Williamstown, MA–– The Ephs (4-4, 1-1 in NESCAC) returned home to Chandler for a Tuesday night game against MCLA (5-7, 0-1 in Conf) after an away conference weekend where the Ephs went 1-1. On Satuday, the Ephs beat Bowdoin (25-23, 16-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13) in five sets after being down two sets to none. The Ephs hoped to continue the momentum this week. On Friday, the Ephs will play rival Amherst (4-2, 1-1 in NESCAC) in a Friday night away match.
The first set began with a strong starting six for the Ephs. Ally Ostrow '19, Morgan Richman '19, Roxi Corbeil '19, Tori Jasuta '17, Alex Newton '20, and Natalie Albright '20 brought vigor to the court from the onset of the match. Newton started things off with a strong float serve. Up 3-1, the Ephs capitalized on an overpass by MCLA and Ostrow earned an outside kill after strong defensive coverage by Caitie Benell '17. Up 4-3, Albright got a point after a tricky tip in the middle. Ostrow maintained the momentum with a line kill from the outside at 7-5. Newton and Richman teamed up for a kill from the right side at 8-7.
Benell showcased her signature jump serve during the first set. Up 11-8, Newton and Albright worked together and ran a slide to earn a point for the Ephs. At 14-10, the Newton ran plays with both Corbeil and Ostrow and after an impressive rally the Ephs got a kill from the outside. Capitalizing on a free ball, Ostrow demonstrated her varied offensive skills with a tip to a hole in the MCLA coverage.
Down 16-11, MCLA called their first timeout of the match. Diana Takashima '20 subbed in back from the timeout. Newton demonstrated her setting skills and tipped to earn a point at 19-13. Jasuta placed her hit carefully and got a kill to the corner line of the opposite side at 21-14. The Ephs communicated well during the first set with the hitters calling their hits and all of the players remaining vocal. Down 22-14, MCLA called their second timeout of the match. Corbeil powered through the MCLA double block at 24-15 to put the Ephs at match point. Williams won the first set 25-15.
Chandler filled up as the Ephs hoped to continue their success during the second set. Jasuta earned a kill at the right pin at 1-1. Ostrow tipped again and Jasuta followed that play with a strong float serve. Up 5-3, Takashima earned a service ace. Ostow added a point to the score with an explosive hit form the outside at 7-4. The Ephs maintained their lead during the second set up 10-4. Down 14-6, MCLA called a timeout. The Ephs showed successful attacks in a variety of forms with tips, kills, and blocks from the front line.
Benell continued to serve consistently back from the timeout. At 16-8, Ostrow hit confidently from back row. Up 20-9, Corbeil had a sharp middle kill to widen the Ephs' lead. Takashima earned another ace to set the score at 22-10. Erin Denham '20, got a kill from the left pin to set the score at match point. Another kill from Denham won the set for the Ephs 25-10.
The third set proved decisive for Williams. Denham remained an offensive force with a kill from the outside at 2-1. At 4-3, Newton and Albright teamed up for a fast-paced middle kill. At 7-4, Benell earned a service ace. Richman converted an MCLA overpass into a kill up 9-4. Another ace by Benell added to the lead at 10-4. At 13-6, Denham earned a kill with a set to the outside from Newton. Corbeil attacked from the right side at 17-9. MCLA followed with a timeout. Bringing the score to match point, Ostrow got a cross-court kill from the left pin. The Ephs won the third and final set 25-14. Ultimately, the Ephs played consistently during the match to win against MCLA in three sets (25-15, 25-10, 25-14).
Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey spoke about today's match. She said, "Overall I thought this was a solid, consistent and steady performance for our team. Everyone contributed in terms of performance and honestly, Im just really proud of how this group has made it a team priority to grow and get better everyday. They are feeding off of each other's successes on court and creating some really great energy around our program right now."
The Ephs are looking forward to their match against Amherst on Friday. Coach Kelsey added, "As for Amherst on Friday, it will be a battle as always. Coach Everden always puts together a talented group so it will be another fun opportunity for us to improve and compete in a NESCAC matchup!"