Middlebury opened the Roadrunner Invitational on Friday evening with a 3-1 victory (25-11, 25-18, 23-25, 25-20) over Farmingdale State (5-3) in a two-day event hosted by Ramapo. Winners of four straight, the Panthers (6-2) return to the court on Saturday with an 11:00 a.m. match against NYU followed by a 1:00 p.m. contest against the hosts.
Tied at 2-2 in the opening set, the Panthers rattled off eight of the next 10 points for a 10-4 advantage. Middlebury was never challenged for the remainder of the set, taking a 1-0 edge by a 25-11 count.
With the second set deadlocked at 5-5, the Panthers recorded five of the next six points, including a pair of kills from Becca Raffel, for a 10-6 lead. The Panther advantage grew to as many as 10 (21-11) on a kill from Shea Golden. The Rams answered with a 7-0 spurt of their own, cutting the deficit to three at 21-18 on a kill by Nicole Brand. Middlebury finished the set with the final four points for a 2-0 edge.
Ahead by a pair in the third set (9-7), the Panthers put together a 6-2 run for a 15-9 lead. The Rams slowly chipped away at the Middlebury lead, tying the set at 18-18 on a kill by Sophie Mattheos. The Panthers got a pair of kills from Isabel Sessions sandwiched around a service ace by Jamie Donnelly for a 21-18 edge, forcing Farmingdale State to call a timeout. After the break, the Rams scored seven of the final nine points of the set for a 25-23 victory.
The final set saw the teams go back and forth with neither side holding more than a three-point advantage. Tied at 15-15, the Panthers rattled off a 7-2 run and cruised to the four-set win, capped by a service ace from Emma Walsh for the final point.
Sessions led three Panthers with double-figure kill totals, finishing the match by pounding down 15. Raffel and Eliana Schaefer both added 10 kills, as Raffel hit .474 in the match (10-1-19). Walsh recorded match-high totals of 35 assists and 17 digs, while Gigi Alper added 12 digs and Donnelly tacked on three service aces. Emily Kolodka dug up 11 balls, giving her 998 digs for her career.
Farmingdale State was paced by Julia Hande with a match-best 17 kills and added 13 digs, while Maia Cadle-Hinton recorded 10 kills. LaurenAnne Strezenec tallied a team-high 29 assists for the Rams, while Annie Cosgrave had a team-high 14 digs and Cadle-Hinton tallied five solo blocks.