Williamstown, MA – Williams College (14-10, 5-5 NESCAC) took on Amherst College (19-5, 7-3 NESCAC) for the final match of regular season conference play. The four Williams seniors were honored before this match: Alexandra Newton, Natalie Albright, Erin Denham, and Daiana Takashima. Amherst claimed the match victory in three sets.
In the first set, Williams held a 13-11 lead after dynamic play from Erin Denham with three kills, and sophomore Lydia Kurtz with four kills. However, a kill from Amherst's sophomore Sophie Launsbach gave Amherst back the ball, and the Mammoths proceeded to go on four-point run to take the lead, 16-13. Williams took a timeout and forced a service error, but Mammoth Sophie Launsbach answered with a kill to maintain a 17-14 lead. From here, Amherst controlled the rest of the set and was victorious, 25-17.
Amherst jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the second set with the help of three kills from senior Emily Kolsky. However, Williams was determined to battle and embarked on an 8-1 stretch. This Eph effort was instigated by sophomore Olivia Hindy playing a ball off the Amherst block and maintained by the strong serving of Alexandra Newton. Williams took the lead, 14-12. From here, both teams battled back and forth. Williams appeared to make a final push when freshman Christina Conforti and junior Lauren Barry teamed up for a block, forcing an Amherst timeout. After the timeout, Eph Alexandra Newton stepped up to the service line, unfazed by the timeout, and drilled a float serve over the net for the service ace. This narrowed the Amherst lead to 23-22. However, Amherst's junior Jamie Dailey responded with a kill and was followed up by a kill from senior Claire Dennis to claim the set, 25-22.
In the third set, Amherst opened with a 5-0 run behind the strong serving arm of senior Charlotte Duran. Eph Olivia Hindy stopped this run with a kill, but Amherst had set the tone. Mammoth sophomore Skyleur Savage continued the powerful serving and pushed the Amherst lead to 13-2. Williams then made a substitution for freshman Renee Depencier Pinero, who received the next serve and passed it perfectly to Alexandra Newton. Alexandra Newton sent a perfect set across the court to Erin Denham who powered it down for a kill to give the Ephs a point. The Amherst lead was too large for Williams, but the Ephs mustered a late comeback behind a kill from Lauren Barry, a kill from Lydia Kurtz, and a double block from Lydia Kurtz and Olivia Hindy. This forced an Amherst timeout, and after the timeout, Olivia Hindy had a kill off of an Amherst overpass, narrowing the Mammoth lead to 21-13. However, Amherst Jamie Dailey responded with a kill, and from here, the Mammoths cruised to the 25-15 victory.
Amherst leaders were: Emily Kolsky with twelve kills, Charlotte Duran and freshman Jacqueline Kortekaas with eighteen assists each, and Skyleur Savage with fifteen digs. Williams leaders were: Lydia Kurtz with ten kills, Alexandra Newton with eleven assists, and Daiana Takashima with nineteen digs.
Following the match, the four Williams seniors reflected on their time in Chandler Gymnasium and their experience with Williams Volleyball. Alexandra Newton commented, "It's always been a really fun space to focus on what's going on in the gym with my volleyball family. It's fun to play together with this team, who I've grown up with over these four years." Then, Erin Denham remarked, "It's a great break to have from academics, and it's a great bunch of people we get to grow with over the four years." Daiana Takashima followed with, "It's been my home since day one, and this was the first place we spent all of our time. Like Alex said, it's a volleyball family." Natalie Albright agreed with her teammates and added, "My teammates have been my closest friends. It's my favorite space to come because we hang out all the time, and I love this team."
The Ephs are seeded sixth in the NESCAC Tournament and will play third seeded Baowdoin at Tufts on Friday night at 7:30 PM..