WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College Ephs (3-4/1-1 NESCAC) defeated the Connecticut College Camels (6-2/0-2 NESCAC) in three sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-18) on Saturday afternoon in Chandler gym to conclude their first NESCAC conference weekend. After last night's loss against the Wesleyan Cardinals, the Ephs were looking forward to getting back on the court.
Last season, the Ephs defeated the Camels in four sets in Connecticut (25-10, 25-21, 15-25, 25-22). Conn College was fresh off an away Friday night game at Hamilton, where Hamilton beat Conn in four sets (23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 16-25).
The starters for the Ephs were Ally Ostrow '19, Alex Newton '20, Erin Denham '20, Tess Richman '19, Daiana Takashima '20, and Morgan Richman '19. The Ephs fought hard in the first set. Strong offensive plays on the frontline of the Camels and aggressive serving on the backline of the Ephs brought the score to 15-13. Denham and Richman were an aggressive presence on the net. Mia Weinland '19 in for Ostrow. Alicia Blanco '21 in for Denham. The Ephs and Camels fought back and forth to reach with the EPhs down 21-19 with Ostrow back on the serving line. An aggressive hit by Denham made it 21-20. A tricky tip by Newton tied it up to 21-21. The crowd in Chandler added to the energy in the gym. With Takashima back to serve, Denham had a big kill on the outside, getting the Ephs up 23-22. Takashima's serving dominated over the Camel's serve-receive and the Ephs took the first set (25-22). Denham was an important part in the Ephs' offense as she tallied up 5 out of the 8 kills and had a hitting percentage of .333% for the first set.
The second set began with the Camels taking an early lead and going on an 8-point run with setter Grace McGee on the back line. Williams pushed back with Mia Weinland scoring an explosive hit on the outside and Natalie Albright following up with a quick kill from the middle that got the Ephs' sideline jumping with excitement being down a point. The Ephs' successful offense and an ace by Newton tied the teams up to 13. A timeout was called by Connecticut College Ccoach Josh Edmed.
Back from timeout, the Ephs and Camels went head-to-head. Richman scored a well-placed tip in the middle off of a set from Newton to push the Ephs ahead 18-17. Williams College coach Christi Kelsey called a timeout at with the Ephs trailing 20-18. A kill by Weinland and a service ace by Ostrow tied it up to 20. A long rally brought the Ephs to match point, 24-22. But Conn tied the match at 24. A kill by Richman made it 25-24. The Ephs pushed through with Blanco on the serving line and recorded an ace to take the second set 26-24.
The Ephs started off strong in the third set and went up 6-5 after staying active on the net and executing great serves on the back line. Conn College's outside hitter Katie Howley had a big presence on the net with 3 kills within 5 points, bringing the Camels to an 11-7 lead. The Ephs fought back hard with aggressive serves and powerful hits at the front line by Denham and Albright to push past Conn and led 15-14. A successful connection by Denham and Newton brought the Ephs to 16-14. With the Ephs up 20-16, coach Edmed called a timeout. With the Camel's Grace Mcgee on the back line, Conn pushed forward 20-18. An aggressive block by Weinland ended a long rally at 22-18. Coach Edmed called his second timeout. Back from timeout, Albright earned an ace, Richman killed an overpass on the opposite, and an attack swiftly led the Ephs to a three set sweep (25-18). Denham and Richman had the most kills for the Ephs, earning 14 and 6 respectively. While Albright had an impressive hitting percentage of .429%.
Next week, the team has an out of conference game on Wednesday September 20th at MCLA at 7:00 PM. Then they will play at Hamilton on Friday at 8:00 PM, Ramapo on Saturday at 11:00 AM and NYU at 1:00 PM at the Ramapo Invitational.
Coach Kelsey commented on the win, "We talked a lot in our pregame about trying to make some adjustments and working on our mentality and continuing to find the energy to push. I think the girls really took that to heart, there was a definite change in their mentality, not just the people on the floor, but the bench was amazing in terms of their energy. At the end of the day, they're emotionally and physically spent, all fourteen of them. It was a great team effort, and I cannot be more proud of the change that they made."
Looking ahead in the season schedule, Coach Kelsey explained, "It'll be great to get back out. We've got a long stretch with a mid-week match against MCLA, who is a good team. We're back out again on the road for the next three weeks, and that will be a big test for us. But if we can build off what we did today, there's a very bright future ahead of us."