Williams Edges Past Middlebury in Five Sets

Catherine Egan '16/Keller Gabriel
Catherine Egan '16/Keller Gabriel

Middlebury, VT -- The Ephs hoped to continue their win streak on the road with a busy NESCAC weekend. Williams played Hamilton (3-11, 1-4 in NESCAC) last night and swept them in three sets (25-14, 25-16, 25-23). Middlebury had a Friday night match as well, and beat Amherst in four sets (25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 28-26) to increase their win streak to ten straight matches. The Ephs were eager to spoil Middlebury's win streak and increase their own to six straight wins.

The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow '19, Roxi Corbeil '19, Tori Jasuta '17, Ryan Farley '16, Catherine Egan '16, Katherine Lane '16 and libero Caitie Benell '17. Egan swung big to earn a kill from the middle and put the Ephs up 3-1. Middlebury answered with a kill from the outside. The first set opened with both teams proving they were capable of fighting hard and displayed powerful hitters in their attack arsenal. Middlebury took the lead at 5-4 after an attack error from the Ephs. After attacks from both sides, Middlebury regained the lead after a service ace at 9-8. With another lead change and the Ephs up this time 10-9, Farley had a tricky tip and added a point for Williams.


At 11-10, Lane converted an overpass from Middlebury into a sharp kill from the middle. After a kill from Corbeil from the right pin, Middlebury called a timeout down by four at 14-10. Ostrow stepped up for a cross-court kill from the outside at 15-11. Morgan Richman '19 entered to serve to give the Ephs their biggest lead of the set so far at 17-12. At 19-12, Ostrow had a big point and attacked strongly from the outside but followed with a careful tip. Middlebury decided to take their second timeout of the set with the biggest deficit of the match so far.

Back from the timeout, Egan and Farley teamed up for a slide and the middle hitter got a backdoor kill. Egan ran another slide to mark the score 21-16. Jasuta picked up a kill from the outside to maintain their lead 22-18. Farley and Lane combined forces for a block at 23-18 that Middlebury was able to dig, but Lane followed with a booming middle kill. Middlebury cut their deficit to two points after a large run. An attack error by the Ephs led them to call their first timeout of the set up 23-21.

Williams answered at the net after the timeout to put them at match point. After a ball handling error by Middleburry, the Ephs took the set 25-21. The second set began with close lead changes by both teams. Egan dominated at the middle with the Ephs up 7-3. Williams followed with a block by Jasuta and Egan. Ostrow had a masterful service ace after the ball caught the edge of the tape to mark 9-4. Middlebury called a timeout after a kill by Jasuta down 10-4.

Ostrow maintained a strong serve back from the timeout. The Ephs remained focused and soon took a seven-point lead after a tip from Jasuta. Jasuta had another impressive kill, this time to line, to keep the lead at 15-9. Middlebury called a timeout trailing 16-9. Though the first set had eight ties, the second set showcased the Ephs' ability as they continued to be a force at the net.

Ostrow took a big approach that gave her a kill from the outside at 20-13. Farley earned a kill to add a point for the Ephs. At match point, Lane in the middle knocked it home to win the set 25-18. The third set began with a kill by Lane, followed by a service ace by Jasuta to put the Ephs up 2-0. Middlebury fought hard in the third set and looked to stay alive by grabbing the lead 7-4. Williams decided to call a timeout after blowing their 3-0 lead and allowing Middlebury to go on a 7-1 run. 

Middlebury continued their run and the Ephs needed to recover from a six-point deficit at 12-6. Jasuta got a point for the Ephs after attacking and digging Middlebury's blocks to mark 13-8. Lane had a block to try to narrow the deficit at 14-10. Trailing by five, Williams called a timeout down 18-13. Corbeil had a big attack from the right pin as the Ephs narrowed the deficit to two 18-16. After an attack error by Middlebury put the Ephs only down by one, Middlebury wanted to pause play and called a timeout.

The Ephs came back strong from the timeout and Corbeil had another kill for the Ephs. After both teams showcased attacks, Egan responded with a slide after an impressive back set from Farley at 20-19. A service ace by Ostrow tied up the game 20-20. Williams had a block from duo Farley and Egan to tie again at 21-21. The assistant referee stopped game play to discuss the book with the scorekeepers. Middlebury earned the lead 23-22 after a kill from the outside. Williams won a long rally to continue the ties at 23-23.

Middlebury was at match point in the third set, but Ostrow showed nerves of steel and hammered down a kill from the outside to tie 24-24. Middlebury responded with an attack that was tipped off by the Ephs. Williams tied at 25-25 after a kill by Corbeil from the right side. Ultimately, Middlebury won the third set 27-25 after multiple kills that the Eph's weren't able to recover from. 


The fourth set began with Middlebury on the offensive, and the Ephs were soon down 4-3. Trailing 7-3, Williams called a timeout. A big block by Jasuta and Egan on the right side Middlebury hitter put the score at 10-6. Jasuta took a big approach to hammer down a kill from the outside and move the score to 12-7. Corbeil answered for the Ephs as they still trailed 15-8. Mia Weinland '19 entered the game for the Ephs. Lane blasted a kill from the middle at 16-10. Middlebury continued to drive kills into the holes in the Ephs defense to bring the match to 19-15. Trailing by five at 22-17, Farley served but Middlebury won the point with a tip. Middlebury managed to come all the way back to force a fifth game after being down two sets to nothing, and took the fourth set 25-18.

The fifth set began with the Ephs quickly up 3-0 after multiple kills by Lane. A dominating block by Egan forced Middlebury to take a timeout down 7-4. At 8-5 with the Ephs up, both teams change sides. Jasuta was unfazed and continued the energy with an outside kill. Tied 9-9 with first to 15 to take the win, Williams called a timeout.

The ties continued when play resumed, and Jasuta had a kill to line at 10-10. After a three point run by the Ephs, Middlebury called a timeout down 12-10. With the ball back in play both teams had big points that electrified the gym. Lane had a decisive kill to put the Ephs at match point. After a serve to play the ball in, Middlebury attacked too wide and Williams ultimately won the set 15-12.

Williams broke Middlebury's ten-game win streak by beating them in five sets (25- 21, 25-18, 25-27, 18-25, 15-12) and continued unscathed to increase their win streak to six games.

Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey was enthusiastic about the Ephs 2-0 NESCAC weekend and stated, "Anytime you can get two wins on a NESCAC weekend, its a great weekend. We played really steady, confident volleyball in the first two sets against Midd but you have to give them a lot of credit for continuing to fight and pushing our team in the third and forth sets. The fifth set was a back and forth battle but I was really proud of our team for staying focused and upbeat to pull out the win!" 

The Ephs look forward to a home weekend in Chandler. They play UMass Boston on Friday night at 8:00PM and Bowdoin on Saturday at  2:00PM. Coach Kelsey reflected on the upcoming challenges and remarked, "As for the coming week, Im excited each week to get in the gym with this crew and see how we can improve and continue to grow this season. UMass Boston is always a strong test for us and Bowdoin is undefeated right now in conference play so it will be another fun weekend of competitive and challenging volleyball and we are looking forward to it!" 

2015 Season Outlook
August 28, 2015 2015 Season Outlook