Clinton, NY -- Williams volleyballl looked to build on their performance from the previous evening against Wesleyan as they took on NESCAC foes Trinity and Hamilton on Saturday. After grinding out an exhausting 5-set victory against the Bantams who were undefeated in NESCAC play, the Ephs took down the host Continentals in a quick 3-set affair.
Facing off against Trinity, ranked #8 in New England, the Ephs dropped a close first set 21-25. Gaining confidence, the Bantams appeared ready to close the door on their opponents and take a nearly insurmountable 2-0 lead in the second set before Williams rallied and battled for perhaps their toughest set victory of the season 28-26. The Ephs were led by senior libero Aly McKinnon, who set the program record for digs in the match with 38, topping the mark previously held by Chelsea Kubal '10 (36 digs vs. Amherst 11/4/2007). McKinnon has tallied 1142 digs in her career so far, the eighth highest total in program history, and only 112 digs behind Riki McDermott '09 for seventh place.
First year outside hitter Claire Miller had 30 digs of her own, the seventh highest total in program history. As a team the Ephs posted the third highest dig total in program history with 127 digs, only 11 digs shy of their all time record of 138 (vs. Vassar 9/21/07). Williams refused to let the ball hit the floor in the back row, and showed strong blocking at the net with junior Haley Eagon and first year Raea Rasmussen each grabbing 7 blocks.
In the third set, however, Trinity rebounded to take a 25-20 victory, taking a 2-1 lead over the Ephs. Refusing to give up, Williams clawed their way back once again, winning the fourth set 25-19, and then surging ahead in the deciding fifth set 15-12. Offensively Miller led the team with 17 kills versus only 4 errors, giving her a stellar hitting plus/minus of +13. Sophomore outside hitter Emily Baratta had 11 kills, while Eagon and Rasmussen both had 9 kills apiece.
The Ephs turned around to face the host Continentals in the afternoon match. Hamilton, having dropped 5-set matches against both Trinity and Wesleyan, was looking to record its first conference win of the year. Coming down off the emotional high of their victory over Trinity, the Ephs were still sharp in ripping off a 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) win. Miller led the team with 11 kills in 35 attempts (.229, 3 errors) while Baratta was second with 10 kills in 31 attempts (.194, 4 errors). Sophomore Emily Doll added in 9 kills (.350, 2 errors, 20 attempts), Rasmussen had 8 (.350, 1 error, 20 attempts), and Eagon had 7 (.389, 0 errors, 18 attempts). Defensively McKinnon led the yeam once again with 20 digs. Rookie setter Amanda Schott had an additional 13 digs to go with her 34 assists.
Currently ranked sixth in NESCAC with a record of 3-2 (11-5 overall), the Ephs are riding a 6-match win streak and they have already faced three out of the top four NESCAC teams, and will hope to improve their standing following next weekend's conference games.
Next up for the Ephs is a road encounter at SUNY New Paltz on Wednesday, before returnng home for their NESCAC weekend to face Bowdoin (Friday), Bates and Colby on Saturday.
The Bowdoin match at 6:00 PM on Friday will go a long ways in establishing where the young Eph squad stands in the region as the Polar Bears will bring a 12-match win streak into Chandler Gym, sport an overall mark of 13-1, and sit atop the NESCAC standings at 4-0.