Newport News, VA— Williams College volleyball (28-5) faced off against Emory University (38-3) this afternoon in the NCAA Quarterfinals, falling to the Eagles 3-1 with set scores, 16-25, 16-25, 28-26, and 17-25.
With the loss the Ephs fell to 20-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, while Emory upped its record to 40-18.The Ephs entered the Freeman Center's Sport Court to face the Eagles for the second time in the NCAA tournament. Both teams prepped for battle, and the fight for points was a quick one at the start of the first set. The Ephs and the Eagles were evenly matched, pushing a tied score from 2-2 to 7-7. Emory pulled an 9-3 run to hold the lead at 16-9. Eagles Jessica Holler and Leah Jacobs swung away from the attack line, pushing the lead for Emory and contributing to an attack percentage of .643 for the set. The Ephs fought back, scoring kills from Catherine Egan and service aces from Emily O'Day. Williams' defense stood strong against the Emory attack, but the Eagle's offense swung hard, winning the first set 25-16.
Williams started hot in the second set, quickly grabbing a 7-2 lead over Emory thanks to kills by Egan and Rasmussen, and a service ace from Caitie Benell. The Eagles called a time-out and fought back with a kill from Leah Jacobs and Kathryn Trinka. Eph setter Ryan Farley earned a second contact kill to set the score at 8-4, and Tori Jasuta maintained the two-point lead with a heavy cross kill.
With the score tied at 10-10, Emory took the lead, 15-11. The Ephs fought back, pinching their deficit 15-13 with consecutive kills from seniors Claire Miller and Raea Rasmussen. Emory's front line crushed kills from Trinka, Jacobs, and Jessica Holler, pushing a 7-2 run until Williams called time-out at 22-15. Rasmussen kept the Ephs alive with a line shot at right side, 22-16, but kills from Holler and Trinka, and a service ace from Olivia Volarich, gave Emory the second set, 25-16.
Katherine Lane hit center court for the first point of the third set, and an Eagle error put Williams at a hot start, 2-0. Two quick-overs from Emory tied the score at three's, and Jasuta fought back with a hard ball on the line. A service ace from Sydney Miles put Emory uo at 6-4, and Jasuta came back with her own service ace to tie the score at 7-7.
The Ephs pushed ahead, with kills from Claire Miller, putting them up at 9-7. Catherine Egan tipped over the block to keep a two-point lead, and a kill from Raea Rasmussen set the Ephs at 13-9 and the Eagles called time-out. Williams maintained their lead with Emory close behind, 16-15, but the score was tied at seventeen's. Miller swung away from the outside to keep Williams' advantage, and Lane tipped from the middle to set the score 20-19. Coach Kelsey called a time-out when Emory took the lead, 21-20, hoping to regroup the team for a win. Jasuta earned a side-out for 23-21, and the Ephs bounced back for a tie at 23-23. Eagle Jacobs crushed court for match point, and the score pushed to 25-24. Eph Miller scored a kill to tie 25-25, and Jasuta earned a service ace for Eph set point. Both teams traded points and exchanged leads until Williams pressed on for two consecutive kills, winning the third set 28-26.
The fourth set started with an Emory lead, 5-2, and the Ephs called a time-out when Emory's lead reached five points. Williams' defense struggled with the hard hits of Emory's attacks, and the point deficit grew to 12-5. A quick middle attack from Rasmussen earned a side-out for the Ephs, and another kill from the outside set the Ephs closer behind at 13-9. A solid center-court kill from Lane put Farley on the service line, earning a service ace and closing the gap to 15-13. The team traded errors for 18-14, and a hard kill from Egan put Jasuta on the service line. The score reached 22-16 when the Ephs called a time-out. A middle kill from Holler put the Eagles up 16-23, and an error put Emory at set point. A kill from Miller kept the Ephs alive, but a final kill from Holler captured the match for Emory University, 25-17.
Williams posted an impressive .375 attack percentage in the third set, averaging .257 and 50 kills on the match. Lead attackers were Raea Rasmussen with 12 kills and .458 percentage, Tori Jasuta with 11 kills, and Catherine Egan with 10 kills and a .391 percentage. Ryan Farley dished out 45 assists and contributed two service aces. The Eph's court was covered by libero Caitie Benell with 12 digs and Tori Jasuta with 8 digs.
The Eagles were led by Leah Jacobs with 21 kills and a .559 attack percentage, Jessica Holler with 15 kills and .407 percentage, and Sarah Maher with 11 kills and .500 percentage. Notable defenders were Kate Bowman and Sarah Maher, with 21 and 14 digs respectively.
Emory continues their season in the final four, matching off against Wisconsin-Stevens Pt.
The Ephs conclude their season with their fifth-ever elite eight appearance and a 20-12 NCAA tournament match record. The last matchup between Williams and Emory took place in 2003 also in the NCAA Quarterfinals, topped by Emory 3-1.
The Ephs will graduate four seniors who contributed immensely during their four-year commitment. This season, Claire Miller contributed 235 kills and 27 service aces, Emily O'Day gave 229 digs and 29 service aces, Raea Rasmussen chipped in 258 kills and 77 blocks, and Amanda Schott served 38 service aces and 309 digs.
"I thought they gave us a little trouble with their fastpaced attack in the middle," said Emory head coach Jenny McDowell. "we were finally able to adjust to it in the fourth set, but I was not surprised at how Williams competed. They are a good team."
Emory returned all but one player from last year's Elite Eight team.
"We did what we do and they did what they do and they just played their game a little better than we played ours," said Eph head coach Christi Kelsey. "I'm proud of the effort my kids put forth and the way they competed."