Postdam, NY– The Ephs (18-11, 8-2 in NESCAC) traveled to Clarkson University for the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday night to play Ithaca College (31-4, 7-1 in Conference).
Ithaca made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2010 after winning the Empire 8 Conference Championship in straight sets over Stevens on Sunday afternoon in Hoboken, N.J.
The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow '19, Roxi Corbeil '19, Shelby Fisher '18, Tori Jasuta '17, Catherine Egan '16, Ryan Farley '16, and libero Caitie Benell '17. The first set began with Ithaca taking the lead after multiple kills set the score at 3-1. Down by one at 4-3, Egan got a kill in the middle. Still trailing at 7-6, Ally Ostrow had a strong kill from the outside. The score was tied at 7-7 after a shoot by Farley.
The first timeout was called at 10-7 with the Ephs down by three. The Ephs struggled with defense and tip coverage early in the match. Williams was able to side out after a kill by Jasuta at 11-8. At 11-9, Benell had the first service ace of the night. Farley had another service ace still trailing at 13-11. Both teams traded kills but the Ephs maintained the lead. At 19-15, Ryan Farley picked up another kill.
Williams called their second timeout hoping to cut down the deficit. Jasuta continued to be a force at the net and earned a kill at the left pin at 22-16. Ithaca called their first timeout as the Ephs cut their seven-point lead to four at 22-18. Ithaca took the set 25-21 after multiple kills by Ithaca.
The second set began with Ithaca keeping control of the pace. Mia Weinland '19 entered down 5-0. Williams got their first point at 6-1 after a kill by Corbeil. Williams tried to narrow the deficit after a kill by Farley at 9-5. Down 14-7, Jasuta had a cross-court kill from the outside. At 16-8, Williams called their first timeout of the set.
Egan got back-to-back aces down 16-11. Morgan Richman entered to serve at 17-12. Ostrow got a kill to cut Ithaca's lead in half and continue to push. Fisher and Ostrow teamed up for a block at 17-14. Ithaca called a timeout to talk things over. Back on the court, Fisher earned a kill to narrow the difference to three.
Ithaca went on a big run to widen the difference after multiple kills. At 23-16, Williams called their second timeout of the set. Ithaca continued to attack strongly at the net and won the second set 25-17.
The third set began with the Ephs up 1-0 after a powerful double block by Corbeil and Fisher. Williams showed a lot of energy as Ostrow got back-to-back kills from the outside to bring their lead to 3-0. Ithaca took the lead after going on a run at 4-3 after an attack error by the Ephs. Ithaca pushed back and went on a five-point run. Williams took a timeout down 10-5. At 10-7, Weinland got a kill from the outside. At 14-9 after a run by Ithaca, Egan got an ace.
Down 16-10, Weinland got a kill from the outside. Richman followed with a kill. Down 18-12, Richman earned another kill from the right side. Ally Ostrow got a kill from the outside at 22-14. At 22-17, Ostrow got a service ace. Ithaca called a timeout up by five at 22-17. Jasuta got a kill from the outside at 23-20. Ithaca won the third set 25-20 after an attack error by the Ephs and a match point kill by Ithaca.
Ultimately, Williams lost to Ithaca College in the NCAA Regional First Round in straight sets (21-25, 17-25, 20-25) on Friday night.
Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey remarked on the match when she explained, "This was a tough one tonight. Ithaca played incredibly well from the start and out of the gate we never really could build any momentum."
Commenting on the season as a whole, Coach Kelsey added, "Overall, though, I am incredibly proud of this team and how hard they fought this entire year. For our seniors, there are going to be some big shoes to fill as they have been the heart and soul of our program and helped elevate Williams Volleyball to new heights. They have been amazing members of our volleyball family and I have been honored to coach them these past four years."
Finally, Coach Kelsey exclaimed, "Overall this entire group is an outstanding group of people both on and off the court. I have loved coming to work every day and coaching this team and I am so proud of all they have done this season!"