Volleyball snags 2nd at MIT Invitational

Volleyball (8-4, 1-0 in the NESCAC) played four games over the weekend at the MIT Invitational, earning second place with a record of 3-1. The women dominated Endicott and NYU on Friday and continued winning on Saturday with a victory over Wesleyan. However, in the finals Saturday night the Ephs fell to the Jumbos in three sets.

The team’s strong drive and work ethic proved successful this past weekend. The women fought hard against the Jumbos in the finals but ended up falling in three sets. The team posted an attack percentage of .145 and seven total team blocks in the match.

Saturday’s finals followed a three set sweep (26-24, 25-17, 25-16) of Wesleyan earlier in the day with an attack percentage of .189 and a total of six team blocks.

On Friday, the team dominated Endicott in all three sets with an impressive attack percentage of .222 and three team blocks. The NYU match stood out most for the team as a battle against an athletic, agile and strong opponent. “We played well in the first two sets, then NYU came back strong in sets three and four,” Kelsey said. “The fifth set, we maintained our poise and executed well to close out the match. That type of win is a great confidence booster for us early in the season.”

At the end of the tournament, Melissa Pun ’10 and Nicole Ballon-Landa ’11 were awarded All-Tournament team honors. The tournament was also a success for NESCAC schools, as the top four finishers were Tufts, Williams, Conn. College and Wesleyan.

Kelsey thought the tournament was a good measuring stick for the team. “[It was] a great opportunity to face tough competition and see how we match up,” she said. “There are a lot of positive things we are taking away from this weekend and learning more about what we can do to be even stronger in the weeks ahead.”

“We are getting better in every game, and continuing to improve,” captain Chelsea Kubal ’10 said of the tournament. “Both the NYU five-set win as well as the Wesleyan match were solid as far as execution and defense. The team really focused on playing in our system and relying on tough serving and solid passing to throw the other teams [off].”

Volleyball faced Union last night but the results came in too late for publication. Williams will next play Amherst on Friday and Trinity on Saturday, with both games at home.

Kelsey has high hopes for the upcoming matches as well as for the rest of the 2009 season. “Each year is a new year,” she said. “Even though there is a lot of experience, we are still taking it as a new start. Each year, the other teams get better so we have to continue to raise the bar. Watching this group develop – only three weeks into the season – the improvement so far has been phenomenal. They are becoming even more of a team and the girls push themselves to improve. It is an exciting time for Williams volleyball. We will continue to improve because this season is a marathon, not a sprint.”