Volleyball notches two conference wins

Volleyball (12-7, 6-2 in the NESCAC) suffered a 3-1 loss at Amherst on Saturday after besting Trinity 3-0 on Friday. The women lost a tough battle to New Paltz State on Oct. 10, falling 3-1. On Oct. 5, the women pounded Hamilton for a 3-0 conference win. The women are currently tied for third in NESCAC play.

Taking on Amherst in an away match last Saturday, Williams came out strong only to give away its lead after four sets. The first set went to Williams, after the women grabbed an early 3-0 lead. The Jeffs made a comeback, eventually going up 14-13 and then expanding their lead to 17-15. However, setter Ryan Farley ’16 put the Ephs back on top, giving them a 20-17 lead after notching three aces in a row. Co-captain Emily Doll ’14 pushed the Ephs’ lead to four with a kill, leading co-captain Haley Eagon ’13 and Raea Rasmussen ’15 as they closed out the set with a 25-21 advantage.

The next three sets did not go as smoothly for the Ephs, however, as the Jeffs immediately swung the momentum in their favor. Coming out 6-1 in the second set, Amherst took this one handily, winning 25-17. This loss came despite strong efforts from Emily O’Day ’15 and Claire Miller ’15, whose points late in the set helped keep the Ephs within sight of victory. However, the loss in this set proved decisive for Williams, as the women were unable to gain the lead at all in the third set, finally losing 25-23. Amherst finished strong in the fourth and final, taking a double-digit lead at one point to claim the set 25-18 and the match 3-1.

Last Friday, Williams headed to Connecticut to take on Trinity, seeking to improve its conference standing. Despite a slow start, the Ephs rallied courtesy of a dig by Amanda Schott ’15. Kills from Doll and Miller eventually gave the Ephs a tight lead, until Rasmussen opened the lead up to 17-13. Williams continued to dominate play, eventually taking the first set 25-19. Trinity tried to come out hard in the second set, but failed to sustain any momentum. Play in the second set was back-and-forth, as both teams took turns gaining the lead. A late series of points from Miller, Doll and Rasmussen put the Ephs on top for good, leading them to a 25-22 victory. Trinity refused to give Williams an easy win, however, keeping the score close yet again in the third set. After back-to-back kills by Katherine Lane ’16 late in the set, it appeared as though Williams would take the third set handily. However, the Bantams responded with a late offensive surge. The Ephs remained composed despite the Bantams’ push, pulling out the set 25-22 to finish off their match with a 3-0 conference victory.

“I thought we played a tremendous overall match against a strong Trinity squad on Friday,” Head Coach Christi Kelsey said. “We just couldn’t keep the momentum rolling at Amherst on Saturday.”

Prior to taking on its NESCAC competitors, Williams suffered a loss to New Paltz State in a midweek home match on Oct. 10. Despite their higher hitting percentage as well as their impressive advantage in terms of blocks, the women were unable to bounce back from their unforced errors to win the match. Losing the first set 25-18, the Ephs temporarily came back early in the second set, gaining a 4-0 lead on the strength of Schott’s play. Tight play ensued from there, until New Paltz finally pulled away with the set, eventually winning 25-18. The Ephs were successful in the third, capturing the set with a score of 25-20. Hoping to build off this momentum, Williams battled hard in the fourth set, only to fall 25-16 to New Paltz State after the opponent took a 7-3 run.

Williams had better luck against Hamilton on Oct. 5, winning 3-0 in a tight conference matchup. With 10 total blocks, the Ephs were able to make up for offensive mistakes with fantastic defense. O’Day led the team with 13 total digs, while Lane led in terms of hitting percentage at .571 with five kills, one error and seven attempts.

Williams will open a week of tough non-conference play when they take on Southern Vermont away tonight at 7 p.m. The women will then take on MIT at Mount Holyoke on Friday at 7 p.m. before competing in the Hall of Fame Invitational at Smith. The women will face Springfield at 9 a.m. before tackling Wellesley at 3 p.m. on Saturday. “I am optimistic that our team will respond in a positive way as we prepare for a tough non-conference week ahead,” Kelsey said. “We have four matches this coming week, so we have to bounce back quickly and keep pushing forward.”