Williamstown, MA – This weekend, the Ephs hosted the New England Challenge Tournament which concluded on Saturday with a double-header. Last night, the Ephs (9-10, 4-5 in NESCAC) had a thrilling win in Lasell against Springfield College (14-9, 4-4 in Conference). Friday night was an exciting start to the tournament for the other teams as well. In Chandler, Middlebury (15-5, 5-3 in NESCAC) faced off against Babson and won in a competitive four sets with the set scores 25-20, 25-16, 24-26, and 26-24. Additionally, Tufts (16-5, 8-0 in NESCAC) played MIT and won in four sets with the set scores 25-16, 22-25, 25-9, and 25-20.
On Saturday, the Ephs finished up the tournament with matches against MIT and Babson. First, the Ephs play MIT (22-2, 8-0 in Conference) at 11:00AM in a split-court Chandler Gymnasium. At 3:30PM, the Ephs shifted to their second match against Babson (17-5, 6-2 in in Conference) on the second court in Chandler.
The Ephs began their first set against MIT with energy after their action-packed Friday night win. The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow, Alex Newton, Natalie Albright, Erin Denham, Tess Richman, Mia Weinland, and libero Daiana Takashima. Newton started the match off with strong jump serves. Denham had an impressive attack from outside to maintain the lead. Tied 2-2, Albright had a quick middle kill. MIT took the edge at 4-3 after a passing error by the Ephs. Ostrow had a deep kill to line from the outside to switch things up. MIT took the edge at 7-6 with a fast outside kill. MIT maintained their lead at 11-8 after a block on the Ephs outside hitter. The Ephs took a timeout down by four to talk things over.
Back from the timeout, MIT kept control of the tempo with a kill from the right side. Down by seven at 17-10, the Ephs fought back with a critical kill by Ostrow from the outside. Allison Frison entered for the Ephs and had a controlled dig on serve receive. The Ephs called another timeout down at 20-13. Back from the timeout, the Ephs showed grit with a long rally that ended with a kill by Ostrow from the outside. Newton provided a fast set to Tess Richman for a fast middle attack. The Ephs narrowed their deficit with strong float serves from Ostrow. MIT maintained the lead and had short shots to the middle to advance to match point. MIT won the first set 25-18.
The Ephs started off the second set with high energy and a kill by Ostrow from the outside. Roxi Corbeil was in at opposite for the Ephs and powered through the block to earn a kill at 2-1. Frison had a big dig to keep the ball in play after multiple MIT attacks. MIT took the lead at 7-5, after a block on the Ephs middle hitter. Denham and Tess Richman added attacks from the outside and middle respectively. Denham broke through the MIT block to tie at 7-7. MIT had the lead at 13-9 after an ace. The Ephs called a timeout down by five at 14-9.
Back on the court, the Ephs were hoping to up their energy. After a long rally, the Ephs took the point after an attack error by MIT. Ostrow had a strong kill to line to narrow their deficit at 17-15. MIT then called a timeout to talk things over. Back on the court, MIT pushed ahead. Newton earned a kill by converting a tight pass into an attack. Weinland attacked from the middle and Denham added multiple attacks from the outside. Ultimately, Denham took home the point with a cross-court kill from the outside. Frison entered to serve for the Ephs down 23-19. MIT won the second set with an outside kill at 25-19.
The third set started with a cohesive block from Denham and Weinland. Morgan Richman had a strong left-handed attack from the outside before switching to right side. MIT took the lead 4-1 after a short tip. Frison entered to serve for the Ephs. Ostrow had a skilled tip from the outside to narrow the deficit to two. Alicia Blanco entered to serve for the Ephs down by two at 5-3. Frison contributed strong digs for the Ephs but MIT responded with a quick outside kill. Down 8-7, Newton converted a pass into a kill. The Ephs showed high energy trailing at 10-7. Weinland ad Newton had a strong block on the outside hitter. Denham powered through the block to tie at 10-10. Denham hit a cross-court attack and ultimately got a kill with another attack to line. MIT called a timeout with the Ephs leading at 12-11.
With the ball back in play, the Ephs were hoping to push the match into additional sets. MIT responded and took the lead up 14-12 after an outside kill. Blanco entered to serve for the Ephs trailing by one. Morgan Richman earned a kill from the right side with a cross-court shot. MIT took control of the lead after an attack from the right side. The Ephs called a timeout down by six at 22-16. Back on the court, the Ephs continued to trail. MIT won the third and final set 25-18 with the set scores 25-18, 25-19, and 25-18.
