Williamstown, MA—The Williams College Ephs (27-4) entered the first round of the Williamstown, Mass. Regional with a win over the Babson College Beavers (27-9), 25-17, 25-19, 25-19. Williams will continue on tomorrow to the final round at 4pm against the Bowdoin College Polar Bears.
Williams started the first set down 5-1 on Beaver Kseniya Pulido's serve, but a kill from Eph Tori Jasuta earned side-out and pushed points with her serve. Eph senior Claire Miller earned a kill on the sideline, and a Beaver error tied the score 7-7. Junior setter Ryan Farley scored two service aces, pushing the Ephs ahead, and a dome block from Jasuta and Katherine Lane set the score at 12-9. Big kill from Mary Donahue kept the Beavers close behind 14-13, but monstrous kills from Jasuta and Miller followed by a service ace from Emily O'Day kept the Ephs ahead, 20-14. Beaver Lorraine Mackiewicz earned to kills to keep Babson alive, but Eph senior Raea Rasmussen crushed court for 22-17. Amanda Schott served up game point, and Farley killed a setter dump for the first set, 25-17.
A kill from center Catherine Egan and line shot from Jasuta opened the second set 5-0 for Williams, but Babson's Donahue fought back 6-3. Lane broke through the block for double digits, but Babson's Krissy Robertson battled for two kills, following close behind, and the Ephs called time-out at 14-11. Farley earned a second-touch kill followed by a service ace from O'Day, setting the score at 18-14 and pressuring Babson into time-out. Rasmussen cranked out a kill and assisted in a block with Jasuta for 23-17. Babson's Pulido scored a service ace before Jasuta earned a side-out for the Ephs for set point, 25-19.
A flying save from Schott and kills from Jasuta began the third set, starting with a 5-1 lead. Babson called time-out after a deep tip from Miller set the Ephs at 7-2. A mean kill from Alicia Wilde kept Babson close behind, but Schott served Babson out of system, setting Jasuta up for a kill, 14-7. Donahue swung away for two kills, but Beaver errors held Williams ahead, 17-12. The Beavers called time-out when the Ephs broke twenty with a soft tip from Rasmussen, and a kill from Beaver Mackiewicz set the score at 22-15. A center block from Miller and Egan put the Ephs at match point, and an attack from Rasmussen claimed the game for Williams, 25-19.
The Eph attackers were well-spread, with Tori Jasuta and Katherine Lane scoring 11 and 10 kills, while Raea Rasmussen and Catherine Egan each scored 8. Ryan Farley served up 3 service aces and dished out 39 assists. Tori Jasuta and Amanda Schott manned the back line, gathering 15 and 13 digs respectively.
Coach Christi Kelsey commented on tomorrow's final, "It's going to be a great match; it's awesome to have an all NESCAC final."
"I try to keep everyone motivated, and to stay calm myself," commented senior captain Claire Miller when asked about the team's mind on the court.
The Babson Beavers were led by Mary Donahue with 10 kills and Brittany Gold with 3 blocks. The backline was defended by Kseniya Pulido and Elizabeth Sullivan with 22 and 10 digs.
The Ephs "had a lot of energy and executed their game plan just a little better than we did" commented head Babson coach Eric Neely. "I'm very proud of what our players did."
Senior Brianna San Diego added, "We walked into this gym thinking we had nothing to lose. I couldn't ask for a better senior season, making school history."
The Ephs continue their 12th NCAA appearance, playing Bowdoin College tomorrow at 4pm in Chandler Gymnasium in the final round. Babson College concludes their season with a 1-1 NCAA tournament record and 27-9 overall.