Williamstown, MA –– Williams (9-10, 4-5 in NESCAC) had a busy weekend ahead of them as they hosted the New England Challenge Tournament held in Lasell and Chandler Gymnasiums on Friday and Saturday. The guests of the tournament were Springfield College (14-9, 4-4 in Conference), MIT (22-1, 8-0 in Conference), Middlebury College (14-5, 5-3 in NESCAC), Tufts University (15-5, 8-0 in NESCAC), and Babson College (17-4, 6-2 in Conference). Tonight, the Ephs match up against Springfield College in Lasell. The Ephs have a double-header tomorrow on the second and final day of the tournament. The Ephs face off against MIT at 11:00AM and Babson at 3:30PM.
The first set began with energy in Lasell as Springfield took home the first point. Both teams showed off strong offense and aggressive net play. Springfield took an early up 4-0 after an ace. The Ephs shook off early nerves with a timeout down at 6-0. Back from the timeout, the Ephs came out strong but Springfield maintained control. The Ephs got a point off of a tip at 7-1. Ostrow earned a strong kill at 7-3. Allison Frison entered for the Ephs and provided strong defensive skills. The Ephs took control of the tempo, and Morgan Richman entered for the Ephs as the deficit narrowed to five at 10-5. Takashima provided critical digs to set Ostrow up for the attack. However, Springfield got the point at 11-5 to maintain their lead. Tess Richman and Alex Newton teamed up for a block on the outside hitter and earned the point off of a tip by Newton. Springfield maintained their lead after a deep hit. Springfield posted up a block at 15-9.
The Ephs called another timeout to talk things over. At 16-11, Newton earned an ace. Newton continued to show powerful serves as the Ephs dug deep to narrow the deficit. Weinland and Albright teamed up for a block with the score narrowed to two at 16-14. Springfield called their first timeout to pause the game.
Back from the timeout, Newton earned a tough ace. Newton earned another ace to tie things up at 16-16. Weinland attacked from the outside to tie again at 17-17. Both teams showed impressive energy as the Ephs rallied to maintain the edge. Springfield called a timeout now trailing at 19-17. The Ephs hoped to take home the first set as the crowd in Lasell provided electric cheering. Weinland and Ostrow teamed up for a block on the outside hitter as the Ephs sustained their lead. The Ephs took home the first set 25-17 after an energetic first set.
The Ephs began the second set with vigor after a quick kill by Weinland, Allison Frison entered for the Ephs to serve up 2-0. The Ephs kept the edge at 3-0 after an ace from Frison. Takashima provided a steady dig to set Ostrow up for the attack with a consistent set by Newton. Albright had a fast attack from the middle and earned the kill after a tricky pass from the middle. Springfield found back to narrow their deficit to one at 7-6. The Ephs called a timeout down as Springfield took the edge.
Back on the court, the Ephs were down by three at 10-7. Morgan Richman had multiple digs to defend against Springfield attacks but Springfield ultimately eared a kill. Denham had a strong kill from the outside down by two at 12-10. Weinland earned a big kill from the outside down by one at 15-14. Tied at 17-17, Morgan Richman entered to serve for the Ephs. Newton had a strong individual block on the Springfield outside hitter. Springfield called a timeout down by one at 18-17.
With the ball back in play, Springfield had a strong outside kill to tie things up at 18-18. Tess Richman earned a deep kill with the Ephs up 21-18. Tess Richman tipped from the middle, and Takashima set up Newton for a kill from the right side. Newton showed off versatile skills with consistent setting as well as strong kills. Albright attacked from the right side to give the Ephs the critical edge at 23-22. Springfield rally back with notable attacking. The Ephs called a timeout down by one at 24-23. Back on the court, both team were hoping to win the second set. Weinland earned an essential outside kill to tie at 24-24. Springfield hit through the block to take the edge at 25-24. Weinland hit through the Springfield block to tie again at 25-25. With win-by-two in effect the pressure was on for both teams. Springfield won the second set 27-25 after attacking errors.
With one set apiece, both teams fought hard in the third set. The Ephs took an early 2-1. Alison Frisson entered for the Ephs up 3-1. The Ephs held a short lead with strong serves and attacks from both sides. The tension continued as the score was tied up at 12-12. Takashima had killed defensive digs to keep the ball in play. Ostrow attacked and Weindland took home the point with a tip at 14-13. Morgan Richman entered for the Ephs at 16-15. Springfield called a timeout down by one at 17-16. Tess Richman and Erin Denham teamed up for a block on the Springfield hitter back from the timeout. Denham earned a critical edge at 21-20. Denham earned another outside kill, leading Springfield to take a timeout down by two at 22-20. Denham and Weinland provided strong hits from the left and right pins respectively. Denham powered through the Springfield block to get to match point. Newton offered up fast float serves. The Ephs won the third set 25-21 after a Springfield error at match point.
The Ephs had the opportunity to win the game in four sets. The fourth set started off with a quick kill by Albright. Allison Frison entered to serve for the Ephs. Ostrow got an outside kill up 3-0. Springfield had strong offensive as they tied things up at 3-3. The Ephs responded with a long rally but Springfield took home the point with a block on the Ephs outside hitter. Tied at 5-5, the Ephs had strong communication skills as they dug multiple Springfield attacks to keep the ball alive. The Ephs took control of the energy to lead at 7-5 after critical defensive coverage by Morgan Richman. Denham had a big outside kill with an important assist by Newton. After an impressive rally with attacks from both teams, Tess Richman earned the point with a middle kill. Williams maintained the lead up by four at 12-8. Newton set the ball in play with a strong jump serve. Springfield called a timeout down by five at 13-8. Weinland had a determined outside kill to maintain the edge. The Ephs lead widened at 16-10 as they maintained strong communication. Albright earned an ace at 17-10 as the energy mounted in Lasell. Weindland dumped the ball to line up 19-11. The Ephs maintained an energetic pace with consistent serving and strong attacks. The chants grew in Lasell at 23-14 as the Ephs lead widened. Albright had a cohesive middle block to take the Ephs to match point. The Ephs took home the fourth and final set 25-17.
The Ephs beat Springfield in a rowdy match in Lasell in four sets with the set scores 25-17, 25-27, 25-21, and 25-17. Tomorrow, the Ephs will transition downstairs to Chandler with their first match against MIT starting off at 11:00AM.