Volleyball (18-11, 8-2 NESCAC) ended its season last weekend, tragically falling to Ithaca in the opening round of the NCAA Div. III Tournament.
The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow ’19, Roxi Corbeil ’19, Shelby Fisher ’18, Tori Jasuta ’17, tri-captain Catherine Egan ’16, tri-captain Ryan Farley ’16 and libero Caitie Benell ’17. The first set began with Ithaca taking the lead after multiple kills set the score at 3-1. Down by one at 4-3, Egan got a kill in the middle. Still trailing at 7-6, Ostrow had a strong kill from the outside. Farley then tied the score 7-7.
The first timeout was called at 10-7 with the Ephs down by three. The Ephs struggled with defense and tip coverage early in the match. At 11-9, Benell had the first service ace of the night. Farley had another service ace still trailing at 13-11. Both teams traded kills but the Ephs maintained the lead. At 19-15, Farley picked up another kill.
Williams called its second timeout hoping to cut down the deficit. Jasuta continued to be a force at the net and earned a kill at the left pin at 22-16. Ithaca called its first timeout as the women cut its seven-point lead to four at 22-18. Ithaca took the set 25-21 after multiple kills.
The second set began with Ithaca keeping control of the pace. The Ephs conceded the first five points of the set to the Bombers. Williams got its first point at 6-1 after a kill by Corbeil. Williams tried to narrow the deficit after a kill by Farley at 9-5. Down 14-7, Jasuta had a cross-court kill from the outside. At 16-8, Williams called its first timeout of the set.
Egan got back-to-back aces down 16-11. Morgan Richman ’19 entered to serve at 17-12. Ostrow got a kill to cut Ithaca’s lead in half and continue to push. Fisher and Ostrow teamed up for a block at 17-14, forcing Ithaca to call a timeout. Back on the court, Fisher earned a kill to narrow the difference to three.
Ithaca went on a big run to widen the difference after multiple kills. At 23-16, Williams called its second timeout of the set. Ithaca continued to attack strongly at the net and won the second set 25-17.
The third set began with the Ephs up 1-0 after a powerful double block by Corbeil and Fisher. Williams showed a lot of energy as Ostrow got back-to-back kills from the outside to bring its lead to 3-0. Ithaca took the lead after going on a run at 4-3 after an attack error by the women. Ithaca pushed back and went on a five-point run. Williams took a timeout down 10-5. At 10-7, Weinland got a kill from the outside. At 14-9 after a run by Ithaca, Egan got an ace.
Unfortunately, Ithaca continued to push the pace. Down 16-10, Weinland got a kill from the outside for the Ephs. Richman followed with a kill. Down 18-12, Richman earned another kill from the right side. Ostrow got a kill from the outside at 22-14. At 22-17, Ostrow got a service ace. Ithaca called a timeout up by five at 22-17. Jasuta got a kill from the outside at 23-20. Ithaca won the third set 25-20 after an attack error by Williams led to a match point kill, knocking the women out of the tournament and ending their season.
On the day, Ostrow and Jasuta led in total kills with each woman totaling eight over the course of the game against Ithaca. The two Ephs also offered three spikes to the team’s overall effort in the match, as did the lion’s share of the women wearing the purple and gold.
For Ithaca, the powerhouse that is Joelle Goldstein led her team to its 3-0 victory over the Ephs with an astounding 15 kills, a commanding figure that was only remotely reached by the work of her teammate Katie Evans. Each of the Bombers had three spikes in the game.
The Ephs’ tough showing in post-season tournament play is an unfortunate break from how the women traditionally perform once they head out of the regular season. In spite of getting their hopes for an NCAA Div. III title this year dashed early, the Ephs have maintained stronger records outside of the regular season historically. The women rose to victory in NESCAC tournament play in both 2013 and 2014 after earning seven other NESCAC titles since the beginning of this century. The women’s most recent season of trouble was three years ago when the women outright failed to get into the NCAA Div. III Tournament.
“I could not be more proud of our 2015 team,” Head Coach Christi Kelsey said. “Our volleyball family endured a lot throughout the season and for every challenge we faced both on and off the court, I was truly impressed with how this group just kept getting closer and closer as a team and pushed each other to keep improving and getting better each and every single day from start to finish.”
The Ephs say farewell to Egan, Farley and Lane, who will all graduate from the College this Spring.
“It’s tough to end on a loss for the season, but it was an incredible journey,” Kelsey said. “I want to say a special thank you to our seniors, Catherine Egan, Katherine Lane and Ryan Farley who led the way this year with their enthusiasm, hard work and competitive spirit. Overall they have had an amazing four years and certainly have left their mark on our program. There are so many highlights of this season and an even brighter future with the folks who we will have returning next year.”