Bloomington, IL – Williams (7-5) concluded play at the Illinois Wesleyan Invitational with matches against University of Chicago (15-2) and Illinois Wesleyan University (9-5).
The first match of the day was played against University of Chicago. In the first set, Chicago went on a four-point run behind two aces, an error, and a kill from freshman Audra Berg. Chicago improved on this lead throughout the set to never let the Ephs get closer than three points, and Chicago ultimately won 25-17. For Williams in this set, senior Roxi Corbeil had three kills.
The second set was played very closely with seven ties. The gap between the two teams was never larger than three points. Nearing the end of the set, Williams showed extreme grit to break the 20-20 tie. Junior Alex Newton had a ferocious serve to give the Ephs the lead. From here, the Ephs rode the momentum to a victory of 25-22.
In the third set, the Ephs jumped out to a lead of 3-1 behind an error, a kill by freshman Olivia Hindy, and a kill by junior Erin Denham. Chicago did not go away and came from behind to take a lead of 9-5. This resulted from Chicago capitalizing on four Williams errors, a kill by sophomore Emma Griffith, a kill by Audra Berg, and two kills from senior Sarah Muisenga. The closest this set got was two points. Williams had a late rally behind two kills from Roxi Corbeil, a kill from freshman Lydia Kurtz, a kill by Olivia Hindy, and an error. Chicago ended up winning this set 25-22.
For the fourth set, Chicago went up 6-2 and used this start to then go on a nine-point run behind five Williams errors, a kill by Audra Berg, a kill by Sarah Muisenga, and two kills by junior Annabella Pinton. Williams was unable to recover from this run, and Chicago won this set 25-9. The Chicago leaders from this match were Annabella Pinton with eighteen kills, Emma Griffith with fifty-one assists, and Katherine Wilson with eighteen digs. The Williams leaders were Olivia Hindy and Roxi Corbeil with eight kills, Alex Newton with thirty-three assists, and sophomore Allison Frison with fourteen digs.
For the second match of the day, Williams played Illinois Wesleyan University. The Ephs built a lead of 8-3 behind the powerful serving of Alex Newton and Allison Frison. To tie the set up at 9-9, Illinois Wesleyan rallied behind the serving of senior Rachel Burkman. From here, the set was played very closely with the momentum changer being the serving of Illinois Wesleyan freshman Madi Corey. This tied the set at 16-16, and Illinois Wesleyan rode this energy to a 25-20 victory.
In the second set, Williams and Illinois Wesleyan started off with long rallies and hustle plays. The momentum shift was with Illinois Wesleyan leading 10-9. Illinois Wesleyan went on a four-point run behind an error, an ace, a kill from senior Tyler Brown, and another kill by Rachel Burkman. This provided to be the spark needed for Illinois Wesleyan to coast to a win of 25-15.
The third set began with the Ephs jumping out to a lead behind kills from senior Tess Richman. It was a battle between both teams, and the momentum shift was with Illinois Wesleyan leading 11-9. From here, Illinois Wesleyan went on a three-point run, and the set appeared to be going in Illinois Wesleyan's favor. Williams made things interesting with a four-point run behind three errors and a kill from Olivia Hindy. Then, junior Daiana Takashima had an incredible dig to keep the play alive for the Ephs and force the tie at 23-23. This athletic dig propelled the Ephs to win 26-24.
In the fourth set, the Ephs were looking to build on their play from the third. The first few plays were played very tightly with many phenomenal, long rallies. Illinois Wesleyan had a lead of 7-6 and then proceeded to go on a four-point run led by two aces, an error, and a kill by senior Tyler Brown. This run and a six-point run helped Illinois Wesleyan build a very strong lead. The Ephs would not go away though and battled back to bring the game within five points. Ultimately, Illionis Wesleyan won 25-20. For this match, Illinois Wesleyan leaders were Rachel Burkman with nineteen digs, Madi Corey with twenty assists, and Tyler Brown with twenty-three digs. Williams leaders were Lydia Kurtz with eleven kills, Alex Newton with thirty-two assists, and Daiana Takashima with nineteen digs.
Regarding the out of region tournament, head coach, Christi Kelsey, remarked, "Overall, I'm really proud of our entire team for this whole weekend. I know it may not necessarily show up in the wins and losses, but we've honestly played some of our best volleyball yet against some strong competition here in the Midwest. We got contributions from everyone this weekend, and overall this group continues to impress me with how focused they are on the process and not just the end result. We're looking forward to getting back home and continuing conference play next weekend!"
The Ephs play next with a home match against Bowdoin College at 7:00 P.M. on September 28th and another home match against Tufts University at 2:00 P.M. on September 29th. Both of these are conference matchups.