Volleyball Hosts Hall of Fame Invite, Win Two, Lose One over Weekend
Issue   |   Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:09
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Senior Marialexa Natsis helped the Mammoths’ strong showing at the tournament with 34 kills and 8 digs.

The Amherst women’s volleyball team (14-9) had a successful homecoming weekend, picking up two wins and one loss during the 26th Annual Volleyball Hall of Fame Tournament at LeFrak Gymnasium.

Although the Mammoths began the tournament by losing 3-2 to Wellesley College, the hosts responded strongly on Saturday, winning against both Coast Guard Academy and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

On Friday, Amherst lost a tightly-contested five-set match against Wellesley (25-23, 13-25, 15-25, 25-12, 13-15). After winning a close first set, Amherst could not contain Wellesley’s overpowering offense for the next two stanzas and fell into a 2-1 deficit.

The Mammoths rebounded, though, winning the fourth set to push the match to a decisive fifth frame. Ultimately, Wellesley managed to just eke out a 15-13 win in the fifth set to clinch the victory.

Despite the loss, several Amherst players put in great performances. On the defensive side, Hayes Honea ’19 and Asha Walker ’18 were dominant, contributing 21 and 17 digs, respectively. On the offensive side, Marialexa Natsis ’18 contributed 17 kills, while Charlotte Duran ’20 and Adelaide Shunk ’20 added 28 and 17 assists, respectively.

On Saturday, during the second day of tournament play, Amherst picked up two wins in dominating fashion.

In the first game of the day, Amherst cruised to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-22) win against Coast Guard (14-11). The Mammoths’ dominance against Coast Guard was best shown by the fact that Amherst never trailed during the first set. Although Coast Guard fought back in a close third set, Amherst closed out the Bears in straight sets.

Emily Kolsky ’20 and Natsis led the Mammoths with 10 kills each. Honea and Daria Kim-Percy ’21 led Amherst defensively, collecting 13 and 10 digs, respectively.

In the second game of the day, and final match of the tournament, Amherst continued its strong play and defeated WPI 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23). The match against WPI was a more tightly-contested affair than the day’s earlier match, with Amherst winning its three sets by a combined margin of eight points.

The Mammoths’ performance against WPI was highlighted by impressive performances from Kolsky and Duran. Kolsky was named to the All-Tournament Team after contributing 23 kills in the game, which was nearly half of the Amherst’s kills in the entire match. Duran also tallied 44 of Amherst’s 50 assists.

Playing at home during Homecoming with strong support from fans played a role in Amherst’s strong showing during the Hall of Fame Tournament.

“The opportunity to play at Homecoming is always exciting,” Natsis said. “[It] really inspires our team to step up their game and play for their teammates and school.”

The Mammoths will now turn their attention to Bates and Colby in the final weekend of NESCAC play.

Amherst will host Bates on Friday, Oct. 27 and Colby on Saturday, Oct. 28 in LeFrak Gymnasium.