Williamstown, MA – Williams College (7-6, 2-2 NESCAC) took on Bowdoin College (11-1, 4-0 NESCAC) in Friday, September 28th's home matchup.
In the first set, Williams senior Roxi Corbeil came out with two powerful kills to get the Ephs fired up. This wasn't enough as Bowdoin used a kill from freshman Sophie Pahl to tie the set at 7-7. From here, Bowdoin went on a six-point run from two errors, an ace by Sophie Pahl, a kill by junior Caroline Flaharty, and a kill by senior Sydney Salle to lead 12-7. In the middle of the set, Williams was determined to not go away as junior Alex Newton had an overpass for a kill to give the Ephs some momentum. A dominating block by freshman Olivia Hindy and Roxi Corbeil and a kill by senior Mia Weinland built on Newton's dig. Another kill from Mia Weinland, a kill from junior Erin Denham, and an error brought Williams within one point of Bowdoin. From here, the set was played very tightly. Bowdoin utilized an error, an ace by Sophie Pahl, and a kill by Sydney Salle to push their lead to 21-18, but Williams was not going to quit. The momentum shift was Erin Denham getting in the zone and coming up big with three kills at the end: a ferocious mid court shot, a line shot during a long, intense rally, and a roll shot off a block. An error and a block by Erin Denham and Olivia Hindy also helped push Williams to the victory of 26-24.
Using the energy from the first set, Roxi Corbeil came out swinging and started Williams off with two dominating kills. Bowdoin tied the set at 4-4 with a kill from Sydney Salle. Then, Bowdoin proceeded to go on a five-point run behind three errors and two kills from freshman Allyson Hawkins. This provided to be the spark needed by Bowdoin as the set never got closer than four points. The set was filled with intense rallies and exceptional hustle by both teams. Bowdoin won this set 25-20.
To start the third set, Williams built a lead of 10-3, and this effort was led by three kills from Mia Weinland, a kill from senior Tess Richman, a kill by freshman Lydia Kurtz, an error, and two aces from junior Daiana Takashima. The high energy play by Williams shifted the set's momentum, and the Ephs contributed intelligent serves, powerful kills, and blocks resembling walls to further advance the score. In this set, Bowdoin never got closer than seven points but was highlighted by five kills from Caroline Flaharty. Williams won the set 25-13.
For the fourth set, Bowdoin formulated a lead of 9-5 behind two kills from Sophie Pahl, a kill from Sydney Salle, and an error. Bowdoin continued to build this lead, and a key shift for Bowdoin was two kills from sophomore Ashley Williams and a kill from freshman Cori Gray. Williams battled hard, but after Bowdoin's runs, the Ephs were unable to get closer than four points. Bowdoin won this set 25-20.
The fifth set began in a back and forth affair. A tie at 5-5 was broken by Bowdoin with a powerful cross-court shot by Caroline Flaharty and a Williams error. A block by Bowdoin's Cory Gray and Caroline Flaharty along with a joust won by Cori Gray pushed the Bowdoin lead to 11-7. Lydia Kurtz's serves brought the Ephs within two points, but Bowdoin used the energy from a kill by Ashley Williams to surge to a victory of 15-11. Bowdoin leaders were: Ashley Williams and Sydney Salle with fourteen kills, sophomore Kate Kiser with fifty-three assists, and senior Lisa Sheldon with twenty-two digs. Williams leaders were: Mia Weinland with twenty-four kills, Alex Newton with forty-four assists, and Daiana Takashima with twenty-nine digs.
Head coach Christi Kelsey commented, "We were playing some of our best volleyball after going to Chicago, and we knew tonight was going to be a battle. I thought there was a lot of really great volleyball tonight from both sides. We're trying to do the things that we do well for longer stretches and under different kinds of competitive stretches. Sometimes, that goes your way, and you get a lead. That feels a little different compared to when you have to come from behind and do different things. Ultimately, there were a lot of great things tonight, and we're just grateful we get another opportunity to play tomorrow."
The Ephs play next at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, September 29th at home against Tufts University.