Volleyball Swats Competition in Tournament Win
Issue   |   Wed, 09/18/2013 - 00:47

Looking to build off of a second place finish at the Springfield Invitational ten days ago, the Firedogs stumbled against a very talented Emerson squad that beat them 3-1 last Tuesday, in a match characterized by close games.

The match against Emerson, however, also signaled the emergence of first-year Nicole Gould who led Amherst with ten kills and believes that the Firedogs week of practice after the loss to Emerson helped Amherst a lot.

“We had a couple of great practices leading up to it, so we had a lot of momentum going into the tournament,” Gould said.

Although the Firedogs dropped their match against Emerson at the beginning of the week, they entered the Johnson & Wales Tournament with renewed confidence.

They didn’t disappoint by capturing the tournament championship and entering their home opener against NESCAC rival Bowdoin with confidence and momentum on their side. Key to the success of the Firedogs, according to Gould, is the team dynamic.

“Every person on our team makes a huge contribution and we have started to get into a rhythm with each other,” Gould said.

En route to their championship in the Johnson and Wales tournament, the Firedogs showed no mercy to their opponents. Amherst opened tournament play by beating a Univ. of New England squad that had been swept by NESCAC power Bowdoin only days before.

Amherst looked to continue NESCAC dominance over the Nor’Easeters, and did so behind the play of Gould and Nicole Carter ’16, who lead the Firedogs in kills and assists respectively. After dropping the opening game of the match to the Univ. of New England 18-25, the Firedogs went on to win three straight games (25-13, 26-24, 25,10).

Following their 3-1 opening round win, Amherst did not lose another game during the tournament and won 12 of 13 games overall. The Firedogs continued their strong play with a 3-0 win against a Wheaton team that battled for every point. After grinding out a win in the first game 25-21, the Firedogs won the next two games easily 25-22 and 25-15.

After moving to 2-0 in the tournament play the Firedogs entered their semi-final match against Johnson & Wales with the championship within their grasp.

Amherst cruised through the match winning handily 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-15) against a Wildcat team that has not won a match all season.

Katie Warshaw ’16 played tremendous defense for the Firedogs amassing 17 digs and believes, “We were able to implement some plays that we have been working on in practice and were also able to make quick game-time adjustments which will help us compete this weekend.”

Carter continued her stellar play by providing great offense with 11 assists in addition to 11 digs.

After a strong semifinal win, the Firedogs squared off against a tough Keene State squad that went 2-2, but played well enough to go undefeated.

After a tough first set win (25-20), Amherst jumped on the Owls early in the second set and doubled their margin of victory (25-16). Keene State refused to give up and battled the Firedogs to the end, but was swept after losing 25-22.

Junior captain Lauren Antion ’15 thought that the win against Keene State was a defining moment in the season.

“We finally hit our stride as a team and the match left us with a ton of momentum heading into our first conference matches against Bowdoin and Bates this weekend,” Antion said.

Amherst looks to continue their momentum in their first conference match against the Bowdoin College Polar Bears Friday night at 7 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium.