the final match 30-21.

Demment had 43 assists for the match, and Chadwick dominated with a monster 29 kills. Young was also very active at the net, and registered 23 digs on defense.

Against Bowdion on Saturday, the team triumphed in three games (30-21, 30-14, 30-22). Williams was clearly the stronger team, dominating both on offense, where Rogers had 8 kills while Young and Chadwick each had 11, and defense, where Lyons led the team with 17 digs.

“I am happy with the weekend,” said Vandermeer, “We worked really hard.”

After their recent success, the team faces exciting challenges in the coming week. The Ephwomen play Vasser Wednesday at home, and then travel to Amherst for the Little III tournament. The team shall face Amherst at their home in a battle between the two second place teams in the conference.

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