Williamstown, MA— Williams College's second game day of the season took the form of an exciting home game Wednesday evening when the Ephs battled Vassar College. The match concluded with a 3-1 Eph victory, with the set scores being 25-13, 25-12, 25-27, and 25-21.
The Ephs entered the match undefeated thus far in their season after sweeping both Wellesley College and Coast Guard Academy last weekend. The Brewers exited Chandler Gymnasium with a 2-5 record. The Ephs defeated Vassar College in their two previous meetings, both of which also went to four sets. Williams' all-time matchup record with Vassar College is 18-5 after today's match.
The first set began with the Ephs in high spirits, leading 6-2 as fans cheered the home team. When the Brewers appeared to be closing the gap, a setter dump by junior Ryan Farley led to a break, forcing Vassar to call the first time out at 11-5, Williams. Vassar fought back with clever hits by sophomore Gabby Miller, but the Ephs continued to lead. A second Brewer time-out was called at 20-10. Williams pushed their lead further, but Clara Cardillo fought back with a well-placed tip. However, middle attacks and a key block by setter Farley and junior Catherine Egan proved more than the Brewers could bear, and a kill by Egan concluded the set, 25-13.
Multiple service aces by sophomore pin-hitter Tori Jasuta got the Ephs off to a quick start in the second set, setting the score to 8-3 by the end of her serving streak. A battle of the middles ensued in the early half of the set, with hard hits by Eph Katherine Lane and a quick strike by Brewer Cardillo pounding the gym floor. The Ephs called the first time out of the set after a kill by Eph junior Katherine Lane set the score at 13-7. Williams continued to slam the ball, and a line shot by Jasuta followed by multiple service aces by senior libero Amanda Schott landed the Ephs at a comfortable 19-7. Williams continued to hold control over the ball despite Brewer retaliation efforts, ending the second set, 25-12, Williams.
The third set found the Ephs in another early lead thanks to Schott's serving streak and a kill by sophomore Anna Spellman, setting the score at 6-2. Point for point play and a solid front row allowed Vassar to tie up the game, 10-10. After the Brewers used powerful hits to win a couple critical rallies, gaining them the lead 12-10 over Williams, the Ephs were forced to call the first time-out. Vassar continued to rip away, and blocks by Brewers Cardillo and setter Sophia Tiajoloff, along with kills by Taylor Mosley pushed the score to 17-13, Vassar. The Eph's front line fought back, and after Jasuta re-entered the court, the team managed to tie up the score yet again at a thrilling 25-25. However, consecutive errors by Williams concluded the third set at 27-25, Vassar.
Both teams cranked up their defensive power at the start of the fourth set. Attacks and errors between both teams made the game point-by-point, with the Ephs trailing slightly behind before tying up the score 11-11. The Ephs achieved a breakpoint when senior middle Raea Rasmussen scored two consecutive kills, earning Williams the lead 16-13. In order to turn the tide, Vassar called their first time-out of the set, but the attempt proved to have little effect as Williams kept up their defensive wall. Two big blocks by senior captain Claire Miller, Rasmussen, and Egan forced Vassar to call their second time-out when the score reached 21-15. Without losing pace, both teams' front rows fought on until a major center kill by Lane pushed the Eph's lead, 23-17. Vassar pushed a few more points, but a Brewer service error during game point ultimately led to an Eph victory, with the final set score at 25-21.
The Ephs' offense has had an impressive early season, and this four-set match was again led by notable hitting percentages from Katherine Lane and Raea Rasmussen, .462 and .480, respectively. Lane also scored a total of 18 points total during the match, the most out of any player by a large margin.
Williams also led the match in defensive power, gathering a total of 64 digs. However, Vassar libero Chloe Hallum led the way in individual digs, totaling 18 during the match.
"It was great to have our first home win," remarked Williams' Coach Christi Kelsey. "It was a solid game, and we saw things we can improve on. We will get back in the gym tomorrow and work on those things."
The Ephs have a big weekend coming up, with four matches to take place this Friday and Saturday during the UMass Boston Invitational.
This Friday, Williams will play Salisbury as well as the UMass Boston Beacons, who downed the Ephs in the sweet-sixteen round of the NCAA tournament during the 2013 season. Matches will begin at 6pm and 8pm, respectively.