Volleyball (27-5 overall, 10-0 in the NESCAC) saw its season come to a close last Sunday. Competing in the Div. III NCAA regional finals against UMass Boston, the women fell to the defending regional champions in four sets, 3-1, after a long weekend of volleyball. On Saturday, they beat Springfield in a tight 3-2 matchup, and on Friday, the women dominated Southern Vermont 3-0.
The women’s first match of the tournament was on Friday against Southern Vermont. Emily O’Day ’15 started the first set out with a 7-1 serving streak. The Ephs engaged in several long rallies, generally ending in their favor and easily won the first set 25-7. The women didn’t let up in the second set, working seamlessly as a team to deliver sets, blocks, kills and digs. Captain Emily Doll ’14 pushed the Ephs up several points during a serving streak, and the set ended with Tori Jasuta ’17 and Doll smacking kills to close out a 25-12 win.
The third set of the match was the closest between the two teams, yet Williams prevailed 25-18 to win the match. The team alternated errors and kills all the way up to 9-9 before Williams pulled away with a deadly combination of kills and serves.
In the next round against Springfield on Saturday, Williams was ready to play from the opening serve. The Pride handed the Ephs one of their few losses on Oct. 25, and the women came out looking for revenge. The game started off in favor of Springfield, who pushed ahead 4-2 in the beginning of the first set. The women fought back to tie the score at 9-9 and then again at 20-20. After a Springfield timeout, Williams stormed back onto the court and earned crucial points from Jasuta and Katherine Lane ’16, ending the set in Williams’ favor, 25-21.
The match continued to go back-and-forth, as Springfield took the second set 25-20. Both teams went into the third set determined to win. Williams pulled ahead 8-5 before Springfield tied the match 11-11. Then it was the Pride’s turn to take the advantage, scoring four more points to Williams’ one and putting the score at 15-12. With a serving streak and impressive blocking, Springfield took the set 25-18.
The fourth set of the match was a must-win for the women to stay alive in the tournament. Williams executed impressive teamwork as Ryan Farley ’16 and Lane dominated Springfield’s outside, allowing the women a service streak that earned them six points. Springfield called a timeout, but Williams continued to overpower them, winning the fourth set 25-20. The decisive fifth set was a prime example of Williams’ drive. The score reached a paralyzing 11-10, but the women went on a quick streak with Lane serving a quick middle hit that won Williams the match. Jasuta had 24 kills, Farley had 54 assists and Mandy Schott ’15 had 19 digs on the day.
The Ephs and Beacons were neck-and-neck for the entirety of the first set, alternating kills and blocks until the Ephs came out with a 25-19 win. However, they would not win another set, as the Beacons went on a three-set streak that won them the match. Although Williams fought back, a combination of errors and strong defense by UMass Boston ultimately defeated the women. The final three sets went to the Beacons 25-16, 25-20, 25-16.
Both Farley and Jasuta were named to the Div. III NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team. Jasuta was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year and NESCAC Player of the Year. Doll and Farley were also named to the All-NESCAC First Team. Head Coach Christi Kelsey was named Coach of the Year for her first time in the five years she has been the head coach at Williams.
“I’m telling my players and myself to keep it all in perspective … and I couldn’t be more proud of my kids,” said Kelsey. “This is our volleyball family.”
With the conclusion of the season, the women graduate Doll as their lone senior.