Volleyball Finishes Season with Wins over Trinity and Wesleyan
Issue   |   Wed, 11/04/2015 - 00:44
Peter Connolly '18
Co-captain Nicole Carter '16 dished out a combined 56 assists in the Firedogs' final two regular season matches against Trinity and Wesleyan.

Amherst women’s volleyball wrapped up regular season play this week with back-to-back NESCAC wins over Trinity and Wesleyan on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, but suffered a close loss to an impressive Springfield team on Oct. 28.

The Firedogs took on a 28-2 Springfield squad at Blake Arena in Springfield on Wednesday night. After taking the first three points of the first set, the purple and white gave up the momentum, allowing Springfield seven unanswered points.
Amherst fought their way back, keeping the match close thanks to three kills by senior Lizzie Ahern and service aces from Asha Walker ’18, Hayes Honea ’19, Kelci Keeno ’17 and Nicole Carter ’16, but ultimately fell 20-25.

The second set saw tough back-and-forth play from both squads, neither team holding a lead greater than two points until Springfield grabbed the momentum with a five-point run to put them up by seven. Three successive kills by Maggie Danner ’17 helped the Firedogs stay in the game, but they couldn’t overcome the deficit and dropped the second set to Springfield 18-25.

Amherst came out strong in the third set, delivering a whopping 15 kills led by the Firedogs’ upperclassmen. Seniors Newby and Ahern had three each and Carter chipped in two, while juniors Nicole Gould and Danner added three apiece and sophomore Mia Natsis contributed one.

The set was close, with the purple and white holding a slim but steady lead. Springfield forced two lead, but Amherst kept their momentum. An Ahern kill and a Springfield attacking error clinched the set for Amherst, putting the match within reach at 2-1.

The fourth set was the closest yet, with the purple and white pulling ahead with a quick five points, unanswered by Springfield thanks to two kills by Gould and one each from Ahern and Newby.

Unfortunately, Springfield went on a run of their own late in the set with six unanswered points to bring them within two and then five more consecutive points to seal the match.

“I thought Springfield was one of our toughest opponents of the season,” Walker said. “Of course, we wanted to win, but I think the team is working well together right now.”

Amherst recovered quickly from the tough loss in Springfield to come back and sweep two NESCAC matches against Trinity and Wesleyan to close out their regular season play.

Friday night’s matchup at Trinity was highlighted by strong performances from Gould and Danner, who combined for 21 kills in the match. Carter dished out a match-high 21 assists for the Firedogs and senior libero Katie Warshaw also impressed with 19 digs. The Firedogs’ fantastic showing was capped off by Walker, who overwhelmed the Bantams with four service aces.

Amherst started the first set slowly, falling behind 6-5, before a 9-2 run from the Firedogs powered them to a 14-8 lead and a 25-16 set victory. Amherst then brought this momentum to the second set, cruising to a 25-13 win and a 2-0 advantage for the match.

The Firedogs then claimed the third set 25-19 to claim a straight sets victory. Amherst led throughout but never more than six points.

A Trinity run cut their lead to two at 15-13, but Amherst replied with a run of their own led by Walker. The sophomore floored two kills and an ace for three of the Firedogs’ final five points.

The purple and white faced another road match the next morning against NESCAC opponent Wesleyan, sweeping the Cardinals to put an exclamation point on their impressive 21-3 regular season showing.

The Firedogs took the first match easily, downing Wesleyan 25-9 after three straight kills by Ahern set the tone for the match. Several attack errors and a big kill by Natsis secured the set for Amherst.

The second set saw significantly more errors on both sides of the court, with Wesleyan making some major strides from the first match.

The purple and white still managed to overwhelm the Cardinals, however, with an impressive 18 kills and a service ace from Newby. Back-to-back kills by Danner shut down Wesleyan and ended the set for the Firedogs.

Amherst’s third and final set saw the Cardinals jump out to an early four-point lead before the purple and white answered with six straight points. The Firedogs impressed with seven service aces in the third set, one each from Carter, Warshaw and Newby, while Walker came up big with four of her own on the set.

“It was great to round out the regular season with two wins over NESCAC competition,” Walker said. “We’ll be heading into the postseason tournament with good momentum and are looking to do some damage this weekend.”

The Firedogs are seeded third in the upcoming NESCAC tournament and are set to play the sixth seed Connecticut College at Bowdoin this Friday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.

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