Williams Edges Past Conn College in a Five Set Battle

Ryan Farley '16
Ryan Farley '16

Williamstown, MA -- Williams (5-2/NESCAC 1-1) kicked off their second conference game of the season by battling the Connecticut College Camels (4-3/NESCAC 0-2) in a five-set win (25-20, 19-25, 25-8, 21-25,15-11). Last night, the Ephs had a tough home and conference opening game, losing to Tufts University (4-2, 1-0). The Ephs previously defeated Tufts to win their second consecutive NESCAC title last season. 

Both teams began with a rocky start, however, and made a variety of attack errors and service errors. Tori Jasuta '17 took control of the pace with a dynamic cross-court kill from the outside to put the Ephs up 4-3. Ally Ostrow '19 tipped strategically to the center of the court to put the Ephs up 5-3. Tri-Captain Ryan Farley '16 converted an overpass into calculated attack, dumping the ball to put the Ephs up 7-5. Tri-Captain Katherine Lane and Farley showed dynamic coordination as they ran a slide to put the Ephs up 9-7, followed by an impressive block by Shelby Fisher '18 and Farley to give the Ephs and additional point. Anna Spellman '17 proved to be a force in the back row, hitting from back right make the score 11-6. Conn took a break and called a timeout at 16-10. After multiple attack errors from the Ephs, Spellman hammered down with back-to-back kills at 18-12. Lane converted an overpass from Conn into a fiery kill to gives the Ephs an edge ahead at 20-16. With a service error from Conn at match point, the Ephs won the set 25-20.

The second set began with a long combination of attacks from both teams that ultimately landed the Ephs on top after a decisive line judgment by libero Caitie Benell '17. Jasuta had an explosive outside attack to the back corner of the Camel's court to make the score 5-1. At 8-2, the Ephs showcased their presence at the net with a thundering block from Lane and Jasuta. Fisher put up an impenetrable middle block at 12-9. Jasuta attacked effectively from the outside to earn the Ephs another point. The Camels came back strong and tied the match after an attack error by the Ephs. Lane showed composure at the net and blocked a tip to give the Ephs the edge. Conn showed scrappy defense and determination, forcing the Ephs to take a time out down 16-18. Morgan Richman '19 entered for the Ephs at 16-20. After a series of attacks by the Camels, Conn College ultimately won the set 25-19.

With one set apiece, both teams were ready to fight hard to win the third set. Fisher set the tone with a fast-passed tip to tie at 1-1. Roxi Corbell '19 entered the game strong with a booming kill at 4-1, giving the Ephs a huge boost in momentum and energy. Corbell followed at 8-2 with a meticulous tip in between Conn blockers. After a major run by the Ephs, Conn needed a breather at 9-2 and took a timeout. Jasuta and Lane worked together for a big block at 12-2. Freshmen proved a major asset to the Ephs as impressive kills by Corbell and Morgan Richman put the Ephs up 15-5. Conn took another time up with the Ephs up 17-5. Farley and Lane teamed up for a momentous block to add a point to the score, 22-6. A sneaky tip from Farley put the Ephs at match point. Ostrow went in for the kill and the Ephs won the set 25-8.

The fourth set was off to an energetic start with a kill from Corbell. The Ephs were down at 4-2, but Ostrow quickly sought to change that with a kill from back row. The Ephs regained momentum with a sneaky tip from setter Farley at 8-5. A well-controlled dig from Jasuta set Lane up for a kill at 9-5. The Ephs showed impressive scrappiness, with the back row sprinting around the court and Farley demonstrating her defensive skills to give Ostrow another kill at 11-6. Corbell had a powerful kill from the right side to put the Ephs up 16-13. After a failed attack return attempt, the game was tied at 16-16 and the Ephs decided to take a timeout. Jasuta showcased her attacking skills with a powerful kill at 17 all. A back row kill by Jasuta put the Ephs at 18 all. Farley showed another tricky tip to put the Ephs at 19-20. After multiple kills by Conn, the Ephs didn't respond effectively and lost the set 21-25.
The match boiled down to the decisive fifth set. The Ephs converted a free from Conn into a scrappy tip by Jasuta at 2-1. Fisher had a controlled middle block to put the Ephs up 3-2. Corbell got a kill confidently at 4-3. A block by Farley and Lane on Conn's outside hitter was a major momentum shift for the Ephs. Conn took a time out at 6-3. The Ephs had an impressive play with a scrappy dig by Farley followed by a set from Benell and kill by Ostrow to put the score at 8-5. The Ephs were unable to respond to an attack by the Camels at 9-8. An earth-shattering kill by Corbell put the Ephs up 11-8 and proved to sustain the momentum through the rest of the set. The Ephs followed with a kill by Jasuta at 12-8, forcing Conn to take a timeout. A confident serve by Ostrow played in the ball followed by a strong attack by Corbell and defensive error by Conn at 12-9. Lane finished the set with a strategic kill and the Ephs won the match 15-11. A hard fought battle, the Ephs ultimately emerged victorious after a grueling 5 sets.

Eph head coach Christi Kelsey commented on the match enthusiastically and said, "There's been a lot of growth over the course of the last two weeks. We definitely rebounded from last night. I'm proud of the fact that we can pull out a fifth set win against a good team like Conn. It's a good thing for our confidence moving forward."
Reflecting on the weekend and conference play on the whole, coach Kelsey added, "For us as a team I think we are still getting a lot of contributions from different people, which is only going to help us as we move forward in our season. Conference play is going to be a battle every weekend. This was a great way to jump into it; two great teams."
The Ephs next game is the highly anticipated rivalry match against Amherst at home in Chandler this Wednesday, September 23rd at 7pm. Last season, the Ephs battled Amherst in a thrilling away match that ended in a five set victory over the Lord Jeffs. Coach Kelsey noted, "We will get excited for whatever our next game is. Amherst has a great crew. We are looking forward to the energy and enthusiasm." 
2015 Season Outlook
August 28, 2015 2015 Season Outlook