Volleyball drops 2 NESCAC matches

Volleyball (16-12, 5-5 in the NESCAC) traveled to Amherst last weekend to compete in two conference games. The team fell 3-0 to Middlebury on Saturday and 3-2 to Amherst on Friday. 

The women fought hard against Middlebury on Saturday but were unable to win a set and dropped the match 3-0.

The first set was close, as the Ephs had 14 kills to keep the Panthers within striking distance.

However, Middlebury was eventually able to overpower Williams 25-22. In the second, the Ephs were not able to maintain their offensive game, slamming home only five kills. Middlebury took the set 25-13, leaving Williams behind as they sped to an easy victory.

The third set did little to change this trend and the team gave way to Middlebury’s offensive pressure. The Ephs ceded the game 25-18 and allowed the Panthers a 3-0 victory.

Rookie Claire Miller ’15 had a team-leading nine kills, with Emily Baratta ’14 slamming home an additional seven.

On Friday, the women faced rival Amherst. The team took the first two sets with strong offensive play. The Ephs slammed home 17 kills to the Jeffs’ 12 in the first game, dropping the Jeffs 25-23 in a tight set. The second set saw Amherst stepping up its offensive game, but the women were able to claim the set with a tight score of 29-27.

Despite Williams’ initial success, Amherst took control going forward, winning the next set 25-20. The Ephs put pressure on the Jeffs in the fourth set, but they ultimately lost the set 25-23. Williams, now in hot water, was not able to regain a lead in the fifth and final set, losing with a score of 16-14.

“I thought Friday night was one of our best performances of the season to date. It’s tough to not get the win but we saw longer and longer stretches of each set where our team executed very well,” Head Coach Christi Kelsey said.

Raea Rasmussen ’15 held a team leading 16 kills, while Miller and Baratta each had 15 kills. Emily Doll ’14 added 11.

“[Baratta] had a really strong weekend,” Kelsey said. “She was aggressive and consistent on offense and saw the court really well in regards to which areas to attack and try to score.”

Defensively, Amanda Schott ’15, in setter position, created 54 digs. Co-captain Haley Eagon ’13 had six blocks and McKinnon had 26 digs. McKinnon now has 1264 career digs, making her seventh in program history.

The team finished the regular season seventh in the NESCAC and will travel to Bowdoin for the conference tournament this weekend. The women will face second-seeded Tufts in the NESCAC Quarterfinal on Friday.

“The NESCAC is such a fun, competitive conference from the standpoint that this time of year any one of the eight teams could win the championship,” Kelsey said. “I am proud of the team, especially in the past month as they really have stepped up in a positive way and answered the challenges I have put forth to them in practice. We will hit the gym hard this entire week, be as prepared as we possibly can be and then give it our very best shot this weekend against Tufts in the quarterfinals and go from there.”

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