Volleyball falls in championship round to Eastern

Volleyball traveled to Cambridge for the MIT Invitational Tournament this weekend. Overall it was a successful weekend as the team racked up three wins. However, the Ephwomen fell to Eastern University in the championship match of the tournament.

Williams’ first match was Friday against Smith College, whom the Ephs beat 3-1 (28-30, 30-18, 30-18, 30-23). The women had to pick up their game after an initial loss 28-30. “We definitely had a slow start defensively,” Head Coach Fran Vandermeer said. But they recovered in the next three games with three straight wins. Joyia Chadwick ’05 played a strong match with 14 kills and Annie Denison ’06 also played well, scoring 17 kills.

In their second match, the Ephs went up against Bates, whom they defeated effortlessly in three games (30-22, 30-24, 30-18). The success of this game can most likely be attributed to Williams’ strong defense which picked up more in the second match.

Chadwick had two important blocks which shut down the Bates offense, allowing the women to clinch the match with three straight wins and making Friday a very successful day for the volleyball team.

Saturday brought more mixed emotions, ending in the Ephwomen’s first loss of the season. Initially, the Williams women were off to a strong start. They defeated Springfield College 3-1 (30-26, 26-30, 30-21, 32-30) in order to move on to the finals. The Ephwomen had a strong showing against Springfield, faltering in the second game but recovering in time by shutting down the Springfield women, who were down by nine points at the end of the third.

In the semifinal round, Eastern University beat MIT in four games (30-25, 26-30, 24-30, 30-19). This outcome was somewhat unexpected, since the Ephs were planning on going up against MIT at some point in the tournament and reinforcing the domination that they demonstrated in their first win against the Engineers earlier in the season. However, the final match was not as successful as the first three, and ended in a loss for Williams. Eastern University beat the Ephs 3-2 (30-28, 18-30, 30-24, 25-30, 15-10). However, the women did not give up without a struggle for victory.

They almost triumphed in game one, and ended up losing by only a meager two points. The women completely dominated Eastern in the second game, winning by twelve points and they clinched the fourth to bring it to a five game match. The fifth game was a fight to the finish and demonstrated a solid effort by both teams, but Williams held its own most of the way through. They were winning initially until Eastern topped them in an impressive comeback to win the game, the match and the overall tournament.

One thing the Ephwomen can take pride in this weekend was the strong play of their underclassmen. Kate Sauerhoff ’06 and Krista Suojanen ’07 are really beginning to find their niche and contributed significantly to the team’s success this weekend. Chadwick was also recognized for her amazing skill and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Overall, it was a long but successful weekend for the women. They look forward to playing Middlebury at Lasell on Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. The Ephwomen also have a tournament this weekend in Pennsylvania, where they will go up against Wellesley and Ithaca, among others.

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