Williamstown, MA—The Williams College Ephs (28-4) ended the final round of the Williamstown, Mass. Regional with a 3-0 win over the Bowdoin College Polar Bears (23-9), 25-20, 25-14, 25-16. Williams will continue on to the elite eight in Newport News, VA. this Friday to take on EWmory University.
The Ephs and the Polar Bears exchanged kills in the beginning of the first set, pushing a tied score to 3-3 until Ephs Raea Rasmussen, Catherine Egan, and Claire Miller dealt three heavy blocks, putting the score at 6-3 and forcing the Bears into time-out. Kills from Bear Erika Sklaver tied the score at eights, but the Ephs pushed points with back-to-back kills from Katherine Lane and Tori Jasuta, 12-9. Bear Christy Jewett fought back with kills from the outside, but Eph pin hitters continued to push points, and Miller scored a service ace for 18-13. Bowdoin called another time-out and came back with another tip-kill from Sklaver. Jasuta and Miller slammed through Bear blocks to bring the score to 24-18, but errors brought the Bears to twenty. A final back row kill from Jasuta wrapped up the first set, 25-20.
Bowdoin continued to tip away at the net, but Jasuta's and Miller's swings were too much at the start of the second set, 4-1. Bears Sklaver and Hailey Wahl fought back with two kills, and Jewett crushed the line for a 7-5 deficit. Jasuta strategically avoided the block for a center-court kill, and Bowdoin errors forced them into time-out, 13-7. A short service ace from Jasuta followed by an over-pass kill from Egan set the Ephs ahead 18-8. Williams continued their 12-2 run with a kill from junior setter Ryan Farley, and Bowdoin called another time-out at 20-8. The Polar Bears earned consecutive kills from Jewett and Quincy Leech, but were quelled with a tip-kill from Eph Miller, 21-10. A second-touch kill from Farley and killer serves from Amanda Schott put the Ephs at game point. Bowdoin stayed alive with a dome block from Clare Geyer and Wahl, but the Ephs captured the set with a Bear error, 25-14.
The third set opened with kills from Egan and Jasuta, who also dealt a service ace, 5-2. Jewett responded with two kills of her own, keeping the Bears close behind at 6-4. Rasmussen ravaged the open net, and Lane hit the ten-foot line for 10-4, pressuring Bowdoin into time-out. Geyer guarded the net with a block and Sklaver scored a kill, but the Ephs still rocketed ahead, with kills from Jasuta and a service ace from Caitie Benell putting the score at 17-7. Bowdoin pushed four coming out of time-out, with kills from Leech and Sklaver, but Eph Egan ended the run with a middle kill, 18-11. Rasmussen broke twenty points with a quick kill to center court, and a cross-court kill from Jasuta set the Ephs at 23-14. A one-woman block from Lane put the Ephs at game point, and Jasuta crushed the net to claim the regional championship, 25-16.
The Ephs were led outstandingly by Tori Jasuta with 15 kills and .323 percentage, Claire Miller with 10 kills and .409 percentage, and Raea Rasmussen with 8 kills and .571 percentage. Raea Rasmussen and Catherine Egan controlled the net with 4 blocks each, and Tori Jasuta contributed 2 service aces. Defenders Tori Jasuta, Caitie Benell and Emily O'Day dug 17, 10, and 9 balls, respectively.
Williams' seniors Amanda Schott, Emily O'Day, Claire Miller, and Raea Rasmussen commented on the regional win, "for all thirteen players there was no doubt this was where we wanted to be." Head Coach Christi Kelsey added, "These guys came out today with the confidence that we believed has been there since we got this group back together."
Bowdoin's attackers were led by Christy Jewett and Erika Sklaver with 7 and 5 kills, and by Clare Geyer with 2 blocks. Katie Doherty covered the backcourt with 11 digs.
"We had a great strategy going in," said leading hitter Christy Jewett. Head Coach Karen Corey added, "Their middles are very strong, and we didn't really have an answer for their middle attackers." With no seniors, she commented "I'm so proud of them today, and we'll take it to them next year."
The all tournament team from the Williamstown, Mass. Regional Tournament is as follows.
NCAA New England Regional All-Tournament Team:
Megan Gebhard, MIT
Mary Donahue, Babson
Catherine Egan, Williams
Christy Jewett, Bowdoin
Erika Sklaver, Bowdoin
Ryan Farley, Williams
Most Outstanding Player: Tori Jasuta, Williams
Williams volleyball will continue to the elite eight next Friday in the NCAA quarterfinals against the winner of Emory versus Washinton St. Louis. Bowdoin concludes their season with a 5-3 NCAA tournament record and 23-9 overall.
The quarterfinal match begins at 3pm on Friday in Newport News, Virginia.