Just when it seemed that the Firedogs were gathering some valuable momentum, the squad lost three straight contests, dropping to 11-8 on the season.
On their second-to-last weekend of regular season play, the Lady Jeffs dropped each non-conference game at the Hall of Fame Classic by a 3-1 score. The matches were held at the homes of local rivals Smith and Mount Holyoke.
The first setback came against Springfield on Friday, Oct. 19. Emily Waterhouse ’13 turned in a solid effort, adding 10 digs to her 16 kills, but her performance proved not to be enough. The Jeffs dropped the first set of the day, 25-19, but proceeded to bounce back with a 25-12 drubbing in the second set.
Unable, however, to carry over their success in the subsequent set, the Jeffs fell by a mere 25-23 score before losing the final frame by a convincing 25-16 margin.
Hoping to respond, the Firedogs took on Wellesley College at crosstown Mount Holyoke on Saturday, Oct. 20. This time, the Jeffs jumped out to an early lead, taking the first set in easy fashion (25-14).
The Blue, however, would not be denied, mounting a furious comeback and winning each of the next three sets (25-16, 25-19, 25-23). Lauren Antion ’15 led the Jeffs with 15 kills, while Nicole Carter ’16 added 31 assists, but, once again, their efforts did not result in a victory. The win moved Wellesley to a formidable 24-4, while the Firedogs fell to 11-7 and hoped to salvage the weekend by taking the nightcap.
On Saturday night, the Jeffs faced another tough opponent in MIT, and, once again, the Amherst squad simply could not find a way to win. The Firedogs looked outmatched early, dropping the first two sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-17.
Still, the Jeffs would not go quietly; they bounced back to win the third set, 25-18. The fourth set turned out to be a thriller, but the Engineers pulled out the victory in the end, taking the match with a 29-27 triumph. For the Firedogs, Kristin Keeno ’13 contributed 24 digs in the loss, while Carter chipped in with 28 assists.
With two NESCAC games looming on the schedule this weekend, the Firedogs, though they are undoubtedly demoralized, cannot afford to be so for long. After a Wednesday night (Oct. 24) tune-up at Smith, the Jeffs will travel to Colby and Bates as they try to gather a head of steam for the upcoming NESCAC Championship tournament (Nov. 2). The Mules carry a record identical to that of the Jeffs (11-8), while the the Bobcats have lost four of their last five and should also be a manageable opponent for the Firedogs. Make no mistake, however, that the Firedogs must play their best.