Volleyball racks up 4 wins

Volleyball (13-7, 3-1 in the NESCAC) went undefeated this weekend at the Williams Invitational. The women swept the first day of competition on Friday, soundly defeating both SUNY-Oneonta (25-16, 25-11, 25-12) and Western New England College (25-9, 25-10, 25-14) in three sets. They went on to shut out Westfield State (25-5, 25-26, 25-14) and beat Skidmore 3-1 (25-20, 13-25, 25-21, 25-22), extending their winning streak to a season-high six matches. The Ephs are still undefeated at home.

“Our match against Skidmore really showed how much we’ve improved as a team since the beginning of the season,” co-captain Riki McDermott ’09 said. “Skidmore put up a good fight against us, but our scrappy play, aggressiveness and competitive edge helped us defeat them.”

The final match of the tournament proved to be the greatest challenge for the Ephs. They won the first set, but dropped the second. But the women managed to come back in the third set to take the match. Setter Emily Avis ’11 posted an impressive 49 assists, 18 digs, and two blocks, while co-captain Chelsea Kubal ’10 (25 digs, 13 kills), Eleanor Levine ’11 (six digs, seven kills, four blocks), Andrea Scioscia ’10 (16 digs), Kate Anderson ’11 (12 kills, seven digs, two blocks) and Aly McKinnon ’12 (15 digs, two aces) also put up big numbers.

“I think that we really keyed in on our serving this weekend, and in many games, we were able to shut down teams by staying tough,” Kubal said. On Saturday, the Ephs’ serving game was certainly a major component to their success. Scioscia (five aces, 10 digs), Hitchcock (four aces, four kills), Avis (five aces, 20 assists) and Levine (three aces) all played strong in the day’s first win over Westfield State.

“I thought we took a big step forward as a team this weekend,” said McDermott. “Our energy was very consistent, we showed stretches of brilliance, and we did a good job focusing on our side of the court.”

Consistency proved to be the key when the women took the court in their tournament opener against SUNY-Oneonta. They played good defense that allowed them to work on their offensive game, and big contributions from a number of players made the difference in allowing the Ephs to stay in the lead. Avis (12 assists, six digs), McDermott (nine digs), Kubal (eight digs, eight kills) and Whitney Hitchcock ’10 (six kills, three blocks) were all impact players, while Levine (two aces, three blocks), Anderson (seven kills), McKinnon (three aces) and Jessica Torres ’12 (two aces) also contributed to the win.

In their second match, the Ephs controlled the momentum for much of the time. Again, the win over WNEC was a team effort, with input from Avis (36 assists, five digs), Levine (five kills, three blocks), McDermott (eight digs), Kubal (13 digs, seven kills), Hitchcock (five kills, two aces, three blocks) and Anderson (15 kills, five digs).

Avis was named the Williams Invitational Most Valuable Player, and Kubal made the all-tournament team. Also on the Williams Invitational All-Tournament Team: Lauren Dinsdale (Skidmore), Katharina Boes (WNEC), Megan Boeltz (SUNY-Oneonta) and Jo Fier (Hamilton).

The Ephs will play another home match against SUNY-New Paltz tonight at 7 p.m.