Volleyball Clinches Second Place at Springfield Invite
Issue   |   Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:47

For the second-straight year, Amherst’s volleyball kicked off its season at the Springfield Invitational and claimed second place in the tournament.

The Firedogs opened the tournament with a game against host Springfield College on Friday night. In a hard-fought, five-set battle, the Pride prevailed 24-26, 27-25, 26-28, 25-18, 15-11.

Amherst came out hot, claiming the first set, but Springfield answered by taking the next two. The Firedogs stayed in the game, winning the fourth set, and both sides traded points for the majority of the fifth. However, with the score tied at 9-9, Springfield claimed five of the next six points to eventually claim the win.

Maggie Danner ’17 and Asha Walker ’18 notched 10 kills each to lead Amherst, and libero Katie Warshaw ’16 recorded 34 of the team’s 82 digs. However, Amherst ultimately could not respond to Springfield’s duo of Kelsey McGayhey and Lauren Holt, who amassed a combined 35 kills.

On Saturday, the Firedogs’ defense paved the way for a comfortable victory over Johnson & Wales. Amherst recorded a solid hitting percentage of .231, while holding their opponents to an astoundingly low .020 hitting percentage.

Danner led all hitters with 12 kills. Kelci Keeno ’17 recorded 13 digs, and Warshaw claimed 10 digs to continue her stellar play. Nicole Carter ’16 played a key part offensively and defensively, recording 16 assists and six digs. First-years Marialexa Natsis and Kate Antion announced their arrivals with seven kills and seven digs, respectively.

In their second match of the day, Amherst took on Stevens Tech. The Jeffs rolled in the first two sets, claiming the first, 25-15, and the second, 25-10.

The Ducks clean up their defense, however, and won the tight third set 28-26. Amherst answered in the competitve fourth set, winning 25-23. Danner was once again a star performer with 19 kills and 10 digs, while Carter recorded 27 assists and 15 digs.

With the win, Amherst booked their place in the finals, where the Firedogs would face off against Springfield once again. Springfield dominated throughout against a fatigued Amherst team, winning in straight sets (25-14, 25-20, 25-17).

Carter and Kate Bres ’17 combined for 23 of the Jeffs’ 26 helpers, while Warshaw led the team with 14 digs. Danner claimed a team-high eight kills, and Nicole Gould ’17 contributed seven. For their efforts, Walker and Warshaw earned all-tournament team honors.

Once again, McGayhey proved difficult for Amherst to deal with, as she recorded 12 kills in Springfield’s victory.

“The Springfield Tournament was a great start to the season and showed that our hard work during preseason paid off,” said co-captain Nicole Carter. “Every girl brought an incredible amount of energy to the court, and I really believe that if we continue to bring that same energy and drive to every practice and match, we will be able to achieve our goals for the season.”

With a young squad, the team remains confident and expects improvement as they return to action this weekend, Sept. 12-13, at the two-day Johnson & Wales Invitational in Providence, R.I. The Firedogs will open up NESCAC play Friday, Sept. 19 at Trinity, and their first home game will be Sept. 26 against Williams.