Volleyball Takes Second At Springfield Invite
Issue   |   Wed, 09/11/2013 - 01:00
Megan Robertson '15, Public Affairs Office
Maggie Danner '17 stuffs a Rivier hit.

The Firedogs showed their talent and validated high expectations surrounding the program after opening their season with a second place finish at the Springfield College Invitational over the weekend. Coach Sue Everden believes that the team needs more time together to become a great team, but was very excited about the team’s g rowth over the course of the weekend.

“With only a week of practice before our first outing vs. very good competition, the Amherst squad needed and will continue to need more game time to gel,” Everden said.

If the Firedogs continue growing as a team they are going to be a formidable opponent, and junior captain Lauren Antion ’15 believes that Amherst will contend for a NESCAC championship and a berth into the NCAA playoffs.

In their first match of the season on Friday night against Springfield College, a perennial Division III power, Amherst struggled due to a lack of practice time and inexperience, and fell in straight sets. The Firedogs are an underclassman-laden team who played 5 first-years over the weekend who were experiencing college volleyball for the first time.

Antion believes that nerves contributed to a disappointing opening performance, but the team used that match to propel them for the rest of the weekend. She believes that after the opening match the team really came together.

“After the first match we had a meeting about what we needed to improve on as a team, and came up with a solid lineup and with each point we grew closer, communicated better and played together as a team and hit our stride,” Antion said.

The next morning the Firedogs came out and dominated the Sharks of Simmons College, in straight sets (25-18, 25-11, 25-9).

With the victory Amherst earned second place in their pool and advanced to play Rivier Univ. in the semifinals.

The Firedogs dug deep in their win against Rivier University, and Antion couldn’t have been prouder with the way the team handled adversity.

“We went through a rough patch in the first set down 17-22, but we went on a huge run and played with a ton of excitement and energy and stopped them from winning another point,” Antion said.

The win against Rivier Univ. (25-22, 25-13, 25-20) propelled Amherst into the championship in a rematch against Springfield College. The Firedogs played a hard fought match, but the Pride was too much for Amherst to handle and they fell in straight sets.

Although Amherst lost, Antion believes that the Amherst team that faced Springfield on Saturday night was nothing like the team that took the court the day before and that playing a team like Springfield made the Firedogs better.

The Firedogs were led by sophomore Nicole Carter ’16 who earned All-Tournament honors for her play at setter and notched 72 assists over the weekend. The newcomers to the Amherst squad turned in strong performances, and Maggie Danner ’17 introduced herself in a big way to Amherst volleyball by leading the team with 35 kills.

Buoyed by young players and a core of veterans, the Firedogs are expected to contend with NESCAC powers Bowdoin and Middlebury as well as archrival Williams for the NESCAC crown and a berth in the NCAA playoffs.