Amherst, Mass.-- Facing off against archrival Amherst in a crucial NESCAC match that also would decide the little three title volleyball came up just short, falling to the Lord Jeffs 3-2 (23-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-23, 16-14). The Ephs played extremely well in the first two sets, winning both, although would stumble as Amherst dug deep to defend their home court. The Lord Jeffs would take the next three sets to close out the victory.
First year Raea Rasmussen had perhaps the most impressive night individually for the Ephs, tallying a team leading 16 kills to go along with 5 blocks. Classmate Claire Miller and sophomore Emily Baratta each had 15 kills apiece, while sophomore Emily Doll added in an additional 11.
Defensively junior Haley Eagon formed an effective partnership with Rasmussen at the net, grabbing 6 blocks of her own. In the back court senior libero Aly McKinnon had 26 digs to lead the team. McKinnon has now registered 1264 digs in her career, moving ahead of Riki McDermott '09 for seventh place in program history. First year defensive specialist Holly Harper and Miller tied for second on the team with 16 digs apiece, while classmate Amanda Schott led the team from the setter spot with 54 digs.
The loss does little to resolve a very complicated picture for the upcoming NESCAC championship. Bowdoin has locked up the #1 seed, and Tufts has locked up the #2 seed. Beyond that, however, five teams: Middlebury, Trinity, Connecticut College, Amherst and Williams, have all qualified for the tournament but could each earn anywhere from the #3 seed to the #7 seed. In the battle for the #8 seed Colby holds the inside track, and can lock up a tournament spot with a win over Wesleyan. If Wesleyan defeats Colby then they will have to wait for the tie breaker procedure to be completed before learning if they make the tournament or not.
All this uncertainty will make for a very exciting final day of conference action on Saturday. Williams plays Middlebury tomorrow at 11 am as both teams seek to lock up a higher seed in the NESCAC tournament then their opponent.