Lewiston, ME—Williams volleyball (16-1, 6-0 NESCAC) faced off against Bates College (8-9, 0-5 NESCAC) in their 6th conference match, overcoming the Bobcats in three sets, 25-20, 28-26, and 25-16.
Williams battled Bates this evening, and began the first set leisurely, tying up the score at 6-6. The Ephs soon charged ahead, grabbing kills and pushing their lead to 15-8. A service ace by Tori Jasuta broke 20 points for the Ephs and pressured Bates into calling a time-out. The Bobcats began inching up behind the Ephs' lead, and a serving streak from Augy Silver allowed for a six-point run to shorten the point deficit, 20-18, Williams. It was a battle at the net, and the Ephs continued to push their lead, 23-19 when Bates called for another breather. Coming out of time-out, Bobcat Chandler McGrath swung away in hopes of catching up, but two consecutive kills by Eph Katherine Lane and setter Ryan Farley closed the first set, 25-20 for the Ephs.
Bates sought revenge early in the second set, gaining a quick lead 6-2 over Williams before Claire Miller fought back with a kill. The Bobcats continued to lead, 10-5, until the Ephs went on a four-point run, forcing Bates to call a time-out. With the score tied for the first time at 10-10, several lead exchanges were passed around until the score tied again at 18-18. Bates called for another time-out after a service ace by Miller set the Ephs up by two at 20-18, but the score tied again at 21-21 after a few net battles were lost. Bobcat Mary Deneen swung away to give Bates the lead, followed by a service ace, pressuring Williams to call the next time-out, 21-23. A kill by Miller helped the Ephs tie the score again at 23-23, and a point tug-of-war ensued until the score tied for the last time at a nail-biting 26-26. A kill from Jasuta claimed set point for the Ephs, and a final block won Williams the second set, 28-26.
Williams managed to greatly clean up their swings from the end of the second set, and returned to playing their game early in the third. Opening with a big block from Miller and Lane, the Ephs claimed the lead 3-1 and refused to relent. Williams' hitters demonstrated their full attack force, pushing the lead to 9-5 and quickly to 11-5 thanks to a serving run by Miller. After a service ace from Caitie Benell followed by a block by Raea Rasmussen and Lane set the score at 15-8, Bates called a time-out in attempt to regroup. After a second time-out from Bates proved to be futile, Williams charged ahead 23-13. A stuff block from the front row set the Ephs at game point, and the final ball was put away to win Williams the match, 25-16.
Williams' attack forces were well spread this evening, with sophomore powerhouse Tori Jasuta and junior setter Ryan Farley earning 8 kills, followed by Claire Miller and Catherine Egan with 7 kills each. Jasuta and Miller also led the Eph defense, with 8 digs each, followed closely by senior Emily O'Day who managed 7 digs. Raea Rasmussen went on a rampage today, stuffing a match high of 5 blocks total.
Chandler McGrath and Mary Deneed led the Bobcat's front row, gathering 8 and 7 kills, respectively. Bates' defender Nicole Cueli gathered a match high of 16 digs for the Bobcats, assisted by Laryssa Schepel who dug 9 balls.
Happy with the solid match against Bates this evening, Williams' Coach Christi Kelsey commented, "We still have a lot of room to grow and improve, and tomorrow gives us another opportunity to do so against two strong teams."
This NESCAC match was just the start of a busy weekend for the Ephs, who will go on to play Clarkson and Springfield tomorrow afternoon at the Tom Hay Invitational. The Ephs will face two very competitive teams, as Clarkson is currently ranked 11th in the AVCA national poll, and Springfield is 13-4 and has a six-match win streak.
Tomorrow's matches will take place in Springfield, MA, at the Tom Hay Invitational. The Ephs will battle Clarkson and Springfield at 12:30 and 3pm, respectively.