Volleyball Suffers First Loss of Season, Now Owns 9-1 Record
Issue   |   Tue, 09/29/2015 - 23:50

Coming off several electric games last week, the Amherst women’s volleyball team suffered its first loss to conference rival Williams in a tough Wednesday night match. But the purple and white bounced back quickly on Saturday with an impressive showing in their double-header at Babson University.

The Firedogs traveled to Williamstown on Wednesday night and overwhelmed the Ephs to start. The first set was a hard-fought match, with each team fighting for every point.

The Amherst defense showed phenomenally. The Firedogs were tough at the net, allowing them to take a 21-15 lead after falling behind 13-10 earlier in the set. Several timely kills by Marialexa Natsis ’18 and Nicole Gould ’17 secured the first set for the Firedogs 25-17.

The impressive performance from Amherst in the first set prompted several key changes in the Ephs’ strategy, including entering senior libero Caitie Bennell into the game for the second set. These changes set Williams at ease on the court, and they jumped to an early 6-1 lead and held it, taking the second set 25-13.

The third set saw Williams again jump out to an early lead and try to ride the momentum, but a strong showing from Natsis with several key kills and blocks helped to slow the game back down for the Firedogs. But a couple of key kills from the Ephs allowed them to take the third set 25-16. The do-or-die fourth set for the Firedogs was the toughest of the game, with multiple rallies resulting in lead changes for both squads. With Williams jumping out to another early lead, Coach Sue Everden entered first-year Lauren Reppert, who made a strong impression in her first conference game appearance with a big kill in her first play out on the floor. This set the tone for Natsis, Maggie Danner ’17 and Lizzie Ahern ’16, who each had huge kills to keep Amherst in the game at 8-13. A key dig by first-year Hayes Honea and a kill by Gould forced a Williams time-out to regroup.

Returning to the court, Williams, the NESCAC leaders in kills per set, showed off their strength in cross-court kills, overwhelming the Amherst defense to take the lead once again. But the Firedogs weren’t done yet. With incredible performances from Natsis, Carter, Danner and Honea, the purple and white staged a 5-0 run to tie up the set at 20. But the effort wasn’t enough to pull out a victory for the Firedogs, and they dropped the fourth and final set 25-22.

Coming off their tough Wednesday loss, the Firedogs showed their resilience, taking two decisive non-conference matches against Clark and Babson. The purple and white handed Clark its first loss of the season in an easy 3-0 sweep led by Danner’s 13 kills, Carter with 23 assists and Warshaw’s 19 digs. The Firedogs jumped on Clark right away in the opening set, pulling out to a 17-12 lead. Kills by Danner, Reppert and Ahern led to a 5-0 run, resulting in a 10-point cushion for the purple and white and allowing them to finish off with an easy 25-13. Amherst staged a major rally in the second set, coming from a 2-7 deficit to pull out the 25-18 win, spearheaded by two kills each from Danner, Gould and Annika Reczek ’18. By their third set, the Firedogs had a handle on the match and confidently took the final set 25-11.

In their third and final game of the week, the Firedogs faced a tough Babson team. Amherst’s upperclassmen led the team in this match, with Danner and Gould contributing 14 and 10 kills respectively and Warshaw chipping in 23 digs. This strong showing from the Firedogs’ leaders helped them take the opening set 25-18 sealed with a strong kill from Gould. Babson answered in the second set, coming up with a 25-13 victory. The purple and white bounced back quickly, however, with Danner, Carter and Natsis contributing to the team’s 5-point run leading to the 25-16 victory. The final set was knotted at 16-16 until the Firedogs rallied for another 5-0 run catalyzed by Newby, Danner, Gould and Asha Walker ’18.

This week, the Firedogs will return home for two tough conference games in LeFrak Gymnasium. On Friday, Oct. 2, the Firedogs will face an undefeated Colby squad at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 they will take on Bates, a team that currently sits at 2-1 in conference play.