Volleyball Sweeps Opening NESCAC Contests
Issue   |   Wed, 09/24/2014 - 01:27

The women’s volleyball team kicked off NESCAC play this weekend with games away at Trinity on Friday and Wesleyan on Saturday. The Firedogs claimed both games in straight sets, continuing the great form they showed off in the JWU invitational and jumping to the head of the NESCAC standings.

On Friday night, Amherst swept by Trinity College, 3-0 (25-18, 28-26, 25-12). Nicole Gould ’17 and Maggie Danner ’17 led Amherst’s attack with 11 kills each, with Gould recording an impressive .529 hitting percentage. Nicole Carter ’16 directed Amherst with 13 assists while Lizzie Ahern ’16 claimed seven kills and seven assists. Libero Katie Warshaw ’16 claimed 19 digs to headline the defensive effort, assisted by Kelci Keeno ‘17 with seven digs, Carter with six digs, and Marialexa Natsis ’18 with three block assists in addition to her five kills.

Kate Giddens led Trinity with a match-high 12 kills while Randi Whitham and Gina Buzzelli combined for 22 of the Bantams’ 30 assists.

After Amherst won the first set, Trinity held a 26-25 lead in the second stanza before Amherst claimed the set on kills by Ahern, Gould, and Carter. Amherst then started the third set with a 7-0 run, and never looked back to win the last frame easily.

On Saturday afternoon, the Firedogs notched another 3-0 win (25-17, 26-24, 25-18), this time at Wesleyan University. Danner led all hitters with 16 kills while Carter recorded 23 helpers. Gould floored eight kills and Ahern floored seven. Danner and Keeno led the Firedogs with 13 digs each, Asha Walker ’18 claimed 11 digs, and Kate Bres ’17 recorded nine digs.
Claire Larson directed Wesleyan’s offense with a match-high 28 assists while Rachel Savage recorded a match-high 22 digs and Tyla Taylor led the Cardinals with 15 kills. Back-row defense was the hallmark of the match as the two teams recorded an astounding 125 digs combined.

As on Friday night, Firedogs claimed the first set comfortably and continued their stellar play in the second set, jumping out to a 6-2 lead. The team maintained this lead throughout until Wesleyan tied the set at 19-19 with a 12-8 run. The Cardinals then took a 24-22 lead before Amherst won four straight points to claim the set in dramatic fashion, 26-24.

The Firedogs started the third set with four straight points and traded points with the hosts until the score of 8-4 before going on an 8-2 run to extend it to 14-6. Wesleyan came back to 22-18 with a 12-8 run of its own before Amherst claimed the last three points to secure the sweep.

Asked about the team’s mentality entering the Williams game this week, Head Coach Sue Everden said, “Expectations are high. It’s going to be a good match. Last year, Williams won NESCAC, so they are champions until someone beats them. But we return a successful team along with a great group of first-years.”

With these victories, the Firedogs record stands at 8-2 overall (2-0 NESCAC), while they have won their last 18 sets. Amherst will look to ride that momentum in their home opener this Friday, Sept. 26 against archrival Williams (9-1, 2-0 NESCAC) at 7 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium. They then take on Clark University and Babson in non-league games on Saturday at Clark.