Volleyball Posts Undefeated Weekend at Wildcat Invitational
Issue   |   Wed, 09/16/2015 - 00:01
Janna Joasainte '17
After a strong start, the Amherst women's volleyball team looks to continue its winning ways this week.

The Amherst College women’s volleyball team (4-0) started the season in dominant fashion, defeating four non-conference opponents in the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Johnson & Wales University on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11 and 12.

With first-years Hayes Honea and Lauren Reppert, the Firedogs appeared in midseason form. “It was obvious at the start of preseason that everyone worked hard during the offseason and summer”, senior Nicole Carter said. Hayes brings great defensive consistency, and Lauren has brought her powerful offensive attack on both the outside and right side.”

In Friday’s season opener against Bridgewater State, the Firedogs cruised to victory in straight sets (25-7, 25-15, 25-18). The match displayed Amherst’s depth, as Bridgewater could not respond to the Firedogs’ balanced attack.

Lizzie Ahern ’16 led Amherst with nine kills, and Marialexa Natsis ’18 recorded eight. Maggie Danner ’17 and Nicole Gould ’17 added seven kills each while Libero Katie Warshaw ’16 led the defensive effort with 15 digs.

Nicole Carter ’16 recorded 19 assists, and Kate Bres ’17 added 12 helpers in the victory.

Amherst then took on Roger Williams University, where Carter led them to a four set victory (25-17, 25-17, 22-25, 25-12). The senior recorded 41 assists, 16 digs and four service aces in a dominant performance.

Ahern and Danner recorded 14 kills each in the victory, while Gould added 11. In addition to Carter’s 16 digs, Warshaw, Asha Walker ’18, and first-year Hayes Honea recorded 13, 10 and nine digs, respectively.

Up two sets to none and 16-11 in the third set, the Firedogs surrendered the third stanza after Roger Williams went on a 10-2 run. Amherst, however, responded with their best set of the match, jumping out to a 6-2 lead and finishing on a 9-0 run.
The Firedogs then returned to the court against Salve Regina University, continuing their dominance in another straight-sets victory (27-25, 25-13, 25-20).

Bres led the team with 32 assists in the victory, while Warshaw recorded 12 digs. Gould floored 10 kills, while Danner added eight and Ahern seven.

In the final match of the tournament, the Firedogs faced undefeated hosts Johnson & Wales, winning in four sets (25-17, 25-14, 24-26, 25-18).

Ahern played another stellar match with 12 kills on 24 attack opportunitities, while Danner and Natsis also recorded double-digit kills with 12 and 10, respectively. Carter led Amherst with 37 assists. Warshaw claimed 20 digs and Kelci Keeno ’17 added 12 digs in the victory.

For their efforts, Ahern was named one of the tournament’s two most outstanding players and Danner was named to the all-tournament team.

“We really hit the ground running and were able to progress in a way that I hope will show up in our first NESCAC match-ups,” Warshaw said. “This season, in particular, it’s important to get off to a winning start because we’re matching up against two of the toughest NESCAC teams opening weekend. That being said, non-conference matches are just as important in order to qualify for postseason play.”

The Firedogs return to action this week with a match at non-conference opponent Western New England on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. Amherst then faces a pair of NESCAC opponents at home with matches against Connecticut College at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 and Tufts on Saturday, Sept. 19.