Medford, MA – Williams College (14-11, 5-6 NESCAC) traveled to Tufts University for a NESCAC tournament quarterfinal matchup with Bowdoin College (17-6, 9-2 NESCAC). Bowdoin won in three straight sets.
In the first set, Bowdoin opened up with a 9-3 lead, led by the strong serving efforts of senior Caroline Flaharty. Williams battled back and narrowed the Bowdoin lead to 12-11 by rallying together and extending plays, forcing Bowdoin errors. Bowdoin responded with a kill from sophomore Sophia Pahl and then proceeded to push to a 16-12 lead. Williams freshman Anna Tosolini highlighted the Ephs with two kills down the stretch, but Williams was unable to recover from the Polar Bears' lead. Bowdoin was victorious, 25-20.
Play between the teams was back and forth for the beginning of the second set. Bowdoin made a break away to a 10-7 lead after a kill from Sophia Pahl and followed up with another kill from Sophia Pahl and a service ace from Caroline Flaharty. A dynamic double block from Williams sophomores Oliva Hindy and Lydia Kurtz shifted momentum to Williams and shortened the Bowdoin lead to 13-10. However, the Polar Bears forced an Ephs error and reversed the tide and energy, to push to a 19-11 lead. Eph Erin Denham powered down two kills for Williams, but Bowdoin was not fazed and pushed to the 25-16 victory.
In the third set, Williams had their backs against the wall but were determined to rally. Similar to the first set, Bowdoin leaped out to a 9-3 lead with the help of two kills from sophomore Cori Gray. Williams was not discouraged and chipped away at the Bowdoin lead. Williams made a 7-1 run which gave the Ephs the 17-16 lead. This effort was led by three kills from Erin Denham. Both teams exchanged points until Bowdoin capitalized on a service ace from freshman Ella Haugen and kill from junior Ashley Williams, taking the lead 20-18. Williams was not dissuaded and junior Lauren Barry came up clutch with a kill, followed up by a Bowdoin error, to tie the set at 20-20. However, Bowdoin finished out the set on a 6-0 run and claimed the set, 25-20.
With the win, Bowdoin advanced to play in the semifinal. Bowdoin leaders for this match were: Sophia Pahl with fourteen kills, junior Kate Kiser with nineteen assists, and junior Emily King with seventeen digs. Williams leaders were: Erin Denham with ten kills, senior Alexandra Newton with thirteen assists, and senior Daiana Takashima with sixteen digs.
Head coach Christi Kelsey reflected, "Tonight was tough as we didn't play our 100% best. To their credit, Bowdoin played well, and we put together some great stretches as well. We just couldn't get the momentum fully going in our favor. We are incredibly proud of these amazing student athletes that we are fortunate enough to coach. All season they have continued to grow and want to improve daily. They believed in the process and most importantly in each other. I want to say a special thanks to our seniors: Erin, Nat, Alex, and D. They have been incredible examples, mentors, and leaders for our team and for their dedication to our volleyball family for the past four years. We will forever be grateful."