Volleyball (28-4, 8-2 in the NESCAC) dominated the first three rounds of the NCAA Div. III Tournament last weekend, downing Sage, Babson and Bowdoin without dropping a set to advance to the Elite Eight.
In the first round of the Williamstown, Mass. Regional, the women posted a 3-0 win over Sage by scores of 25-12, 25-18, 25-23.
The first set began with a 4-4 tie, before Eph Catherine Egan ’16 took down consecutive balls at the net and captain Claire Miller ’15 smashed the backline. After a Gator time-out, back-to-back quick middle attacks from Eph Katherine Lane ’16 pushed the score to 16-8. Setter Ryan Farley ’16 broke twenty points on her serve, providing one service ace and setting up two kills for Tori Jasuta ’17. Three kills from Egan, Raea Rasmussen ’15 and Miller, respectively, wrapped up the first set for the Ephs, 25-12.
In the second set, Egan and Gator Rachel Martin exchanged kills before Rasmussen, Miller and Farley dealt consecutive kills, followed by a one-handed block from Miller, setting the score at 7-2. The Gators held a strong defense and followed close behind at 11-7, but could not withstand heavy hits from Jasuta, who pushed the score to 15-9. Rasmussen cranked out a kill to take the second set, 25-18.
A service ace from Eph libero Caitie Benell ’17 opened the third set 2-1, but a cross-kill from Gator Morgan Robinson tied the score at fives. A few Eph errors tied the score at 8-8, and two consecutive kills from Gators Mickey Mango and Rachel Liebig pushed Sage ahead 10-8. Strong defense from Sage helped them maintain their lead, but quick swings from Lane and Egan tied the score again at 14-14. The score was tied again after a Sage service ace but Jasuta swung away to regain Williams’ lead at 22-21. Farley set Egan up for a quick middle attack that smashed the floor for game point, 25-23.
In the second round of the NCAA Div. III Regional, the women defeated Babson 25-17, 25-19, 25-19.
Williams started the first set down 5-1 but a kill from Jasuta earned side-out and pushed points with her serve. Miller earned a kill on the sideline, and a Beaver error tied the score 7-7. Big kills kept the Beavers close behind 14-13, but monstrous kills from Jasuta and Miller followed by a service ace from Emily O’Day ’15 kept the Ephs ahead, 20-14. Amanda Schott ’15 served up game point, and Farley killed a setter dump for the first set, 25-17.
A kill from center Egan and line shot from Jasuta opened the second set 5-0 for Williams. Lane broke through the block for double digits, but Babson kept the set close before the Ephs called time-out at 14-11. Farley earned a second-touch kill followed by a service ace from O’Day, setting the score at 18-14 and pressuring Babson into time-out. Jasuta earned a side-out for the Ephs for set point, 25-19.
In the third set, Babson called time-out after a deep tip from Miller set the Ephs at 7-2. Solid play and Beaver errors kept the Ephs ahead, 17-12. A center block from Miller and Egan put the Ephs at match point, and an attack from Rasmussen claimed the game for Williams, 25-19.
In the final round of the NCAA Div. III Regional, the women cruised to a 3-0 win over NESCAC rival Bowdoin, 25-20, 25-14, 25-16.
The Ephs and the Polar Bears exchanged kills in the beginning of the first set, pushing a tied score to 3-3 until Rasmussen, Egan and Miller dealt three heavy blocks, putting the score at 6-3 and forcing the Bears into time-out. Eph pin hitters continued to push points, and Miller scored a service ace for 18-13. A final back row kill from Jasuta wrapped up the first set, 25-20.
Bowdoin continued to tip away at the net, but Jasuta’s and Miller’s swings were too much at the start of the second set, 4-1. A short service ace from Jasuta followed by an over-pass kill from Egan set the Ephs ahead 18-8. Williams continued its 12-2 run with a kill from junior setter Ryan Farley, and Bowdoin called another time-out at 20-8. A second-touch kill from Farley and killer serves from Schott put the Ephs at game point and the Ephs captured the set with a Bear error, 25-14.
The third set opened with kills from Egan and Jasuta, who also dealt a service ace, to put the score at 5-2. Rasmussen ravaged the open net, and Lane hit the 10-foot line for 10-4, pressuring Bowdoin into time-out. Bowdoin countered, but kills from Jasuta and a service ace from Benell put the score at 17-7. Bowdoin pushed four coming out of time-out, but Egan ended the run with a middle kill, 18-11. Rasmussen broke twenty points with a quick kill to center court, and a cross-court kill from Jasuta set the Ephs at 23-1. Jasuta crushed the net to claim the Regional Championship, 25-16.
“It is an unbelievable feeling to have the work we’ve put in so far this season pay off in a Regional Championship,” Miller said. “We are beyond excited to travel to [Virginia] and show the other teams what we are all about!”
Williams will continue on to the Elite Eight in Newport News, Virg., this Friday to battle Emory for a spot in the Final Four.