WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams (2-4/0-1 NESAC) lost to the undefeated Wesleyan University Cardinals (6-0/1-0 NESCAC) in three sets in their first conference matchup of the season (26-24, 28-26, 25-16).
The Ephs were excited to host their first home game of their 2017 season in Chandler gym. Last season, the Ephs lost to the Cardinals in a nail-biting five set game (25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 15-25, 17-19).
The first set ended up being an exciting victory for the Cardinals (26-24). The Ephs started strong with a good defensive move by Ally Ostrow and a net error on the other side resulting in a 2-0 Eph lead. Denham played smart and earned a tip behind Wesleyan's opposite hitter. Roxi Corbeil and Natalie Albright paired up for a dominating block on the opposite. On her first set of the game, Alex Newton completed her 1000th set in her collegiate career. The Cardinals crept back with an opposite kill by Wesleyan's defensive specialist Robi Frederick. Corbeil was substituted out by Allison Frison '19. Chandler Gym had a roaring crowd that resulted in great energy to fuel the Ephs. Another kill by Denham led the team to a 10-7 lead. The Cardinals crept past the Ephs by a blocking error on the outside 14-13. An exciting point ended with a kill by the Cardinals making it 20-17. Timeout called by Wesleyan Coach Ben Somera at 20-19. On a serve receive from Madeline Lundberg, Corbeil got a kill to get the Ephs back to speed down 22-21. Denham scored a much needed kill on the outside to tie it up 23-23. Wesleyan however prevailed 26-24..
At the beginning of the second set, Corbeil got a powerful kill and got the crowd going tying it up 1-1. The Ephs went on a run after a few errors by the Cardinals 4-1. The Cardinals middle Nicole Hilton got a kill to get the Cardinals up to 5-5. Two well-placed blocks pushed the Ephs ahead to 7-6. A strong serving run by Madeleine Lundburg led the Cardinals to a 9-6 lead. Corbeil responded with a killer offensive hit to get the Ephs to witin two, 12-10.
Eph coach Christi Kelsey called timeout with the Cardinals up 14-11 to break the Cardinals' momentum and the Ephs responded with a laser offensive hit by middle hitter Tess Richman. Alex Newton had an aggressive presence at the net and pushed over to stop an overpass and got the Ephs to within one, down 15-14. A well placed tip by the Cardinals in the campfire of the court led the Cardinals to a 18-15 lead. Despite a few errors at the net, the Ephs fought back and stayed aggressive, down 21-19.. Another good defensive dig by Daiana Takashima and a well-placed tip by Newton got the Ephs tied at 21-21. An ace by the Cardinals outside hitter Harper Graves tied the score at 23-23. On the second game point for the Cardinals Richman got a kill from the middle to tiethe score at 26. A cross hit by the Cardinals outside hitter and a hitting error by Ostrow led the Cardinals to a 28-26 victory in the second set.
Down two sets, the Ephs were fighting to extend the match. The third set started off with a 3-point lead by the Cardinals. A combination of good offensive plays and aggressive elevated the Cardinals' lead to 7-3. Mia Weinland '19 in for Ostrow at the outside to change the momentum.. Freshman Alicia Blanco '21 back at the serving line fashioned a 3-point run to get the Ephs back on the scoreboard but they trailed 11-6. Smartly placed tips by both Newton and Denham and a service ace by Newton got the Ephs up to made it 16-11 in Wesleyan's favor. Good offensive plays by the Cardinals got them up to eight point lead 20-12. The Cardinals claimed the set 25-16.
Eph head coach Christi Kelsey liked how the Ephs competed in the first two sets and is looking forward to seeing the team get more confidence as the season progresses. Kelsey thought the substitutions off the bench also did a good job and complemented the starters on the court.
Coach Kelsey is anticipating tomorrow's second home game against Connecticut College at 2pm in Chandler gym.