Williamstown, MA-- Williams (14-5, 6-1 in NESCAC) was back in Chandler after a successful weekend away, going 2-0 against conference teams Hamilton (3-13, 1-5 in NESCAC) and Middlebury (13-3, 4-2 in NESCAC). The Ephs played non-conference team UMass Boston (6-11, 3-1 in Conference) at home on Friday. The Ephs also celebrated Senior Night on Friday and put special focus on tri-Captain seniors Ryan Farley, Katherine Lane, and Catherine Egan.
Last season, the Ephs played UMass Boston at the UMass Boston invitational and lost in a contentious five-set match (25-23, 20-25, 25-20, 20-25, 12-15). Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey remarked last season that UMass Boston played well and stated, "UMass is a strong team. They do a lot of good things and we adjusted well at times tonight and not at others." The Ephs hoped to adjust well tonight and come out with a win.
The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow '19, Roxi Corbeil '19, Tori Jasuta '17, Catherine Egain '16, Katherine Lane '16, and Ryan Farley '16, as well as libero Caitie Benell '17. The first set began with the Ephs quickly down 0-2, however Lane sought to change that with a big kill from the middle to give the Ephs their first point of the night. Ostrow followed with a kill from the left pin to line. At 3-3, Corbeil had a cross-court kill from the right side. Down 4-6, Morgan Richman '19 entered to serve.
The Ephs tried to rally from a three-point deficit, but UMass responded with a strong presence at the net. After racking up five attack errors mainly because of strong blocking by UMass, Williams called their first timeout of the night down 12-7. Down 15-9, Farley earned a service ace for the Ephs hoping to shift the momentum. After an attack error by UMass and another ace from Farley, UMass called their first timeout up by three at 15-12.
After a block from Lane, the Ephs gained confidence and held their first lead of the night up 18-16. UMass then called their second timeout. Ostrow had a tricky roll shot from the outside to maintain the lead 19-18. Egan called a quick one-ball and got a kill after a strategic set from Farley. At 22-20, Ostrow had another kill from the outside. Williams and UMass exchanged long rallies punctuated with kills from both sides. Jasuta had an outside kill up 23-21. Lane ran a three-ball in the middle that took the Ephs to match point. The Ephs worked hard to win the first set 25-22.
The second set began with both teams showcasing strong attacks and energetic defense. After a long back-and-forth rally, Corbeil attacked from the right side at 4-3. Egan had a swift middle kill to add a point for the Ephs. At 6-4, Ostrow hit a short roll shot to a hole in the UMass defense. Jasuta tipped short to get an unconventional kill at 9-9. After a scrappy rally, Jasuta pushed the ball to the back of the opposing side to take the lead 12-11. Ostrow had a major kill from the outside to pressure UMass to take a timeout down by two.
After both teams had a chance to talk things over, the Ephs came back with a major rally that involved strong defense from Ostrow and a kill from Corbeil. After UMass regained the lead 16-14, Williams took a timeout. UMass came back and continued their run for an additional five points until Lane put a stop to things with a middle kill. UMass called a timeout up by three at 21-18.
Egan earned a kill from the middle after the timeout. Mia Weinland '19 tipped from the outside with the Ephs down 22-20. Weinland continued with strong attacking to tie the game at 24-24. Jasuta stayed strong at the net and had back-to-back blocks to give the Ephs the edge. After multiple attack errors by the Ephs, UMass took the set 26-24.
The Ephs showed vigor and enthusiasm by diving and rolling to keep the ball in play. With a five-point deficit, UMass called a timeout at 14-9. Jasuta electrified Chandler by sprinting to the back wall to keep the ball in play. A kill from Weinland kept the Ephs ahead. At 17-11, Benell had a service ace. With the largest point discrepancy of the night, UMass called a timeout down seven at 18-11.
Williams maintained their lead with help from Jasuta, who got an outside kill at 22-16. Jasuta showed flexibility in her attacks and got a kill from the right side to put Williams at match point. Lane finished off the set 25-20 with a kill from the middle.
The fourth set began with ties and both sides holding narrow leads. Egan pushed ahead with a middle kill up 5-3. Egan ran a slide to keep Williams up at 7-6. Jasuta hit hard to get a kill from the right side at 11-9. Lane and Weinland both attacked on overpasses to hold the lead 12-10. UMass called a timeout down by four at 14-10.
This Senior Night, the team honored tri-Captain Seniors Ryan Farley, Catherine Egan, and Katherine Lane by making special banners and celebrating their seniors' achievements and dedication over the past four years.
Coach Kelsey commended on an especially strong defensive showing from the Ephs and explained, "Our defense has been a strength for us but I'm really proud of the energy and intensity that the team showed for getting after every play. This translates to third and forth chance opportunities for us to score."
The Ephs need to rest up for another big game in Chandler tomorrow. The Ephs play Bowdoin (12-3, 6-0 in NESCAC), current NESCAC leader. Last season, Williams lost against Bowdoin in their final regular conference match in five sets (27-25, 25-19, 22-15, 11-15). The match begins at 2:00PM.
Coach Kelsey had exciting final words on the day and announced, "UMass is always traditionally a strong team but tomorrow will be another tough test. Another great day of volleyball ahead of us here in Chandler Gymnasium!"