Volleyball Finishes Regular Season on a High Note
Issue   |   Fri, 11/07/2014 - 00:37

The Amherst College volleyball team finished regular season action this week with victories against NESCAC foes Bowdoin and Colby. Amherst improved to 20-6 overall and 7-2 in conference play, securing the third seed in this weekend’s NESCAC postseason tournament.

On Friday night, Asha Walker ’18 notched eight service aces and 11 digs to lead the Firedogs past Bowdoin College, 3-1 (25-22, 15-25, 26-24, 25-15). In the victory, Nicole Gould ’17 led Amherst with 13 kills, followed by Maggie Danner ’17 with eight and Lizzie Ahern ’16 with seven. Nicole Carter ’16 led all players with 24 assists, while Kate Bres ’17 added 11 helpers. Liberos Katie Warshaw ’16 and Kelci Keeno ’17 claimed 24 digs and 13 digs, respectively.

For Bowdoin, Christy Jewett enjoyed a phenomenal match, flooring 18 kills to lead all players along with 17 digs. Quincy Leech and Clare McInerney combined to dish out 39 assists, while Katie Doherty recorded a match-high 33 digs.

Amherst led 2-1 after claiming close victories in the first and third set on either side of a poor second stanza. With the score tied at 10-10 in the fourth set, the Firedogs went on a 10-0 run on six service aces by Walker and four Bowdoin miscues.

A kill by Jewett halted the run, but that was the closest the Polar Bears would get, as a kill by Jennifer Mackinnon Krems ’18 claimed the set and the match for the Firedogs.

On Saturday afternoon, Amherst defeated Colby in straight sets (25-13, 15-15, 25-20). Carter led the Firedogs to the win with a match-high 16 assists. Warshaw claimed 14 digs, and Bres notched 11 assists. Gould floored nine kills while Samantha Newby ’16, Marialexa Natsis ’18 and Ahern each claimed five. Ahern also added eight digs in a terrific all-around effort.

Karolina Serhan led all hitters with 10 kills to headline the match for the Mules. Natalie Roy claimed a match-high 16 digs and Emily Moslener added 15 assists in Colby’s losing effort.

Amherst started the match with their usual flourish, claiming an 11-4 lead following a service ace by Bres in the first set. The Firedogs then claimed the set easily, extending their advantage throughout and securing the win, 25-13, on a Colby miscue. In the second stanza, Amherst again led by double digits (23-13) en route to a 25-15 set win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

With Amherst winning 23-16 in the third set, the visitors claimed four straight points to pull themselves within three and threaten the Firedogs, but back-to-back Gould kills secured the sweep for the Purple and White.

Outside hitter Maggie Danner said, “I think we have started playing more consistently as a whole, and the team is in a really good place right now. If we continue playing aggressively like we did this past weekend, I think we will be very successful.”

For the Firedogs, that consistency has not been a question this season. Amherst has taken care of business against weaker opposition throughout the season, defeating every team below them in the NESCAC standings on its way to amassing 20 wins.

This weekend, the Firedogs will travel to Tufts to compete in the eight-team NESCAC postseason tournament, hoping to win their fourth NESCAC championship in program history and first since 2006. Amherst kicks off its weekend with a quarterfinal match-up on Friday night at 8 p.m. against sixth-seeded Conn. College.

The Firedogs had a tough time with Conn. in the regular season, going to five sets with the Camels. The meeting ultimately resulted in an Amherst victory.

Danner said she was optimistic about the upcoming contests slated for Amherst. “Beating Bowdoin was such a huge win after losing to them last year in the NESCAC tournament,” she said. “The whole team feels really good going into this weekend at our peak.”