Middlebury Defeats Hamilton In Four Sets

Chellsa Ferdinand dished out 35 assists and had 10 digs in Friday's win.
Chellsa Ferdinand dished out 35 assists and had 10 digs in Friday's win.

The Middlebury volleyball increased its winning streak to four matches with a four-set home victory (25-23, 25-14, 16-25, 25-20) over Hamilton in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (16-5, 6-3) conclude their regular-season schedule Saturday with a 2:00 p.m. conference home match with Williams, while the Continentals (7-13, 1-9) host Utica at 3:00 p.m.

In a back-and-forth opening set, the visitors moved out their largest lead at 20-16 on a Panther attack error. Middlebury clawed its way slowly back into the set via an 8-2 run to gain a 24-22 edge. The hosts grabbed the 1-0 lead on a Continental attack error.

Clinging to a 12-10 advantage in the second set, Middlebury put together an 8-1 spurt for a 20-11 lead, highlighted by two kills each from Maggie Wise and Corley Doyle. After the two teams exchanged points, a kill by Middlebury's Jane Nelson gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

The third set saw Hamilton grab an 11-6 edge on a Panther attack error. Middlebury pulled to within two at 12-10 on kill from Chellsa Ferdinand, but the Continentals replied with a 9-1 run and cut the Middlebury lead in half with a 25-16 set win.

After the hosts moved out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set, Hamilton battled back to within two at 11-9 on a kill by Jane Fleming. The Panthers gradually pulled away with 10 of the next 14 points, capped by a kill from Wise, for a 21-13 lead. The Continentals pulled to within 23-18 on a service ace from Dorothy Poucher, but a kill by Sarah Staver clinched the set and the match for Middlebury.

Staver led a balanced Middlebury attack with 11 kills, while Golden added 10 kills and 10 digs for her third double-double in as many matches. Ferdinand handed out 35 assists to go along with 10 digs, while Gigi Alper had a match-high 26 digs. Doyle finished the contest with four block assists.

Hamilton was paced by Poucher with 12 kills, while Claire Kitz, Emma Parkhurst, Jane Fanning and Giuliana Rankin each had seven, respectively. Meghan Wilkinson recorded 22 assists for the Continentals, while Nikki Matsuoka dug up 17 balls. Kendall Boxe recorded three block assists for the visitors.