Volleyball dominates in 4 straight-set wins

Volleyball (19-2, 8-0 in the NESCAC) is on a roll, and the women haven’t stopped. Williams played five games in the past two weeks, facing SUNY New Paltz, Hamilton, Middlebury, Southern Vermont and Colby. The women lost to New Paltz in a tight 3-2 match on Oct. 9, but regained their form with four straight 3-0 victories.

The women most recently played on Saturday afternoon, facing Colby in one of their last NESCAC matches of the season. The game was especially important to the Ephs as a day to honor their lone senior and captain, Emily Doll ’14. Williams dominated the first set, working up a 20-15 lead over Colby with five players contributing kills. The women won the next five points to close out the set 20-15.

The second set went similarly well for the Ephs, as they started quickly and never looked back. Numerous blocks and aces earned Williams a 25-13 victory. With consistent play, the women finished the third set easily, recording another 25-13 win and a 3-0 overall victory. The women took on Southern Vermont on Oct. 15 at home and walked away with yet another victory. Williams finished the match in three strong sets, hardly losing momentum and taking well-placed kills and blocks all over the court. They won each set by a wide margin, going 25-11, 25-15 and 25-16.

Against Middlebury on Oct. 12 and Hamilton on Oct. 11, Williams again looked dominant. The Ephs took the game against the Panthers 3-0, winning 25-12, 25-21 and 25-18. The women defeated Hamilton in straight sets as well, winning 25-19, 25-14 and 25-20.

“I was really proud of how incredibly consistent our team was from start to finish against a strong Middlebury team,” Head Coach Christi Kelsey said. “We probably played some of our sharpest, most well-executed volleyball as a team today overall.”

The women traveled to SUNY New Paltz for an out of conference game on Oct. 9, where they suffered only their second loss of the entire season. The Ephs put up a very strong fight and pushed the match to five sets, but eventually lost 3-2. New Paltz took the first set 25-21, but Williams fought back to level the score after winning the second set 25-19. New Paltz won the third set 25-23, yet once again, the women kept themselves in the match by winning the fourth set 26-24. However, New Paltz took the fifth and decisive set 15-7.

“Even though losing is never fun, I think this was a really good loss for us because it helped us realize there are a couple of things that we need to work on and continue to get better at,” Doll said.

With five games left in the regular season, the New England Women’s Volleyball Association poll puts the Ephs at No. 1 in New England.

“I am incredibly proud of how hard the team has worked up to this point, but we try to keep it in perspective,” Kelsey said. “Every team we face from here on out, NESCAC opponent or otherwise, is going to be a battle. Our group has done a nice job of working hard to improve every day and wanting to invest in each moment to see just how good of a volleyball team we can be each time we take the court.”

This weekend, the women play Springfield at Smith on Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on both MIT at 11 a.m. and Wellesley at 3 p.m. at Mount Holyoke on Saturday.