Williamstown, MA – Williams College (10-5, 3-2 NESCAC) opened up a home conference weekend with a match against Colby College (5-13, 1-5 NESCAC). The first set proved to be the decisive factor in Williams's victory as it gave the Ephs the necessary momentum to sweep the Mules.
In the first set, Williams jumped out to an early 8-1 lead after the dominant serving of senior Alexandra Newton and sophomore Lydia Kurtz. These runs were highlighted by two kills and an ace from Lydia Kurtz, an ace from Alexandra Newton, two kills from sophomore Olivia Hindy, and a kill from junior Lauren Barry. The early strong play of Williams set the tone for the rest of the set and match. From here, Colby was never able to gain momentum. Olivia Hindy had a ferocious kill to give the Ephs a 17-8 lead, and after this, Williams coasted to the 25-9 victory. In this set, Colby was highlighted by two kills each from sophomore Natalie Simonton and senior Nicole Petherbridge.
Williams was looking to build on their dominant play for the second set, but this set was much closer. Williams freshman Morgan Persky's solo block gave the Ephs an 8-5 lead, but Colby was not fazed. After a Williams attack error, Colby's Nicole Petherbridge stepped up to the service line and rattled the Ephs with two powerful aces, narrowing the Williams lead to 10-9. However, Williams collected themselves, and behind the intelligent arm of Alexandra Newton, the Ephs marched on a four-point run and took a 16-11 lead. After this, the Ephs only allowed five more points from the Mules and cruised to the 25-16 win.
The third set was a crafty one with a lot of hustle and smart plays from both teams. The turning point came from a kill from Williams freshman Christina Conforti. This gave Williams the 11-8 lead and curbed Colby's rising momentum. From here, the Ephs went on a seven-point run to expand the lead to 17-8, and this was highlighted by an exciting, monstrous double block from Williams's Morgan Persky and junior Lauren Barry. Colby was unable to recover and tried to rally behind a kill from Nicole Petherbridge, but the Williams lead was insurmountable as the Ephs ultimately won 25-10. For this match, Colby leaders were: Nicole Petherbridge with five kills, freshman Morgan Selby with twelve assists, and Morgan Selby with nine digs. Williams leaders were: Olivia Hindy and Lauren Barry with seven kills each, Alexandra Newton with fifteen assists, and senior Daiana Takashima with seventeen digs.
Head coach Christi Kelsey commented, "It's nice to be home and have another awesome turnout of fans. We really appreciate the students and community members coming out to support our crew. Overall tonight, we focused a lot on our team game and certain things in our system that we wanted to execute, and I thought we did an awesome job of focusing on those things. I'm really proud of them for getting another conference win, and we're hoping to get another one tomorrow!"
The Ephs play next at home on Saturday, October 12th against Bates College at 2:00 PM EDT.