Volleyball Sweeps Home Slate, Takes Down NESCAC Leaders Bowdoin
Issue   |   Fri, 10/23/2015 - 00:04
Mark Box
The Firedogs are riding a four game win streak as they prepare to host non-conference opponents for the 24th annual Hall of Fame tournament this weekend.

Amherst women’s volleyball enjoyed another successful week with two non-conference wins and a crucial victory in their match against NESCAC leader Bowdoin, boosting their overall record to 16-2. With these three wins in the books, Amherst is a perfect 8-0 at home in LeFrak Gymnasium and is riding a four game winning streak into this coming week of competition.

The Firedogs took an easy sweep over a 6-22 Colby-Sawyer squad on Wednesday evening. The purple and white posted three impressive sets, winning 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-20) led by 11 kills from Nicole Gould ’17 and 17 assists apiece from Kate Bres ’17 and Nicole Carter ’16. On the defensive end, senior Katie Warshaw led the effort with 12 digs, while Carter and Asha Walker ‘18 each chipped in five.

On Friday evening, Amherst faced one of their toughest opponents of the year in a Bowdoin team that was previously undefeated in conference play. The Polar Bears came out strong, taking the first set after several Amherst errors allowed them to pull away from a 7-7 deadlock to win 25-15. The second set again saw Bowdoin jump out to an early lead as the Firedogs struggled to find scoring opportunities early in the set.

The Firedogs managed to take advantage of service errors from Bowdoin that allowed them to stay in the match until a big kill by Samantha Newby ’16 brought them within two points. With the Firedogs continuing to capitalize on Bowdoin errors and several impressive plays by Carter, the game reached a deadlock at 18-18. A Warshaw service ace and two huge Danner kills allowed the purple and white to pull ahead 24-21 before a cross-court kill from Newby sealed the win 25-21.

In the third set, Newby earned the first point of the third set with a tough kill, and Marialexa Natsis ’18 put Amherst up 2-0 with a great defensive read. With the Firedogs clearly fired up, a tight, back-and-forth set ensued, with neither team pulling ahead by more than 3 points. Two service aces from Walker put the Firedogs up 18-15, but the Polar Bears managed to hang in and gain momentum with a service ace of their own to bring them within two. The purple and white, however, rode a pair of Danner kills followed by one from Ahern to clinch the third set 25-21.

Bowdoin came out with a new energy in the fourth set to go up 5-3. Danner helped put pressure on the Polar Bears with some powerful kills, bringing Amherst within one and forcing a Bowdoin timeout. The Polar Bears remained tough at the net, however, putting Amherst down 16-11. Walker and Danner worked hard to bring the spark back for the Firedogs, but a service ace and an Amherst error gave Bowdoin the win, forcing a fifth set.

The Firedogs came out with fantastic energy in the fifth and final set, which was matched by an excited home court crowd. The purple and white started off the set with an Ahern kill followed by a Kelci Keeno ’17 service ace before Bowdoin came back in the game to tie it up. The two teams stayed gridlocked until Amherst took back the momentum with a Newby kill and another Keeno service ace to put them up 11-8. Bowdoin fought to stay in the game but in the end, a Honea serve and a powerful kill from Gould were too much for the Polar Bears to handle as the Firedogs took the set, 15-10, and the match.

Coming off of their thrilling win on Friday night, the Firedogs continued their form on Saturday afternoon against non-conference UMass-Boston. Junior duo Maggie Danner and Nicole Gould controlled the game for Amherst, combining for a total 23 kills in the match, and leading Amherst to a 3-1 (25-17, 25-13, 24-26, 25-18) victory. Walker added an impressive three service aces and Carter impressed with 35 assists. On the defensive end, Warshaw led the team with 14 digs, followed closely by Honea with 13 and Keeno with 11.

Next up for the Firedogs is the 24th annual Hall of Fame tournament, played at home in LeFrak Gymnasium. Amherst will host Vassar on Friday, Oct. 23 and play a doubleheader on Saturday, Oct. 24 against Brandeis at 10 a.m. and Bridgewater State at noon.