Volleyball Splits NESCAC Action, Moves to 13-2 On Season
Issue   |   Tue, 10/13/2015 - 23:49
Peter Connolly '18
Katie Warshaw ’18 led the team with 17 digs against Middlebury.

Amherst women’s volleyball went 2-1 this week, with one win and one loss in NESCAC play. The Firedogs were on the road all weekend, after rolling over Westfield State on Wednesday night in non-conference play in LeFrak Gymnasium. Amherst bounced back from their loss to an undefeated Middlebury team on Friday night with a sweep of Hamilton the next morning.

Wednesday night saw a break from NESCAC action when the Jeffs faced a 7-9 Westfield State squad. The offensive highlights from a dominating performance included Nicole Carter ’16 and Kate Bres ’17 who dished out 18 and 12 assists respectively. Leading a nicely balanced offensive attack, Nicole Gould ’17 had yet another impressive match, leading the team with eight kills, with Lizzie Ahern ’16 and Marialexa Natsis ’18 following with six apiece. Sophomores Jennifer Mackinnon-Krems and Annika Reczek and first-year Lauren Reppert contributed five kills each. Sophomore Asha Walker also had a standout game, serving up three aces and adding six digs, following up Carter’s eight.

With the Jeffs winning the first point in each of their three sets, the momentum hardly shifted from their hands, allowing the Firedogs to hold Westfield to under 10 points in the first two sets and still win by an impressive nine in the third. The purple and white shut down the Owls’ offense, with Westfield posting negative hitting percentages for all three sets.

In one of Amherst’s toughest matches of the year, the Firedogs traveled to Middlebury to face the previously undefeated Panthers on Friday night. Both teams put up impressive numbers in four close sets, but the Jeffs just couldn’t stifle a dominant Middlebury offense and tough defense at the net. All four sets saw numerous lead changes, with both teams rallying for comebacks. The Jeffs fells behind in the first set after forcing a 5-5 tie by allowing Middlebury 13 of the ensuing 16 points. Several strong kills by Maggie Danner ’17 allowed Amherst to come within three, but a pair of Panther kills sealed the set for Middlebury. The second set saw a deadlock at 19-19 before another pair of Danner kills and several attacking errors by the Panthers allowed Amherst a 5-0 run that, combined with a service error from Middlebury, secured the match for the Jeffs. Amherst fell to a tough 16-9 handicap in the third set before rallying to within three at 17-20. Unfortunately the Jeffs couldn’t handle a couple tough kills from the Panthers and fell 25-17. Middlebury began the fourth set with a 6-1 lead before a rally from the Jeffs and a stellar kill by Gould managed to tie it up 11-11. Neither team could manage more than a 3-point lead until Middlebury’s chance for a set point at 24-21.

The Amherst squad managed to hold off the Panthers and tie up the set at 24-24. Despite a Gould kill, the Panthers came out on top after a pair of kills that Amherst failed to handle.

Highlights from the Middlebury match included Danner’s 17 kills, Katie Warshaw ’16 with 17 digs and Walker with 13 digs. Carter led the Amherst squad with 28 assists, and Samantha Newby ’16 finished with 12 assists and five assisted blocks.

After their tough loss on Friday, Amherst bounced right back against Hamilton the next morning, sweeping the match led by a 20-kill effort from Maggie Danner followed with 11 from Gould. Danner and Gould both had a standout statistical match, with both hitting over .450 — Danner at an unstoppable .576 — and keeping it clean with only combined three total errors.

Carter had an impressive 37 assists and six digs, while Warshaw and Walker added 14 digs and two service aces apiece. The Amherst offense was simply too much for the 3-12 Hamilton squad to handle, with the Jeffs taking the sweep 25-20, 25-26 and 25-13.

This week provides ample opportunity to watch the 13-2 Jeffs in some exciting home-court advantage matches.

Amherst is back for non-conference action on Wednesday, Oct. 13 night hosting Colby-Sawyer College at 7 p.m. in LeFrak and again Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 against Bowdoin and UMass Boston, respectively.