Williamstown, MA– The Ephs hoped to continue their success at home with a game against current NESCAC leader Bowdoin, but the Polar Bears had other ideas as they won the first two sets and the fifth set to claim a 3-2 win.
This match was critical for the Ephs and the Polar Bears as it decided who would likely host the NESCAC Tournament.
The Ephs lead the all-time series against Bowdoin 28-4, but Bowdoin has won four of the last seven ecnounters.
The series began in 1987 and the Ephs won the first 25 matches straight. In the last four years, Williams and Bowdoin have each won three matches against each other, excluding today's match. Last season, Bowdoin defeated Williams in five sets at home in their final regular conference match of the season (25-18, 27-25, 25-19, 22-15, 11-15) but then the Ephs defeated Bowdoin in the NCAA New England Regional final in Chandler Gym in three sets (25-20, 25-14, 25-16) to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight.
The Ephs also continued the energy from Senior Night last night, and thanked each of the three Tri-Captain seniors, Ryan Farley '16, Katherine Lane '16, and Catherine Egan '16 with a special presentation.
The Ephs started off strong with a middle block by Lane at 2-1. Maintaining the lead at 5-4, Morgan Richman '19 entered to serve. The energy between the two teams was off to a steady start until Bowdoin took the lead 8-6 after a strong block on an attack by Jasuta. Richman rallied back with a kill from the back row. To tie at 10-10, Jasuta had a kill from the right side to line. Bowdoin gained a two-point edge after the Ephs struggled to defend tips. After a kill from Bowdoin added to their lead, Williams called the first timeout of the match down 13-10.
With the ball back in play, Bowdoin continued their run. At 15-11, the Ephs showed resiliency and dug a variety of attacks from Bowdoin. Down 17-13, Egan got a kill by running a three-ball in the middle, and killed again by attacking an overpass from Bowdoin. After Jasuta got a kill from the back row, Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey called the second timeout of the game.
Bowdoin continued to tip and exploit the holes in the Ephs defensive coverage. Jasuta ran a 32 from the outside to set the score at 21-16. Richman earned a kill from the right pin to add a point for the Ephs. Jasuta added an outside kill for the Ephs. At match point, Bowdoin blocked an attack by Corbeil to take the set 25-18.
The second set began with a service ace by Jasuta at 2-1. Williams came out strong and quickly gained a two-point lead at 4-2. At 5-4, Corbeil had a cross-court kill from the right side. After a long rally, Farley dumped the ball to center court instead of a traditional set to one of her hitters. Farley dumped the ball again at 8-7. Jasuta and Egan teamed up for a big block on the Bowdoin right side hitter. Bowdoin came back strong with attacks from the outside to tie at 12-12. Down 14-12, Williams took their first timeout of the set.
Back from the timeout, Bowdoin continued to hold the momentum. Ostrow put a stop to things with a kill from the outside at 16-15. Ostrow had another kill, this time to line, to tie at 17-17. Bowdoin maintain the lead and got a service ace up 21-17. Williams called their second timeout down 22-17. Egan attacked from the middle down 23-18. At match point, the Ephs had an attack error and Bowdoin won the second set 25-18.
Williams began the third set optimistically after a booming kill from Jasuta. Jasuta and Lane showed coordination with a big block, and Richman followed with a large approach and thundering kill from the right side. After a six-nothing run by the Ephs, Bowdoin took their first timeout of the set. Back from the timeout, Farley had back-to-back service aces. At 10-1, Lane attacked fast and hard from the middle. Richman showed enthusiasm as she racked up another kill from the right pin.
At 13-4, Richman got a kill to line. After a free-ball kill by Egan painted the back line, Bowdon called their second timeout down 14-5. Bowdoin went on a three-point run after the timeout that was stopped by a dump from Farley. Jasuta and Lane worked together for a double block on Bowdoin's right side. At 17-9, Jasuta had a cross-court kill from the left pin. After athletic tip coverage by Jasuta, Ostrow earned a kill from the back row. Williams called their first timeout up 19-13.
At 20-14, Farley delivered a skilled back set to give Richman a kill from the right side. Jasuta got a back row kill to left line at 22-15. After complete defensive coverage by the Ephs, Ostrow earned a kill from the left side. With an attack error from Bowdoin, the Ephs won the third set 25-15.
The fourth set began on a strong note with a service ace by Egan. Up 5-3, Richman continued to bring energy and got a kill from the right side. The Ephs maintained their lead with a skillful block in the middle by Egan. Bowdoin called their first timeout of the set down 9-4. With the ball back in play, Williams continued their run after a roll shot by Richman and a strategic dump by Egan. Richman attacked forcefully with a cross-court shot and then a kill to line up 12-6. Williams worked hard with attacks from every front row hitter and an attack from setter Farley, but Jasuta had the final kill at 14-7.
Bowdoin called a timeout and when they were back on the court they went on a three-point run. At 17-10, Jasuta had a kill to line from the outside. At 18-12, Lane had a kill in the middle after calling a one-ball. Williams continued to maintain their lead after a service ace by Jasuta at 21-13. Richman continued to showcase her presence at the net with a kill at 23-14. After a four-point run by Bowdoin, Williams called their first timeout of the set at 23-18. At match point, Williams decided to call a timeout after a long rally put Bowdoin within one. Coming back at 24-23, an outside kill from Ostrow won the Ephs the set 25-23.
The fifth set was winner-takes-all after the Ephs came back from being down two sets to none. Bowdoin took the lead 3-0. At 4-2, Richman had a kill from the right side. Down 6-3, Lane earned a middle kill. Richman continued to dominate from the right side still down 7-4. After the side chance at 8-5, Ostrow had a kill from the outside to narrow the deficit to two. Down 10-7, Williams called a timeout.
Back from the timeout, Egan got a kill after running a slide. A kill by Jasuta put the Ephs within one. After strong defense from Richman and aggressive net action by Jasuta and Lane, the Ephs tied at 10-10. Bowdoin had strong blocking and attacking and edged ahead. At Bowdoin's match point and down 14-11, Williams called a timeout.
Back on the court, Williams showed courage with big time defensive coverage by Farley and a kill by Jasuta. Richman consistently earned a critical kill to put the Ephs within one. Bowdoin called a timeout still at match point, 14-13.
With the ball back in play for a final time, Bowdoin had a final kill from the right side to win the set and the game 15-13.
Bowdoin had strong attackers and hitter Christy Jewett led the team in kills with a total of 17 as well as a hitting percentage of .216%. Additionally, Jewett had 51 total attacks and 14 digs that gave her a total of 18.5 points total. Katie Doherty lead Bowdoin defensively and had 32 digs. Erika Sklaver had the highest hitting percentage on the team of .258 % and earned 10 kills. Quinsey Leech led in assists with a total of 41 and also had 6 kills and a hitting percetage of .500%. Bowdoin's stats reflected well-rounded offensive and defensive capabilities.
Richman and Jasuta led the Ephs in kills with 15 each. Richman had the highest hitting percetage on the team of .464%. Jasuta also led in digs with 27 total and Farley led in assists with 45.
Coach Kelsey remarked on the match and said, "Hats off to Bowdoin they did a really good job. NESCAC is always a battle. I was proud of the way our team fought back to force the fifth set and I think we are still learning a lot about ourselves and about being consistent."
The Eph's next game is away at Babson next Friday at 7pm.