Women’s volleyball sweeps conference foes

Volleyball (9-5, 4-1 in the NESCAC) finished its weekend at home victorious, sweeping both Bates and Colby in heated NESCAC matchups.

Emily Baratta ’14 had four kills in the women’s 3-0 victory over conference rival Colby on Saturday. PHOTO COURTESY OF SPORTS INFORMATION.

The women took Colby in straight sets on Saturday after crushing Bates 3-0 on Friday. The pair of conference victories came on the heels of a 3-1 loss at Middlebury on Sept. 26.

On Saturday, Williams crushed Colby 3-0, picking up its fourth conference win of the season. The Ephs came out on fire, quickly taking a 4-0 lead thanks to kills by Emily Baratta ’14 and co-captain Emily Doll ’14. Unfortunately, the momentum turned in the Mules’ favor, as they tied the set at 5-5. Play remained tight for the rest of the set, as each team took turns in the lead. However, a 5-0 run put Colby in the lead. Colby continued to expand that lead over the next minutes, eventually pulling ahead 19-14. Fortunately for the Ephs, middle hitter Catherine Egan ’16 narrowed the gap with an impressive block, and, right afterwards, a kill, bringing the Ephs to within one of the Mules at 21-20. Ryan Farley ’16 then brought the Ephs even, setting Doll up to finally regain the lead for the women. After holding Colby scoreless for the rest of the set, Williams came out on top 25-22.

The second set proved just as competitive as the first, as neither team was able to gain a substantial lead for the entirety of play. Deep into the set, Claire Miller ’15 sparked some momentum for Williams, granting the women an 18-17 lead before Amanda Schott ’15 opened it up to 21-18. Katherine Lane ’16 made a kill immediately after a Mule timeout, proving that the Ephs’ momentum couldn’t be stopped. Williams also claimed the second set 25-22.

Lane was the first to open up a lead in the third set, following a block with a kill and yet another block to put the Ephs up 7-4. An ace by Mika Nakashige ’13 and another by Baratta widened Williams’ lead to 13-6. The Ephs then quickly turned the third set into a blowout. Going on a 10-1 run, Williams widened its lead to 23-7 and continued to dominate, finally winning the set 25-8.

On Friday, the women crushed Bates 3-0 in their NESCAC home opener. Dedicating their play to La Jolla native Karleigh Ash, a friend of the program who is currently battling lymphoma, Williams made 39 “Kills for Karleigh” that night. Remaining tied for the first few points of play, the Ephs finally made a breakthrough thanks to libero Emily O’Day ’15, who went on a 6-0 serving run to bring the lead to 11-5 in the women’s favor. Egan went on to register five of the next six blocks, as Williams cruised to a 17-7 lead. The Bobcats were unable to make a comeback, falling 25-13 to the Ephs in the first set.

The second set did not play out as easily for Williams. Bates struck first, gaining a 7-3 lead before a Williams timeout turned the momentum back in the women’s favor. Although the Ephs began to make a comeback, the Bobcats grabbed a three point lead, making it 10-7 in their favor. Finally, Lauren Agoubi ’13 tied the score at 14-14 thanks to a 3-0 serving run. Play remained tight until kills by Doll and Baratta put Williams on top 26-25. From there, the Ephs fought through the fatigue of a long set to claim a 28-26 win.

In the third and final set of the day, Egan helped the Ephs to grab an early 4-0 lead. The women maintained their lead until Bates staged a comeback, pulling ahead 10-9. However, this shift in momentum was only temporary: Williams continued to dominate throughout the set, ultimately dropping Bates 25-21 to come away with yet another conference win.

On Sept. 26, Williams did not have as much luck against NESCAC foe Middlebury. Despite playing on the road, the Ephs grabbed an early lead in the first set. However, Middlebury tied the score up twice before pulling away with a slight lead. The Panthers went on to eventually win the set 25-22.

In the second set, the Ephs rode a mid-set lead to a 25-20 victory in the second set, evening match play at one apiece.

Play was tight from the beginning of the third until a kill by Doll increased the women’s lead to three at 13-10. However, the Panthers managed to turn the tides and steal a 25-22 victory.

In the fourth set, both teams experienced long offensive runs followed by dangerous lulls, causing the score to fluctuate greatly. However, Middlebury eventually closed out the set 25-20 for a 3-1 match victory.

Head Coach Christi Kelsey offered a very positive outlook on the women’s play this past week. “Overall it was a good conference week for us,” she said. “We had a tough loss to Middlebury on Wednesday, but I was pleased with the way our team responded and bounced back to earn wins over two solid teams in Bates and Colby this past weekend.

“Every win in the NESCAC is an important one so at the halfway mark to be 4-1 is a good place to be,” Kelsey continued. “However, it is still a tough road ahead, and we have to make sure we are working to get better every time we take the court.”

The women faced Union on Tuesday, but results came in too late to publish. They will next travel to Hamilton on Friday for an 8 p.m. match.