Middletown, CT—Williams' volleyball (7-1, 1-0 NESCAC) played their opening NESCAC match this evening, downing Wesleyan University (6-2, 0-1 NESCAC) in three sets, 25-15, 25-20, and 25-17.
The Cardinals were the first NESCAC team Williams played this year, and fell to the Ephs in three sets last season as well.
After trailing by a few points in the first minutes of the opening set, Williams tied the score 5-5 thanks to kills by Raea Rasmussen, Claire Miller, and a service ace by Tori Jasuta. Williams then quickly pushed their lead with help from Cardinal errors. Wesleyan called the first time-out when the score reached 13-8, but the Ephs refused to let up afterwards. A kill by Rasmussen pushed the score to 20-12, and an ensuing service ace by Jasuta forced Wesleyan to call their second time-out. Wesleyan managed to score three more points before Catherine Egan scored consecutive kills, and the match ended with a middle attack from Katherine Lane, 25-15, Williams.
The Ephs took the early lead this time in the second set. The score alternated between a tie and an Eph lead until the score reached 10-10. Smart net play by Cardinal Naja Lewis gave Wesleyan a momentary lead before a couple errors and a huge kill by Rasmussen gave the Ephs the lead, 13-11. Rachel Savage put up a major defensive fight against the Eph offense, but when Egan terminated a long rally, Wesleyan was forced to call a time-out at 15-11, Williams. The Cardinals fought on thanks to kills by Sarah Swenson, and a service ace by Natalie Wildenradt tied the score at 17-17. A big block by Rasmussen and Lane put the Ephs at a two-point lead, 20-18. Junior setter Ryan Farley took control of the court by pushing the ball to a deep corner, followed by two of her service aces, pushing the score to 23-18, when Wesleyan called their second time-out. Another ace by Farley moved Williams to set point, and a final kill by Rasmussen won the Ephs the second set, 25-20.
The Cardinals took the lead in the beginning of the third set, pushing their score to 4-1. Both teams exchanged errors and kills before Jasuta crushed the back corner, shrinking the point deficit to one. Katherine Lane again sent the ball to the back corner, tying the score for the first time at 8-8. Another kill by Lane and one by Rasmussen granted the Ephs the lead at 10-9, and Wesleyan called their first time-out. Subsequent points by Jasuta and three consecutive kills by Egan gave the Ephs an even greater lead at 16-10. Serves like bullets from Wildenradt attempted to bring the Cardinals back, but Jasuta thwarted any effort. Wesleyan called their second time-out when the score reached 19-14, Williams. Cardinal setter Claire Larson mimicked Farley's signature setter dump, but their five-point deficit remained. Farley charged on to match point with three service aces, and Rasmussen finished the match with a winning kill, 25-17.
Williams College lead the way tonight with 11 service aces, 43 digs, and a .298 hitting percentage. The final set was by far the most successful, with 17 kills and an impressive .519 hitting percentage.
In terms on individual successes, Wesleyan libero Rachel Savage managed the most digs with 12 total. Eph Raea Rasmussen scored the highest number of kills between both teams at 11 and a .450 percentage, followed closely by her fellow middle Catherine Egan who scored 10 with a .400 percentage. Ryan Farley played no small game either, holding a .556 attack percentage, 31 assists, and 6 service aces.
"It was great to get our first NESCAC win of the 2014 season," commented Coach Christi Kelsey, "but we know that every night is going to be a battle."
Williams will play their second NESCAC match tomorrow in Hartford, Connecticut against Trinity College at 12pm, followed by a match against Endicott University at 2pm.