Firedogs Return To Playoffs With Back-to-Back Wins
Issue   |   Wed, 10/31/2012 - 13:59

Facing two critical NESCAC road tests — and needing to win them both to earn the number four seed in the NESCAC playoffs — the Firedogs responded, topping both Colby and Bates to move to 7-3 in league play.

As a reward for its efforts, the squad is now set to meet fifth-seeded archrival Williams on Friday, Nov. 2, in a NESCAC Quarterfinal matchup.

In fact, the squad has won three straight for the third time this season, dating back to a sweep of Smith on Wednesday, Oct. 24. In that match, the Jeffs had a relatively easy go of things, winning 25-19, 25-14 and 25-18. Lizzie Ahern ’16 led the way with 12 kills and a .462 attack rate, both team highs. The victory got the Lady Jeffs back in the win column after they had previously dropped three in a row.

Now, the Jeffs’ task was to close out their regular season with two more wins and hit their stride just in time for the playoffs. The Firedogs headed to Waterville, Maine on Friday, Oct. 26, and their effort did not disappoint as they recorded their second consecutive clean sweep. At times, the Jeffs were forced to bear down and play their best: after the Firedogs took a commanding 14-9 lead in the first set, the Mules scored eight unanswered points to go up 17-14. The Jeffs, however, checked the Colby momentum and fought back for a 25-23 victory. After a 25-8 runaway in the second set, the Lady Jeffs found themselves in a similar position in the third set, when they found themselves down 24-23. Again, however, the Jeffs displayed their tenacity, overcoming the late deficit to earn a 26-24 set win and the match victory. In total, Nicole Carter ’16 totaled 34 assists to go along with eight digs and two aces, while Kristin Keeno ’13 led the way with 16 digs.

Still, if the Firedogs wanted a favorable matchup in the first round of the conference tournament, they would have to match their strong performance the following day against Bates in Lewiston, Maine. For the second time in as many days, the Jeffs were up to the task. In this contest, the Jeffs were never truly challenged as they cruised by scores of 25-16, 25-19 and a 25-7 rout in the final set. Carter collected 30 assists and 11 digs, and Lauren Antion ’15 tallied a match-high 12 kills. In two of the three sets, the Jeffs also managed to hold the bobcats to a negative hitting percentage.

Heading into the matchup with the Ephs, the Firedogs should gain some confidence from their earlier-season result against Williams: On Oct. 13, the Jeffs topped the Ephs, 3-1.

Still, Coach Sue Everden’s team knows better than to rest on its laurels, especially come playoff time following a somewhat up-and-down campaign.