Medford, MA—Williams volleyball (24-4) claimed a solid three-set win over Amherst College (21-7) in the NESCAC semi-final match this afternoon, bouncing back from a tough five set match yesterday. The set scores were 25-23, 25-19, and 25-21.
Though the Ephs trailed by three at the start of the first set, setter Ryan Farley earned an ace off of a let serve to tie the score at 7-7. The Lord Jeffs pushed their lead until Tori Jasuta smashed center court to set the score at 12-10 and again at 13-11. A 6-1 run from Amherst increased the point deficit until the score reached 19-12. The Ephs pressed on, taking control of long rallies and swinging away. Though the Lord Jeffs were first to break twenty, heavy hits from Raea Rasmussen and Jasuta pushed a 4-1 run and Amherst called a time-out at 20-16. Smart choices from Eph pin hitters squeezed the deficit to two points, 22-20. The Lord Jeffs attempted to quell the Ephs' advances with a time-out at 23-22, but Jasuta said "no" and delivered a service ace to tie the score at 23. Claire Miller gave the Ephs their first lead of the set at game point, and another service ace from Jasuta won the first set 25-23.
Another slow start saw the Ephs down 5-2 in the start of the second set, but smart ball placement from Farley and Jasuta tied the score at 8-8. The Ephs pushed a three point run to take the lead, 11-8, and Amherst called a time-out. A one-woman block by Katherine Lane followed by a right-side kill from Catherine Egan helped the Ephs produce a five-point lead, 14-9. Two consecutive service aces from Jasuta took the Ephs to 18-14, and they broke twenty with clever net play, forcing Amherst to call time-out at 20-16. A Lord Jeff error put the Ephs at game point, and a smart cross kill from Jasuta claimed the second set, 25-19.
Williams took the early lead in the beginning of the third set, thanks to kills from Rasmussen, Lane, and Miller. Miller drove a hard cross to snatch another kill, and Rasmussen slam-dunked at the net, setting the score at 7-3. The Ephs maintained their lead with the Lord Jeffs close behind at 12-11, but broke away for a four-point advantage. The Ephs played the court, mixing short tips and deep corner placement to climb ahead, 20-16. Amherst called a time-out when the Ephs were four-points from the championship match, and the Lord Jeffs fought back with a three-point run, forcing Williams to call their own time-out at 21-19. Jasuta dealt two kills coming out of time-out, and Miller avoided the block to bring the Ephs to match point. Egan pounded down an over-pass to claim the final set, 25-21.
Williams earned a stellar 46 kills compared to Amherst's 29, and sported a .244 attack percentage. Two Ephs broke double-digit kills, with Tori Jasuta smashing a match-high 16 followed by Claire Miller with 11. Three Eph defenders, Tori Jasuta, Emily O'Day, and Caitie Benell, each gathered a lucky thirteen digs this afternoon. Jasuta also earned five service aces.
The Lord Jeffs were led by attacker Maggie Danner with 12 kills, backed by Asha Walker with 2 service aces. Libero Katie Warshaw led the covered the back-line with 12 digs.
"We are honored to be in the NESCAC finals again," commented Williams volleyball coach Christi Kelsey. "Its going to be a great match tomorrow between two evenly matched teams."
The Ephs advance to the NESCAC title match for the 10th time in sixteen seasons. Tomorrow Williams will face off against Tufts University in the Championship match, with play beginning at 12pm.