Volleyball tops conference foes

Volleyball (6-1, 2-0 in the NESCAC) kicked off conference play with two impressive wins last weekend. The women dropped Wesleyan 3-0 on Sunday after topping Conn. College 3-1 the day before. On Sept. 12, the team overcame non-conference foe Vassar 3-1. To start the season, the women competed in the Endicott Invitational on Sept. 7-8; the women topped Plymouth State 3-2 after losing to the powerhouse UMass-Boston in three sets on Sept. 7. On Day Two of the tournament, the team stole a pair of victories, notching a 3-1 win over Susquehanna and a 3-2 triumph over host Endicott.

At last Saturday’s match, Williams crushed Little Three rival Wesleyan in three sets. In the first set, the Ephs lagged behind after being aced three times. Despite the slow start, the team refocused and obtained their first lead at 15-14. The serving streak of Claire Miller ’15 and the five kills by middle hitter Catherine Egan ’16 helped reset the team to a 25-17 victory in the first set. In the second set, the Ephs started strong and maintained their early lead, ultimately dispatching the Cardinals 25-15.

In the third set, Wesleyan strove for a comeback, managing to seize slight leads throughout the set. At 20-18, with Wesleyan up two points, Williams called a timeout to regroup. After the timeout, the score remained close, with the teams tied at 23-23. However, the women stood strong and pulled out a 25-23 victory in the set, claiming the match 3-0.

The previous day, the women faced steeper competition in Conn. College at their conference opener on the road. The first set of the game was unnervingly close, with the teams tied at 17-17, but the Ephs emerged victorious. In that first set, setter Ryan Farley ’16 tallied 36 assists. The second set took an unfortunate turn. The Camels’ innumerable aces left the Ephs struggling to regain ownership of the game. The set ended 25-12 in the Camels’ favor. The score remained close throughout the third set, but the Ephs persevered to drop the Camels 25-22. In the fourth and final set,  the women dropped Conn. College 25-22 for a 3-1 win.

“A lot of people stepped up and it was truly a team win. We carried the momentum over into Saturday’s match against Wesleyan,” said co-captain Emily Doll ’14 of the team’s victory.

Prior to the match against Conn. College, Williams faced Vassar on Sept. 12. In the first and second sets, Miller served mercilessly. The first set ended in a 25-20 victory, but Vassar pulled out the second set 25-20. With the sets split, the Ephs approached the third set aggressively and garnered the win. In the final set, Vassar tried exerting itself to close on top, but Williams  held strong and took the match 25-18, snagging a 3-1 victory.

Before conference play began, the women competed in the Endicott Invitational hosted by Endicott on Sept. 8 and 9. The women first squared off against UMass-Boston and lost in three straight sets (25-23, 25-15, 25-17) despite intense exertion and determination. Although defeated by nationally-ranked UMass-Boston, the women did not let the disappointing loss set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

Later that day, Williams faced Plymouth State. The team remained calm and fierce during crucial points. Against Plymouth, co-captain Haley Eagon ’13 led the team with an impressive .555 hitting average. Williams battled through five sets (20-25, 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13), ultimately besting Plymouth 3-2 to win the match. On Day Two, the women beat host Endicott in a 3-2 victory, acing their opponent 14 times. The second match of the day saw Williams top Susquehanna 3-1. Despite losing the first set, the Ephs rallied together and won the next three.

“The team has so much potential this year and it’s really exciting to see all of our hard work paying off,” Doll said.

The women travel to Emory this weekend to compete in the Emory Invitational. The women will begin play on Friday at 2:30 p.m. against Trevecca Nazarene before facing Elmhurst at 5 p.m. and then Maryville at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Finally, Williams will face the host team at 3 p.m. on Saturday.