Williamstown, Mass.-- Coming off an emotionally draining, if fulfilling win over Tufts the previous evening, Volleyball fell to nationally ranked Bowdoin 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-22) in a match that was much closer then the score would indicate. With the win Williams drops to 14-11 (7-3 in NESCAC) while the Polar Bears finish up a stellar season at 25-3 (8-2 in NESCAC). Pending the official announcement of the NESCAC championship field later next week Bowdoin is projected as the #3 overall seed whereas Williams is projected as the #5 seed.
In the first set the Ephs jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. A monstrous block by first year middle hitter Catherine Egan made it 4-2, and a kill by junior co-captain Emily Doll out of the back row increased the lead to three points up 6-3. Bowdoin, however, showed why they are considered one of the top teams in New England in battling back to tie the score at 6-6. A kill by Egan made it 7-6, but Bowdoin would tie the score en route to taking an 11-7 lead of their own. Williams called a time out, which proved effective as sophomore Claire Miller was able to slam home a kill coming out of the break to make it 8-11. The Polar Bears would respond, however, using a 5-1 run to increase their lead to 16-9. A Doll block made it 11-17 for the Ephs, although Bowdoin rode a wave of momentum in pushing the lead out to 10 points up 22-12. Williams tried to find a way back into the set but was unsuccessful, falling 25-13.
The Ephs came out swinging in the second set. A Miller ace put Williams up 3-0 in the early goings, although once again Bowdoin tied things at 4-4. A kill by first year middle hitter Katherine Lane punctuated another run by the Ephs as they took a 7-4 lead. The Polar Bears would attempt a counterpunch, although a crafty dump by first year setter Ryan Farley left them coming up empty down 11-8. Bowdoin would use a 3-0 run, though, to tie the score at 11-11, prompting a Williams time out. A kill by Egan made it 12-11, although once again Bowdoin responded, breaking the set wide open with a 7-0 run to make it 18-12. Williams called their second time out but were unable to shift the momentum back in their favor. The Polar Bears went up seven points at 22-15 and although a late ace by sophomore Callie Kiernan made it 17-24 Williams, the Ephs were unable to get much closer, losing 25-17.
Bowdoin took the momentum from their previous set into what would prove the deciding third game, taking a 4-0 lead right out of the gate. A kill by sophomore outside hitter Raea Rasmussen was instrumental in starting a Williams rally, making it 2-4. A kill by Egan closed the gap to one point down 4-3 before a 4-0 run by the Bears necessitated a Williams time out. Coming out of the time out the Ephs fared no better, as Bowdoin increased their lead to 13-6. A kill by Farley provided some hope down 13-7, and Egan once again brought Williams closer with a block to 11-14. Bowdoin, sensing an impeding recovery, put their foot on the gas, using a 6-1 run to take an opportunistic 20-12 lead before the Ephs took a time out. Back to back kills by Lane brought Williams back within striking distance down 23-18, prompting a Bowdoin time out. A kill by Farley brought things even closer down 23-20, and a kill by Lane narrowed the gap to two points, the closest margin since 5-3, with the Ephs down 24-22. Williams would just run out of room to finish the comeback, however, succumbing 25-22.
While obviously not the desired result, the Ephs still turned in several strong individual performances. Katherine Lane had an extremely impressive outing coming off the bench, slamming home a team leading nine kills in only two sets of play. Even more stunning was Lane's efficiency, committing no errors in thirteen attempts for a stellar hitting percentage of .692. Classmate Catherine Egan had a similarly strong performance, hitting .385 with six kills in 13 attempts (1 error). Defensively for Williams sophomore libero Emily O'Day had 8 digs to lead the team, while Ryan Farley was second on the team with 7. Farley also had a fairly successful outing in her primary role as setter, tallying 25 assists.
With the regular season now over the Ephs have an opportunity to refocus heading into next weekend's NESCAC championship. As of now Williams is projected into a mouth-watering first round matchup versus archrival Amherst, a match the Ephs desperately want back after falling to the Jeffs 3-1 on October 13.