The volleyball team’s games this season are not for the faint of heart.
The cardiac kids continued their hot start to the season last week, defeating Emerson and Wesleyan before falling to Trinity and then rebounding against Johnson & Wales to bring their record to 6-2 (NESCAC 1-1).
The Firedogs squeaked out their six sets against Emerson and Wesleyan by a combined 12 points before getting blanked, 3-0, by Trinity and then trouncing the Wildcats.
The team relied on its big hitting in 3-1 win over Emerson, with three players reaching double-digit kills. Lauren Antion ’15 came up huge with 17 kills while hitting at a .351 clip, and co-captains Mary Reiser ’12 and Cristy Meier ’12 combined to put away 23 kills. Callie Neilson ’13 kept the offense going with 50 assists, while Kristen Keeno ’13 added 22 digs.
Nothing came easy against Emerson, as the Lions pushed the Firedogs in each set and even took the third game before falling, 28-26, 25-23, 20-25, 27-25. Amherst saved its best hitting for last, pulling through in a nail-biter of a fourth set featuring nine lead changes.
Friday’s match against Wesleyan followed an eerily similar path, with the team again prevailing 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23). The win marked Amherst’s fifth consecutive win over the Cardinals.
Wesleyan was 2-3 coming into the contest, but the team proved tough to put away in the NESCAC opener for the Jeffs. A pedestrian .167 hitting percentage kept Amherst from pulling away intitally, but they eventually pulled out a 2-0 match lead by winning each of the first two sets 25-23.
Despite cutting down on their errors and pulling up their hitting percentage to .320, the Jeffs dropped the third set 20-25. It wasn’t until the fourth set that they managed to pull out another 25-23 victory to capture the match.
The trio of Meier, Reiser and Antion once again led the attack, coming up with a combined 31 kills, while Keeno collected a match-high 17 kills.
The Firedogs stayed in Middletown for their Saturday showdown with undefeated Trinity, but the Bantams kept their perfect start intact, winning 3-0 (25-13, 30-28, 25-14). Hitting percentages again doomed the Firedogs, as the team never topped .106 in any of the three sets.
Their best chance came in the second game, in which the Firedogs held a 24-20 lead, but eventually lost seven straight set points. The team attempted to rally in the final set but had no answer for Trinity’s outside hitters, two of whom combined for 31 kills. Reiser led the team with seven kills, while Keeno recorded 30 digs.
After the difficult loss, the Jeffs rebounded with a crisp performance against Johnson & Wales last night, sweeping the Wildcats en route to a 25-18, 25-18, 25-15 win. Reiser dominated near the net, recording a team-high seven kills, while Keeno again led the defensive effort with a game-best 26 digs.
The Firedogs will play host to Brandeis, Coast Guard and Middlebury in the Amherst Classic next weekend.