Volleyball Falls to Jumbos in Straight Sets
Issue   |   Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:39

Last weekend, the Amherst women’s volleyball team earned a split in two crucial NESCAC matches, beating Connecticut College in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory and falling to Tufts in straight sets. Afterwards, the team defeated Endicott at Tufts in straight sets to finish with a 2-1 week overall.

On Friday, the Firedogs rallied from 2-0 down to win three straight close sets and claim the match in dramatic fashion (25-27, 21-25, 28-26, 25-18, 15-12). Maggie Danner ’17 spearheaded Amherst’s comeback as she floored a match-high 19 kills on a .390 hitting percentage to go along with five assisted blocks.

Co-captain Nicole Carter ‘16 said, “Our mental toughness and desire to win is what really pushed us through the last three sets.”

Amherst’s front-row responded particularly well to Conn. College on defense. Marialexa Natsis ’18 recorded six assisted blocks and Jennifer Krems ’18 added four as the Firedogs doubled their opposition’s block total with 12.

Natsis also floored 10 kills, and Nicole Gould ’17 floored nine. Carter directed Amherst’s attack with 36 assists while Kate Bres ’17 added 14 helpers. Katie Warshaw ’16 and Kelci Keeno ’17 led Amherst with 13 digs each.

Conn. College’s combination of setter Emily Aterbury and hitters Ella Johnson and Sam Hunter presented problems for the Firedogs throughout.

Aterbury claimed a match-high 50 assists while Johnson and Hunter recorded a combined 33 kills on a .360 hitting percentage.

The Firedogs earned a split in tri-match action on Saturday, with a hard-fought, 3-0 (25-13, 30-28, 25-23) loss to Tufts followed by a straight set victory over Endicott.

Amherst started slowly losing the first set 25-13, but then challenged the Jumbos in the next two. The second stanza was particularly contested, with Tufts requiring 30 points to finally claim it.

Carter led Amherst’s effort with 20 assists and 11 digs. Warshaw recorded 14 assists and Bres dished out nine assists. Danner led Amherst’s hitters with eight kills while Gould, Krems, and Natsis each added five.

For Tufts, Hayley Hopper and Maddie Kuppe each floored 15 kills each to lead all hitters while Isabel Kuhel impressed with 13 kills in only 18 attack opportunities. Kyra Baum directed their attack with 42 assists while Carolina Berger added 12 digs.
Warshaw said, “It was definitely challenging to regroup after our game against Conn. College. I think on Saturday we were slow to adjust to Tufts, and they came out with more energy and a faster pace. I don’t think they were presenting anything that we couldn’t handle, but they won that battle on Saturday.”

In Amherst’s 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-12) victory over Endicott, Warshaw led all players with 21 digs while Walker added eight, and Danner notched seven. Carter dished out 21 helpers and Bres added 11. Danner led all hitters with 10 kills, followed closely by Natsis with eight and Gould with seven.

With these results, Amherst improves to 16-5 (6-2 NESCAC). However, the play at Tufts this weekend captured the most attention in the NESCAC. With wins against Williams and Amherst (previously the top two teams in the conference) on back-to-back days, Tufts surged to the top of the NESCAC standings at 7-1 in league play. Amherst fell to third but will look to finish the regular season out strong with two games left, against Bowdoin and Colby.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully matching up [against Tufts] again at the NESCAC tournament,” Warshaw said.
However, league play will be put on hold this week as Amherst hosts the 10-team Hall of Fame Tournament on Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25.