Volleyball Goes 3-2 in Busy Five Game Stretch, Record Moves to 6-3 Overall
Issue   |   Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:09
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Marialexis Natsis ‘18 has been a steady force for Amherst, ranking third on the team with 76 kills.

After suffering a pair of hard-fought 3-2 losses early last week to Endicott and Middlebury, the Amherst volleyball team managed to string together three consecutive wins against out-of-conference foes, gathering momentum for the weeks ahead.

The Mammoths entered last Wednesday’s contest against Endicott winners of three straight matches, but the host Gulls proved to be more than Amherst could handle. Endicott opened the match by winning the tightly-contested opening set, 25-23. However, the Mammoths bounced back to take the second set in commanding fashion, keyed largely by an 11-point run with sophomore Charlotte Duran serving.

The two teams split the next two sets, each winning by a matching scoreline of 25-22, to leave the match knotted at two sets apiece heading into the all-important fifth set. Nor did the fifth-set disappoint, as Endicott just barely managed to eke out a 20-18 win.

Similar heartbreak was waiting for Amherst in their next match-up at home against Middlebury, the team that had ended their season last year in the NESCAC tournament. With that defeat fresh in their minds, the Mammoths took a two-sets-to-one lead thanks in large part to the stellar play of Marialexis Natsis ’18 and Cameron Hendricks ’20, who combined for 39 kills. However, the Panthers managed to claw their way to a 25-22 win in the fourth set and, riding their new-found momentum, emerged victorious, 16-14, from the fifth set.

Still stinging from the pair of defeats, Amherst had little time to wallow in self-pity as the team traveled to Weston, Mass., the next day for a double-header against St. Joseph’s (Me.) and Regis (Mass.). These opponents proved to be the perfect tonic for the Mammoths recent ailments, as Amherst returned home with a pair of comfortable wins.

St. Joseph’s proved to be the more difficult of the two opponents, as the Monks were able to steal a set from the Mammoths but still fell 3-1. Statistically, the Amherst effort was much more balanced then in the prior game against Middlebury, with five players totaling five or more kills and Hendricks leading both teams with 15. Duran continued her dominant sophomore campaign by serving 29 assists in the victory, while Hayes Honea ’19 provided her usual defensive solidity with 13 digs.

The match against Regis was a similar story, as Amherst used a balanced team effort to easily brush aside the host Pride. Although Regis did manage to keep the first few sets close, losing only 25-20 and 25-22, the Mammoths were never in any real danger of defeat.

Closing out the week’s action, Amherst traveled to Westfield State University, where the team managed a third consecutive victory, 3-1. The Mammoths were never truly troubled by their hosts, as Amherst raced out to a quick lead of two-sets-to-none, before closing out the win.

After going 3-2 on the week, the Mammoths’ record now stands at 6-3 on the season. However, the team stands at 0-1 in the NESCAC due to the loss to Middlebury. The Mammoths will look to notch their first conference win when they travel to Trinity on Friday, Sept. 22. The match starts at 7 p.m.