Volleyball Ends Season with Tough Loss in NESCAC Semifinals to Middlebury
Issue   |   Thu, 11/10/2016 - 23:26
Mark Box
Defensive specialist Kate Antion ’18 added four points to Amherst’s total.

The 2016-17 season came to an end this past Saturday for the Amherst volleyball team as they fell to the second seeded Middlebury 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-23) in the NESCAC semifinals. Top-seeded Tufts hosted the three-day conference tournament, which began Friday, Nov. 4 and concluded on Sunday, Nov. 6.

The third seeded purple and white first took on little three rival Wesleyan in the quarterfinal match on Friday. Wesleyan proved no match for the Firedogs as Amherst emerged victorious from the match in three dominating sets. The team took the first set 25-20 and never looked back, winning the second and third sets by increasingly large margins, 25-16 and 25-14, respectively.

Maggie Danner ’17 paced the offensive effort with 15 kills. Three players, Mia Natsis ’18, Lauren Reppert ’19 and Annika Reczek ’18, each contributed to the team’s overall impressive defensive effort with two blocks against the Cardinals.

Hayes Honea ’19 was a defensive force, accumulating 22 digs. Honea also served up one ace during the match. Charlotte Duran ’20 and Nicole Gould ’17 provided a single service ace a piece in addition to Honea’s, while Duran also helped direct the offense with a team-high 21 assists. Kate Bres ’17 supported Duran’s efforts, adding on an additional 19 helpers.

With their victory over the Cardinals, the purple and white advanced to the conference semifinals the following day.
In three sets, Amherst fell to Middlebury for the second time this season. Despite an impressive 13 kill and three-block performance from Danner, the Amherst women were unable to hold off the eventual NESCAC champions.

Seniors Bres, Danner, Gould and Kelci Keeno capped their decorated careers with a valiant effort in the final collegiate volleyball match they will play. Bres handed out 22 assists, while Gould tacked on eight kills and Keeno provided two of the team’s three service aces. Honea remained a dominant defensive force up until the end of her season, diving for 19 digs. Asha Walker ’18 tallied an additional 13 digs.

With this heartbreaking loss, the purple and white concludes its season with an overall record of 17-9 and conference record of 7-3. With the Panther’s victory over the previously undefeated Tufts in the conference final, Middlebury automatically qualified for postseason play in the NCAA Division III tournament.

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