Williamstown, Mass.-- Facing off against New York regional foe Vassar College in their 2012 home opener Volleyball built off of their strong performance at last weekend's Endicott Invitational by posting a solid 3-1 victory (25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18).
The win avenges last season's loss to the Brewers when the Ephs traveled to Poughkeepsie only to drop a 3-0 decision to their hosts. While Vassar's squad was little changed from a year ago, Williams featured a newly tooled lineup that successfully incorporated their returning players while also depending on the impressive play of their first years to bring home the win. With the win the Ephs move to 4-1 on the year heading into the first weekend of conference matches.
In the first set it was the Brewers who got the better of the hosts, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead. A serving run by junior Emily Baratta coupled with steady serve receive passing from the Ephs' back line allowed them to flip the score and take a one point lead at 8-7. Junior Claire Miller then took over and pushed the Williams lead to 14-10 with a serving run of her own. The Ephs never looked back en route to a 25-20 set victory.
In the second set Vassar again took early leads at 7-3 and 10-5 as the Williams serve receive buckled a little under the serving of their opponents. Down 16-8 the Ephs began to claw their way back into the match behind the strong serving of Miller, who closed the gap to just three points down 13-16. Battling hard Williams would find themselves down just two points 20-22 as the set neared its final stages, although the Ephs were unable to catapult themselves past their opponents, conceding the set 20-25.
With the set score even at 1 apiece it was Williams' turn to take the early lead at 4-2. First year Ryan Farley led an impressive run to push the lead to 9-5, a cushion the Ephs would hold late into the set to take the 25-20 victory and with it a commanding 2-1 set lead. Vassar began to give way under the pressure of Williams' serving in the fourth set, allowing sophomore libero Emily O'Day to serve six straight points in opening up a 9-1 advantage. Despite the Ephs possessing as much as an eight point lead late in the set at 18-10 Vassar, proving they still had some fight left, refused to give up, steadily working themselves back into a more manageable position. Williams struggled to finish off the pesky Brewers, who closed to within three points down 18-21 before a serving error and a back to back block and kill combination by first year Catherine Egan all but sealed the deal for the Ephs. Williams would take the deciding set 25-18.
In a match that saw many standout performances, Egan's rose above the rest as she registered 11 kills in only 16 attempts with no errors, good for a stellar attack average of .688. She also chipped in 4 blocks on the defensive side of the net, tied for second on the team with senior co-captain Haley Eagon. Junior co-captain Emily Doll was also a force at the net, tallying a team leading 5 blocks to go along with 9 kills. In the defensive backcourt Doll would also make her mark, registering a team leading 15 digs while libero Emily O'Day was second on the team with 12. Doll would also lead the team in aces with 4, while Egan was second on the team with 3. First year setter Ryan Farley once again ably ran the Williams offense, giving out 37 assists on the evening while also helping her team out defensively with 8 digs.
All in all the Ephs put in a strong performance that will hopefully help them build momentum going into their first conference matches this weekend. Williams will play away at Connecticut College on Friday evening before traveling to Wesleyan University the following day for another away match.