Williamstown, MA -- Williams Volleyball (6-2, 2-1 in NESCAC) filled Chandler Gym for a heated rivalry game against Amherst (7-1, 2-1 in NESCAC) that ultimately ended in a victory for the Ephs (17-25, 25-13, 25-16, 25-22). Williams claimed a four-set victory to hand Amherst their first loss of the season.
Amherst came in fresh off of a thrilling 5 set win over NESCAC opponent Tufts (4-3, 1-1 in NESCAC). Amherst came back from being down two sets against Tufts to win the next three sets and ultimately take the game (23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-10).
Williams was also energized from a five-set win, but against NESCAC opponent Connecticut College (4-3, 0-2 in NESCAC) after a winner takes all fifth set (25-20, 19-25, 25-8, 21-25, 15-11).
The first set started off strong with both teams prepared for battle. The Ephs began the match with Ryan Farley '16, Katherine Lane '16, Catherine Egan '16, Tori Jasuta '17, Anna Spellman '17, Roxi Corbeil '19 and libero Ally Ostrow '19. Spellman attacked from outside and earned the team's first kill of the game at 2-1.
Morgan Richman '19 came in at 5-5 to deliver a powerful serve that let to a seamless play and ultimately a middle kill by Lane. Jasuta kept up the momentum with a kill from the back row to put the score at 7-6. Caitie Benell '17 came in for the Ephs to serve at 8-7. Another kill by Jasuta from the outside made the match 9-7. An attack error by Amherst in the form of an attack to the outside antenna occurred at 13-12. An intense rally with attacks from both sides ultimately led to an attack error by the Ephs, down by two, at 16-14.
The Ephs took at timeout down by thee, 17-14. A kill by Lane at 19-15 helped the Ephs come back from their deficit. Back to back kills from Amherst widened the margin at 23-15. The Ephs took another timeout at 23-15. A strategic line call by Richman earned the Ephs a point after the timeout. A nail-bighting rally with an impressive middle touches from Lane and strategic setting from Farley added another point for the Ephs. Ultimately, Williams lost the set 25-17 after a match point error by the Ephs.
The second set began with the Ephs trying to regain the momentum. The first point of the set was an aggressive rally with attacks and dives from both sides ending in a cross-court outside kill by Jasuta to put the Ephs up 1-0. With a ball handling error from the Amherst setter followed by a kill from Spellman, the Ephs earned 2 additional points. At 4-1, Egan showed her skills with a kill from the middle. Benell dug consistently for the Ephs and provided a strong passing base for setter Farley. A long back and forth rally ended with an Amherst kill as they tried to come back from their deficit at 6-2. Amherst attempted to edge up with an attack error from the Ephs made the score 8-2.
Jasuta showed she had tricks up her sleeves and hit a strategic roll shot cross-court kill to the opposite line of the court to put the Ephs up 11-6. Amherst needed a breather and took a timeout. Back from the timeout, a touch by Amherst on a stray attack by the Ephs provided a conversion for Williams. A long serve by the Ephs marked a service error and made the score 14-8. After a service ace by Farley at 17-8, Amherst decided they wanted another timeout. Amherst fought back and earned a middle kill and an additional point. A kill by Spellman at 18-10 allowed the Ephs to regain control and Egan and Ostrow followed with a booming block. Another block by Egan and Ostrow electrified Chandler and marked the Ephs up 20-11. After tricky short serves by Richman ended in conversions for the Ephs, match point was a kill by Jasuta from the outside. The Ephs took the set 25-13.
With one set apiece, the third set showed both teams were hungry for a win. The match began with an attack from Spellman that the Ephs failed to convert because of a defensive error. A tricky tip from Spellman at right side gave the Ephs a point, up 3-1. Egan delivered a powerful middle kill that riled up the Ephs at 4-2. At 5-2, Spellman and Lane teamed up for a block on Amherst's outside hitter. Ostrow followed and earned a kill and an additional point for the Ephs. Amherst edged back and at 6-6, Richman earned a big point for the Ephs with a kill from back row. Jasuta delivered a flawless, cross-court outside kill to give the Ephs the advantage at 8-7. Though the point began with a free from the Ephs, it ended with another kill from Jasuta at 10-9.
A beautiful back set from Farley gave Spellman a kill at 12-9. To put the score at 14-12 with the Ephs up by two, Ostrow had a big outside kill. Spellman proved she is a force from the right side and put down a thundering kill at 16-12. A beautiful play by the Ephs with Lane calling a fast 3 from the middle put the Ephs up at 18-13. Amherst needed a breather and called a timeout. The Ephs sustained the tempo with a play that included a double block from Lane and Farley that ended with a kill from Ostrow. A slide from Lane provided by skilled back set from Farley put the score at 20-15. A overpass from Benell ended in a conversion for the Ephs as Farley dumped it over to put the Ephs at match point. The Ephs took the set 25-16 with a block from Jasuta.
With the Ephs up 2 sets to 1, the fourth set began with a skilled rally from both sides that ended in an Amherst attack error. At 3-0, Jasuta had a forceful block from the outside. Spellman had a kill from the outside to gain a point at 4-2. Ostrow attacked to break the Amherst front row block and earn a point at 5-3. Amherst took a timeout at 8-3. Richman entered to serve for the Ephs at 9-5. Lane dominated in the middle with a kill to mark the score 11-7. Jasuta had another tricky kill to line to earn the Ephs another point. Farley got a service ace to put the Ephs up by five, 15-10.
A tactical kill from Jasuta occurred at 17-10, as she placed the ball in between members of the Amherst back row. At 18-15, the Ephs took a timeout. Back from the timeout, the Ephs had a point after the referees called a touch on Amherst from a hit by Ostrow. Ostrow then hit a strategic kill to Amherst's left front line, forcing Amherst to take a timeout at 20-15.
Both teams emerged from the timeout fully invested in taking control of the set. Amherst went on a run and tied the match at 20-20 after an attack error by the Ephs. However, Amherst proved they couldn't sustain the momentum and had a service error to give the Ephs the edge. Jasuta followed with multiple kills to put the score at 23-21. Farley and Egan teamed up to run a skillful slide to put the Ephs at match point. After a missed serve from the Ephs, Amherst played in the ball but ultimately couldn't regain control of the match and the Ephs took the set with a strategic tip by Egan to win the match 25-22.
The Ephs ultimately proved victorious in four sets 17-25, 25-13, 25-16, 25-22.
Last season, the Ephs went 2-0 against Amherst, beating them in 5 sets during the regular season and then in three sets during the NESCAC Semi-Finals. During the regular 2014 season, the Ephs traveled to rival territory to take on the Lord Jeffs in a high intensity away match. Williams proved victorious with the set scores 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 24-26, and 15-13. This win gave the Ephs their second consecutive Little Three title. In the post-season NESCAC Semi-Final match, the Ephs had a solid 3 set win against Amherst, winning the sets 25-23, 25-19, 25-21.
Head coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey was excited about the outcome of the match and explained, "I'm really proud of our team from start to finish. Amherst is a great group. We played very consistently from start to finished. Probably one of our most wellrounded matches this season."
The Ephs are gearing up for a trip to Wisconsin to play a variety of schools in the Midwest. Asked if the team is looking forward to the trip, Kelsey noted, "We are. It's going to be great to take a break from NESCAC competition. To be able to travel together is a very special experience. We have another great weekend ahead of us."
The Ephs take on Wisconsin Stout and Wisconsin Whitewater this Saturday at 5:00PM and 7:00 PM CDT respectively. On Sunday, the Ephs battle Carthage and Millikin at 12:00PM and 2:00PM CDT respectively.