Middlebury Ends Home Slate With Victory Over Skidmore

Gigi Alper had a match-best 20 digs to go along with two service aces during Wednesday's win.
Gigi Alper had a match-best 20 digs to go along with two service aces during Wednesday's win.

The Middlebury volleyball team posted a 3-0 victory over Skidmore by scores of 25-20, 25-17 and 25-18 during its regular-season home finale on Wednesday evening in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (13-3) return to the court on Friday evening with a 7:00 p.m. NESCAC match at Tufts, while the Thoroughbreds (13-8) host Plattsburgh State next Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

With the opening set tied at 13-13, the Panthers scored four of the next five points for a 17-14 edge on a kill by Isabel Sessions. Skidmore closed the deficit to one (17-16) via a kill by Caite Canfield and a Panther attack error, but the hosts responded with a 7-2 spurt for a 24-18 lead, capped off by a solo block from Sessions to secure the opening set.

In the second set with the score knotted at 6-6, Middlebury put together a 9-2 run for a 15-8 lead. Becca Raffel produced three kills during the spurt for the Panthers. The Thoroughbreds clawed their way back into the set, cutting it to four at 19-15 on a kill from Canfield. Middlebury closed the set with six of the final eight points, capped off on a kill from Eliana Schaefer, for the two-set lead.

Trading small leads to start the third set, the Panthers grabbed an 11-9 advantage on a kill from Jaime Donnelly. Skidmore quickly battled back, slicing the deficit to one (12-11) on a kill by Katy Ehnstrom. The hosts slowly pulled away, garnering a five-point edge at 18-13 on a service ace from Gigi Alper. Middlebury held back any comeback attempt from Skidmore, completing the sweep with a kill down the middle from Raffel for the 25-18 victory.

Sessions led the Panthers with 16 kills on just 23 attempts and no errors for a .696 hitting percentage, while Raffel was right behind with 15 kills. Chellsa Ferdinand handed out 41 assists to go along with two service aces. Alper paced the Panthers with 20 digs as well as a pair of service aces, while Emily Kolodka finished with 11 digs.

The Thoroughbreds were led by Ehnstrom with 12 kills on just 18 attempts and no errors for a .667 hitting percentage, while Canfield added 10 kills to go along with a team-best 12 digs. Lauren Wolters tallied 33 assists as well as eight digs. Kalle Fox chipped in with 10 digs, while Canfield and Rachel Licata had one block solo and two block assists apiece for the visitors.