Volleyball Drops Pair of NESCAC Weekend Road Matches

Becca Raffel led the team Saturday with 13 kills.
Becca Raffel led the team Saturday with 13 kills.

The Middlebury volleyball team dropped a pair of road NESCAC matches last weekend in Massachusetts. On Friday, Amherst edged by the Panthers, 3-1, while Williams picked up a similar 3-1 victory on Saturday. 

On Friday evening, senior Olivia Kolodka (Verona, N.J.) led the Panther attack with 13 kills, followed by senior Piper Underbrink (Ocala, Fla.) and rookie Becca Raffel (Palo Alto, Calif.) with 11 and 10, respectively. Sophomore Hannah Blackburn (Chapel Hill, N.C.) recorded a match-high 41 assists, while senior Lizzy Reed (Cazenovia, N.Y.) led the team with 20 digs. Rookie Emily Kolodka (Verona, N.J.) added nine kills and 16 digs, while Blackburn picked up 15 digs.

Maggie Danner and Nicole Gould registered 17 and 16 kills, respectively to help lead  Amherst to the win at LeFrak Gymnasium. Danner posted a match-high 17 kills with a .357 hitting percentage, and Gould finished with 16 kills and a .371 hitting percentage. Nicole Carter dished out a team-high 21 assists and Kate Bres added 20. Katie Warshaw recorded a double-double with 27 digs and 10 assists.

The Jeffs came out hot to start the match and jumped out to a 7-0 lead in set one. However, Middlebury retaliated and scored 14 of the next 19 points to force an Amherst timeout. Following the break, the Jeffs snapped a five-point Middlebury streak and regained the lead after a visitor error, 15-14. The Panthers then scored 11 of the next 12 points to take the set, 25-16, and a 1-0 lead in the match.

Middlebury took a 2-0 lead in the second set but a kill from Lizzie Ahern followed by an ace from Asha Walker evened the score. Trailing 6-4 shortly after, a kill by Danner started a six-point rally by the Jeffs as they pulled ahead, 10-6. Amherst eventually took a seven-point lead and never looked back. Nicole Gould put the home team ahead, 16-9, as Amherst held off a late rally by the Panthers to take the set (25-20) and even the match, 1-1.

Consecutive kills by O. Kolodka and sophomore Melanie English (Montgomery Village, Md.), respectively, gave Middlebury a 5-1 lead in the third set until Danner's spike sparked a four-point run to even the score. Later in the set, Marialexa Natsis recorded consecutive kills to force a Middlebury timeout as Amherst took a three-point lead, 14-11. A trio of kills from Samantha Newby, Danner, and Walker late in the set helped the Jeffs pull away as Gould sent one through the middle of the Panthers lineup for the 25-16 win.

Trailing 2-1 in the match, Middlebury jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set. After cutting the deficit to one, a kill by sophomore Charlotte Devine (Charlottesville, Va.) put the Panthers up 11-9. Middlebury eventually grabbed a six-point lead midway through the set until a service error broke up the rally. Consecutive kills by Gould narrowed the margin to three but two-straight points from the Panthers forced an Amherst timeout. Following the break, the Jeffs rallied and scored nine of the final 11 points en route to the 25-22 win. Danner tallied five kills in the final eight points of the set to highlight the rally.

During Saturday afternoon’s match, Williams took the first set 25-17, but Middlebury battled back in the second, needing an extra point to pick up a 26-24 win to even the contest at 1-1. The Ephs came back in the next two sets, winning 25-10 and 25-12 to earn the 3-1 victory.

Raffel led the attack with 13 kills and a .333 hitting percentage, while O. Kolodka added seven kills. Blackburn had 34 assists and 15 digs in the match, while E. Kolodka added 16 digs. Reed owned a team-best 17 digs in the contest.

Tori Jasuta (19), Raea Rasmussen (12) and Claire Miller (10) led the Ephs in kills.

• Volleyball record: 4-7
• Up next: 10/8 @ Skidmore – 7:00, 10/10 vs. Bowdoin – 8:00, 10/11 vs. Colby – 2:00