Volleyball wins out over Trinity

Rachel Neugart

On Friday, volleyball (8–3, 1–0 in the NESCAC) defeated Trinity (4–4, 0–1 in the NESCAC) in three sets and fell to Roger Williams the next day in a tough five-set match.

In the first set against the Bantams, the Ephs jumped out to an early 7-1 lead behind the serving of Lydia Kurtz ’22. This run took advantage of four Trinity errors and kills from Kurtz, Olivia Hindy ’22 and Erin Denham ’20. After this run, Williams maintained control for the rest of the set. Strong serves from Alison Frison ’21 and Alex Newton ’20 allowed for large Eph runs and helped propel the women to the 25-11 win. Trinity senior Wyllie Boughton had two kills. 

The second set was filled with powerful swings, dominating blocks and incredible hustle. Play began with the Ephs building an 8-3 lead behind the serving of Kurtz. The Bantams chipped away at the Ephs lead with small rallies, capitalizing on errors and kills from Trinity hitters Wyllie Boughton, Ally Conde and Hareena Johnson. A service ace from Johnson, a kill from Conde and a kill from Jessica Yang gave Trinity the 22-21 lead. Eph outside hitter Lauren Barry ’21 had a clutch tip to tie the set at 23-23. From there, the women recovered quickly. A Bantam error and a double block from Hindy and Kiley Wallace ’23 gave the Ephs the 26-24 victory.

For the match victory, the Ephs were looking to ride the momentum from the second set through the third and were able to do just that. Serves from Daiana Takashima ’20 and her two aces contributed to an early 9-1 lead. Strong serving from Frison, along with kills from Kurtz, and Barry helped the Ephs go on a six-point run to further extend the lead to 18-3. Trinity began to threaten by responding with small rallies. Bantam libero Paola Matos had two aces to contribute to this along with kills from Molly Bernstein, Colette Scheffers and Wyllie Boughton. This narrowed the Eph lead to 21-12, but the women did not falter and utilized a kill from Kurtz to reset their mindset. A sneaky dump by Newton pushed the Ephs lead to 23-14, and the women then coasted to the 25-15 victory. The Ephs’ leaders were Kurtz with 11 kills, Newton with 20 assists and Takashima with 20 digs.

“We were really appreciative of the crowd and the fact that we had so much support tonight for the first home match. That really meant a lot to the team and to us coaches. We got the first home jitters out, and we put together a solid, consistent night. It was great to get a first NESCAC win against a solid Trinity team with a lot of great athletes,” head coach Christi Kelsey said.

On Saturday, the women fell to Roger Williams (3–7) in a hard fought five-set match. In the deciding fifth set, the Ephs started with a 5-1 lead from a Hawks error, a service ace and kill from Kurtz and a kill from Denham. However, Roger Williams closed this gap to 5-4 after consecutive kills from Hawks hitter Lara Loiacono. They quickly seized a 9-7 lead with kills and blocks from Maddie Neuberger and Katherine Pickard to then ultimately take the match at 15-11. Leaders for the Ephs included Denham with 14 kills, Newton with 19 assists and Takashima with 18 digs.

Kelsey commented, “We made a couple small changes after the first set to just re-focus back on trying to control our first ball contacts and being more aggressive with our serves. I really like how our team responded and played well for the next two and a half sets. We made some timely errors, and Roger Williams responded with a few plays. We started out the fifth set really well, and I’m proud of our team for responding from the fourth set as we did not do that as well a week ago. We just couldn’t hang onto the momentum, so it was a tough one to lose in five today.”

The women are back in action on Friday when they travel to Hamilton for a conference match at 8 p.m.