Northampton, Mass.-- Entering the second day of the Hall of Fame Tournament, jointly hosted by Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges, volleyball looked to continue their drive towards the NESCAC tournament against NEWMAC cross-conference rival Wellesley, and NESCAC foe Tufts. After battling hard in a tough 3-2 (13-25, 25-17, 14-25, 25-13, 15-8) loss to Wellesley, Williams would fall to Tufts in straight sets 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 27-25).
Against Wellesley the Ephs jumped out to a quick first set victory 25-13, with consistent serve receive passing allowing their offense to swing freely against the Wellesley back line. First year Claire Miller would lead the team with 11 kills, ably assisted by sophomores Emily Baratta and Emily Doll, who had 8 kills apiece. In the second set Wellesley's blocking at the net became more of a factor, enabling the Blue to grab a 25-17 victory. As Williams adjusted their game strategy accordingly they were able to take a 2-1 set lead by winning the third set 25-14. Defensively senior libero Aly McKinnon and first year defensive specialist Holly Harper helped keep the Ephs in long rallies, tallying 10 digs each. Miller added a further 6 digs.
Williams attempted to match block for block in the final two sets, with Miller standing firm at the net with 4 blocks. Junior Haley Eagon had 3 blocks of her own, while first year Raea Rasmussen added in an additional 2. The Eph offense would sputter over the final two sets, however, as Wellesley closed out the match 25-13 and 15-8.
Against Tufts later in the day Williams faced a familiar foe, having previously matched up against the Jumbos in conference play a month earlier. Miller would once again lead the team offensively with 11 kills in 29 attempts, good for a .310 hitting percentage (2 errors). First year Callie Kiernan had perhaps the best hitting performance of the weekend by slamming home 8 kills in 12 attempts with only 1 error, a hitting percentage of .583. Despite some glimpses of greatness, however, the Ephs were unable to capitalize and put together a strong set from start to finish. With 45 team digs (8 apiece by Harper, McKinnon and Miller plus an additional 7 by Rasmussen), Williams kept themselves in many rallies but struggled to close out sets, giving up long runs to their opponents that proved to be the difference in the match. 3 blocks apiece by Doll and Eagon were also not enough to stem the tide as Tufts rolled to the three set victory.
For her strong individual all around performance over the course of the entire weekend first year Raea Rasmussen was named to the all tournament team. In her rookie campaign Rasmussen has already established herself as a force to be reckoned while hitting and blocking from the right side hitter spot. She ranks first on the team in blocks per set, and third on the team in kills per set. She is currently second on the team in hitting percentage.
The Ephs will next look forward to what will inevitably be an intense showdown against archrival Amherst for the Little Three Championship. The match will be played at Amherst on Friday October 28 at 6:00 pm. The weekend will also be the final conference weekend of the season as Williams also takes on reigning conference champion Middlebury. The Ephs have already qualified for the NESCAC tournament, but depending on the weekend's performances will be seeded anywhere from 3rd-7th in the 8 team field.