Volleyball secures Little Three crown

Volleyball (10-1, 3-0 in the NESCAC) defeated Amherst in a close match Friday night. With this win, the Ephs claimed the 2014 Little Three title. The Ephs won in five sets: 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 24-26 and 15-13.

The Ephs lost the first few points in the first set, creating a deficit; however, a kill from Raea Rasmussen ’15 following a service ace from Emily O’Day ’15 brought the score even at 4-4. The set remained tight until the Ephs pulled away 17-15 and continued to hold their lead, winning the first set 25-21 off a kill from Rasmussen.

In the second set, the Ephs started with a large lead, 6-2, but the Jeffs battled back to an 8-8 tie. The score remained close until the teams were tied at 15-15, when Amherst won a string of points to bring the score to 15-21. Amherst led the rest of the set, winning 25-20.

The third set started with back-and-forth play between the Ephs and Jeffs. At 6-6, Catherine Egan ’16 gave the Ephs the lead with a kill from the outside. The Ephs led the set until multiple kills from Jeffs’ offense tied the score at 18-18. Amherst gained a small lead after the tie, but the women fought back to win the third set 25-21.

The fourth set was a hard-fought battle with Williams and Amherst continuously trading off the lead. Late in the set, the score was tied 23-23 when a kill from Tori Jasuta ’17 put the Ephs one point away from winning the set. However, Amherst managed to take the next two points, pushing the game into a fifth set.

The Ephs pulled away with an 8-4 lead in the beginning of the fifth set. The Jeffs fought back to 9-9, eventually gaining a 12-9 lead. Kills by Jasuta and Katherine Lane ’16 as well as blocks from Lane and Rasmussen brought the score even once again, to 12-12. Allowing the Jeffs only one more point, the Ephs took the set 15-13 to win the match 3-2.

“The victory over Amherst was awesome in so many ways,” captain Claire Miller ’15 said. “Not only was the win a complete team effort, but with it we also clinched the Little Three title.”

Many Ephs contributed to the win, including Miller and O’Day with 15 digs each, Jasuta with 20 kills and Ryan Farley ’16 with 53 assists.

The victory secures a second straight Little Three title for the Ephs, who are now first in the NESCAC standings.

Following the win, the women are once again in the national spotlight, receiving 37 votes for the AVCA Coaches Poll, which ranks the top 25 teams in Div. III. The Ephs have yet to crack the top 25, but if they continue to play at the level they did this weekend, it should take no time at all before the women are nationally ranked.

The women faced Union at 7 p.m. yesterday in Schenectady, N.Y.  The results came in too late to report.

The women next compete against Hamilton at home on Friday at 8 p.m., and on Saturday, they face Middlebury at 2 p.m. and Potsdam St. at 4 p.m., both at home as well. They also play New Paltz St. next Tuesday at 7 p.m.