Volleyball (8-5, 0-2 in the NESCAC) travelled to the MIT Invitational this Friday and Saturday to compete against 12 New England colleges. The team played Regis and Springfield on Friday and Endicott and Frostburg State on Saturday, winning three matches and losing one.
The women took home fifth place in the tournament. Springfield claimed first place. The fifth-place finish came on the heals of 3-1 home loss to Southern Vermont on Sept. 21.
The tournament opened with pool play on Friday. Williams faced Regis, easily defeating them 3-0 (25-12, 25-6, 25-13). The team had a hitting percentage of .338, with rookie Raea Rasmussen ’15 creating a match-leading hitting percentage of .500. Claire Miller ’15 recorded seven kills.
The second match against Springfield was more difficult for the women. The Ephs jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the first game, but the Pride staged a comeback midway through the game, tying the set at 12-12. The women then slammed the door with strong defensive play and took the set by a 25-20 margin.
The women were less successful in the second and third sets, finishing with a hitting percentage of -.214 in the second set and only creating four kills. The Ephs played the third set slightly stronger, notching nine kills and a hitting percentage of .200. The Ephs were not able to go the distance, however, and lost the second and third sets with scores of 25-16 and 25-13, respectively.
The fourth set was a tighter battle. The Ephs played impressive defense with 10 blocks, while also notching nine kills in the set. Springfield managed to edge past the women, however, taking the set by a score of 25-23 and claiming a 3-1 victory in the match.
The Ephs’ performance on Day One put them in the silver bracket for Saturday’s matches. The women started play on Saturday against Endicott. Williams quickly claimed the first set 25-21. The Gulls roared back in the second set, forcing the Ephs to step up their defense. McKinnon created 25 digs, and Eagon and Rasmussen each tallied five blocks. Amanda Schott ’15 had an impressive hitting percentage of .667, setting a total of 43 assists. In total, the team created 13 blocks and 66 digs. Despite this strong effort, Endicott took the second set 25-20.
The Ephs rebounded to claim the next set 25-23, but the Gulls came back in the fourth set to win 25-21. With Endicott exerting a full-court press, the women were forced to play their first fifth set of the season. Williams was able to outscore Endicott, winning the deciding set 15-10.
The women’s final match of the tournament against Frostburg State also went into five sets. Williams ceded the first set to Frostburg 25-21. The Ephs came back with a much stronger game in the second set and were able to score a 25-20 victory, but the Bobcats rebounded to take the third set by a score of 25-22. The Ephs won the fourth set 25-21 and were forced into a fifth set, which the Ephs won 15-13. This victory over the Bobcats put the Ephs in fifth place in the tournament.
Miller was selected to the all-tournament team for her performance.
Head Coach Christi Kelsey was proud of her team. “We played some really solid and consistent volleyball at MIT,” she said. “We played really well in the match against Springfield, even if we didn’t win. We beat some really good teams this weekend.”
On Wednesday, the women competed against Southern Vermont in a non-tournament home match. The team also recorded a season-high 10 blocks in the match, but the women were unable to claim a victory. The Ephs lost 3-1 after claiming the first set (23-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-22).
“The most important thing we can take away from this past week was that we had a pretty rough match at home on Wednesday,” Kelsey said, “but the team came back on Thursday ready to work and to try and improve, and I was impressed by that.”
The women hosted Union on Tuesday, but results of the match came in too late to report. The women will travel to Hamilton to play Wesleyan, Trinity and host Hamilton on Saturday and Sunday in conference play.