Springfield, MA—Williams volleyball (17-2, 6-0 NESCAC) ventured to Springfield this afternoon where they were defeated by Clarkson University (22-3) in five sets and moved on to sweep Springfield (13-5) in three sets.
The Ephs entered the Tom Hay Invitational ready to battle two strong teams and faced Clarkson University in the first match. Off to a slow start, the Ephs trailed behind Clarkson 2-8 after a serving streak by Lauren Hutchinson. Raea Rasmussen fought for the side-out with three kills in the first half of the match, but once the score reached 8-20, it seemed difficult to catch up. Catherine Egan swung for two more kills before Clarkson took the first set, 13-25.
Williams swung with a vengeance in the start of the second set, fighting to keep the score tied until it reached 9-9. Kills from Rasmussen, Egan, and Anna Spellman rocketed the Ephs into the lead, 19-14. Clarkson managed a three-point break, pressuring Williams to call a time-out and allowing them to come back with another kill from Egan. Kills from Katherine Lane, Ryan Farley, and Jasuta got the Ephs to 23-20 before two errors from Clarkson gave the Ephs the second set, 25-21.
The beginning of the third set was another battle for the lead, but Clarkson seemed to hold the upper hand until the Ephs broke away on a four-point run, 11-8. Clarkson managed to catch up, pushing a tied score from 14-14 to 19-19. A five-point run pushed Clarkson's score, 19-23, and though the Ephs fought back, Clarkson snagged the third set with a kill from Katrina Lane, 22-25.
The Ephs started hot in the fourth set, grabbing an early lead 5-0 and quickly pushing it to 12-5 thanks to many kills by Egan, Jasuta, and Rasmussen. A time-out from Clarkson seemed to boost their spirits, and they closed the point deficit to 14-10 before the Ephs broke away again, 19-13. A kill from Jasuta got the Ephs to game point, but Clarkson fought back, gathering three more points before a kill from Spellman won the Ephs the fourth set, 25-22.
The fifth set, a quick game to fifteen, began with another tied score at 2-2. However, Clarkson went on a six-point run on Sierra Rhoades' serve, landing the score at 2-8 before Jasuta grabbed the Ephs a kill. With the exception of a service error, Clarkson pushed ahead to grab the final seven points of the set, wining the match with a final set score of 4-15.
Sophomore Tori Jasuta and junior Catherine Egan broke double digit kills for the Ephs, with 19 and 12, respectively, matched by 4 blocks from senior Raea Rasmussen. Sophomore Caitie Benell manned the Eph defense with 20 digs, followed closely by Jasuta who dug 15 balls.
Clarkson's front line was manned by Aishvina Arasu and Victoria Kirkemo, who collected 16 and 13 kills. The backline was guarded by Evanne Jimenez and Kirkemo, who gathered 23 and 18 digs, respectively.
The Ephs took off early in the first set, tying with Springfield only twice, at 1-1 and 5-5, before widening their lead to a sturdy seven points, 14-7. Thanks to wild swings from Raea Rasmussen and Tori Jasuta, Williams pressured Springfield to call their second time-out when the score reached 18-12. Despite swings from Springfield's Kelsey McGayhey and Rebecca Higgins, the Pride was unable to terminate points against the Eph defense. A kill by Jasuta put setter Ryan Farley on the service line to serve up an ace, putting the Ephs at set point. A final service error from the Pride gave Williams the first set, 25-16.
Williams carried their game-winning plays into the second set, but Springfield was out for revenge and fought evenly with the Ephs. The teams exchanged kills early on, tying the score at 3-3 with Williams maintaining the upper hand until a lead exchanged occurred at 6-7. The Pride managed a two-point lead after a kill by McGayhey, but consecutive kills by Jasuta and Farley re-tied the score at 11's. The Ephs pushed ahead, until a five-point run by Springfield tied the score again at 19's. Jasuta and Rasmussen fired their cannons to push a two-point lead and force the Pride to call a time-out late in the set. An Eph error tied the score for the final time at 23-23, and a kill by Jasuta followed by an attack from Catherine Egan captured the second set, 25-23.
The third set started hot for Williams, who hit the ground running and refused to let Springfield get within two-points of their lead. The Ephs backline allowed Farley to dish out tosses for her attackers, who forced the Pride out of system. Once the score reached 15-10, the Ephs raced ahead, crushing the floor while the Pride seemed to fumble, and landed with a nine-point gap, 22-13. Two Springfield service aces followed by a few Eph errors allowed the Pride to sneak up behind, 23-18, but two consecutive errors from the Pride gave the Ephs the final set, 25-18.
The Ephs earned 45 kills this match, nearly doubling the Pride's 24. Sophomore Tori Jasuta again led the Ephs with math-highs of 13 kills and 11 digs. Katherine Lane gathered an impressive 0.429 hitting percentage with 8 kills as well as 2 blocks.
The Pride was led by hitters Kelsey McGayhey and Lauren Holt, who gathered 6 and 5 kills, respectively. Springfield's defense was spread between Marnae Mawdsley, Meghan Kinee, and Whitney Miller, who all managed 6 digs. Elise Brogan and Kelsey McGayhey also held a match-high of 3 blocks each.
After a long day of play, Coach Christi Kelsey was "really proud of how our team responded and bounced back against Springfield," after the loss to Clarkson. "It says a lot about the maturity of our team right now to move forward and keep playing hard in the moment."
Williams will go on to play their seventh NESCAC match against Tufts in Medford, MA. The match will commence at 8pm this Friday.