Poughkeepsie, New York-- No. 18 Williams Women's Volleyball (1-0) had a strong season opener defeating previously undefeated Vassar College (3-1) by a score of 3-1. This non-conference match was an important win as it set the tone for the start of the season and proved that the Ephs are ready for a string of upcoming matches.
Because of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regulations, the Ephs began their season tonight in a battle against The Brewers, who were previously undefeated. The Ephs demonstrated their presence on the court and showed energy and vigor after training intensively during preseason. The Brewers boasted three wins prior to this loss, playing Rutgers-Camden in Camden, NJ, as well as University of New England and Lehman College at home. They previously won those three games in three straight sets.
With their prior season impressively culminating in a second straight NESCAC Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA's Elite Eight, the Ephs have the opportunity for another impressive run ahead of them. NESCAC and Regional Coach of the Year Christi Kelsey was excited for the Ephs' first win that marked the beginning of her seventh season at Williams.
Vassar's last win against the Ephs was at Vassar in Kenyon Hall on September 11, 2011. The Brewers are 5-19 against the Ephs in the all-time series. The Ephs nine returning players proved to be the foundation for this win, led by tri-captain seniors Ryan Farley, Catherine Egan, and Katherine Lane. Junior Tori Jasuta (Second Team) and Ryan Farley (Honorable Mention) returned as stars on the court and demonstrated the skills that earned them titles as AVCA All-American as well as All-New England and All-NESCAC.
The first six on the court set a strong tone for the game. Anna Spellman '17, Ryan Farley '16, Katherine Lane '16, Catherine Egan '16, libero Caitie Bennell '17, Roxie Corbell '19 and Ally Ostrow '19 proved to be talented starters who were capable of running quick play and delivering early kills.
The Ephs gained an early lead during the first set forcing Vassar to take a time out in the first set with the score at 9-3. After multiple kills by Ally Ostrow, Vassar took an additional time out at 17-7 in an attempt to regain control of the tempo dominated by the Ephs. The Ephs calmly demonstrated their technical ability and composure during rallies with a final score of 25-10 in the first set.
Vassar delivered a response in the second set, causing the Ephs to take a strategic time out down 6-9. After an impressive series, Lane and Farley deliver a thundering block at the net to edge the Ephs within a point 18-19 causing Vassar to take their first time out of the set. Down by three, the Ephs take a timeout at 20-23 after not receiving kills from the Vassar offense. Egan delivers a daring kill to add a point for the Ephs. Vassar wins the set 25-21 with an ace to leave the match at one set a piece.
The Ephs start of the third set strong with a kill by Roxi Corbell. After a strong set up by Farley followed by a kill from Jasuta, Vassar had an attack error and took a time out at 10-4. A net-skimming ace from Benell started the Ephs off strong after the time out. Egan delivers multiple, tricky drop shots to the holes in Vassar defense to gives the Ephs additional crucial kills. After yet another strong attack from Lane, Vassar takes a time out with a lead by the Ephs at 20-14. Lane finishes the set with kills total. With a Vassar service error at set point, Williams takes the set 25-17.
The Ephs delivered steady attacks and thorough digs during the fourth set. Vassar took a timeout at 12-8 after a powerful kill by Egan. The combination of Corbell and Egan proves strong at the net as they deliver tight back-to-back blocks to give the Ephs a score of 14-9. Vassar takes a timeout at 20-13 after a coordinated block by Farley and Lane. The Ephs win the set with a strong kill by Ostrow. The final match score was 25-17.
Though Vassar took a set from the Ephs with a final score of 4-1, the Ephs proved triumphant and demonstrated a strong start to their season. Egan led the team with 11 overall kills and a hitting percentage of .250. Lane had 10 kills and led the team with a hitting percentage of .529. Farley had numerous strong sets and 26 total assists. Bennell proved crucial at libero and had 14 digs overall. Ostrow and Farley provided major back row support with 13 and 10 digs respectively. Coach Kelsey notes that "Ball control was solid from start to finish. Our middles, especially Katherine Lane and Catherine Egan did a really nice job."
Coach Kelsey was proud of the effort put in by the Ephs and said, "I thought it was a good start to our first game of the season. Vassar is a good, solid program." She adds that this year, "We have a lot of new faces in our program. Overall, there is a lot of work we still have to do but overall I'm excited for the season and proud of the effort we put in to today."
The Ephs continue their journey at the Union College Invitational against Cortland, Union, Skidmore, and Oneonta on September 11th and 12th.