The afternoon match between the Ephs and Babson (17-6, 6-2 in Conference) began with enthusiasm. The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow, Alex Newton, Natalie Albright, Erin Denham, Tess Richman, Mia Weinland, and libero Daiana Takashima.
The Ephs won the first point with a quick middle kill from Albright. Weinland followed up with a kill from the right side. Allison Frison entered for the Ephs up 3-1. Babson had a quick tip to trail at 3-2. Newton had a fast tip to Babson but Babson responded with an attack. Ultimately, Weinland hit through the block at right side to give the Ephs the edge. Ostrow had a massive kill at outside to maintain the lead at 5-3. Newton converted an overpass into an attack and Babson responded, but Ostrow earned the edge with a kill from the outside. Morgan Richman got a kill from right back to add to the lead. Babson got an ace trailing by one at 6-5. At 8-6, Takashima provided a strong jump serve. Albright and Denham teamed up for a cohesive block on the Babson right side hitter to get the point. Babson responded with a fast outside kill to line. Newton got a tip to line up 11-10. Weinland powered through the Babson block to maintain the lead. Frison entered to serve for the Ephs and provided a critical jump serve. Ostrow showed high energy with a kill from the outside. The Ephs lead widened up 15-11. Babson called a timeout to talk things over down 16-11.
Back on the court, the Ephs were hoping to maintain their lead. Babson edged back in down by two at 16-14 after an outside kill. Morgan Richman entered to serve for the Ephs up 17-14. Ostrow had a precise cross-court kill to add to the lead. Newton converted a pass into a kill up 20-14. Newton provided a critical set to Tess Richman for a fast middle kill. Babson called a timeout down by eight at 22-14. Back on the court, a long rally lead to a point for Babson. The Ephs won the first set with a kill by Denham from the outside at 25-17.
The second set started off with the Ephs showing consistency and communication. Weinland began with a kill from the outside. Frison entered to serve for the Ephs. Up 4-2, Weinland followed up with another kill. At 7-4, Takashima had a strong jump serve to maintain the lead. Denham earned kill with the Ephs margin growing at 10-4. Up 12-5, Newton showed off a low jump serve to maintain the edge. Frison entered for the Ephs at 13-6. Ostrow had a cross-court shot but Babson took home the point. Babson called a timeout trailing at 17-9. With the ball back in play, Babson edged back in at 18-10. Ostrow had a swift kill from outside. The Ephs maintained a steady lead to match point. The Ephs won the second set 25-12.
The third set began with a point for Babson and a block on the Ephs outside hitter. Tied 2-2, Frison entered with a strong serve. Ostrow earned an outside kill to give the Ephs the edge. Frison followed-up with an ace to maintain the lead. Tess Richman had a fast middle kill up 6-4. Tess Richman followed up with another middle kill. Up 10-7, Takashima showed strong serve receive as Denham attacked from the outside. Denham got another outside kill with the Ephs up 15-8. Ostrow hit a strong attack to line. Babson called a timeout down 16-9.
Back on the court, the Ephs were hoping to push through the third set to win the match. Tess Richman had excellent ball placement as she hammered down a short kill from the middle. The Ephs stayed consistent up 20-12. Denham earned a cross-court kill to line up by ten at 23-13. The Ephs took home the third set 25-14 with a kill from Weinland. The Ephs won in three sets against Babson with the set scores 25-17, 25-12, and 25-14.
Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey remarked on this weekends tournament. Coach Kelsey explained, "This weekend was a tremendous showing by our team and for the NESCAC overall as a conference. To start off our weekend on Friday with an awesome win over a very talented Springfield team was incredible and to do it in Lasell gym in front of an amazing crowd of family, friends, and our Williams student fans was a rewarding experience. Our team probably played some of the best volleyball yet during that particular match!"
She added, "On Saturday, we got off to a really slow start against MIT. We have to give MIT a lot of credit as they bounced back really well from their loss the night before to Tufts. They played more consistently from start to finish then we did. We put together some good points but not enough to challenge all the way through an entire set."
Coach Kelsey concluded, "Then wrapping up against Babson, our crew came out from the very beginning and played with a lot of poise, energy and confidence. We executed on both sides of the ball really well and I am incredibly proud that our team stepped up to finish the weekend in a great way."