The Middlebury women's volleyball team saw its season come to and end with a 3-2 (25-19, 21-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-13) loss to Amherst in the NESCAC Quarterfinals at Tufts. The Panthers end their year with an impressive 20-win season at 20-6 overall.
Amherst controlled the first set, scoring eight straight points to build an 8-1 advantage. The Lord Jeffs' lead grew to as many as 10 at 20-10. Middlebury fought back strong in the set to pull within five at 21-16, but Amherst pushed back to finish off a 25-19 first-set victory.
Middlebury controlled the second set as Amherst held the lead just twice at 1-0 and 8-7. The Panthers' largest lead stood at six at 24-18 and they took the set 25-21. Middlebury took the lead at 5-4 in the third set and never looked back on their way to a 25-17 win and a 2-1 advantage.
It looked as if the Panthers would pull away and win the fourth set as they led for the vast majority. Amherst took their first lead of the set at 14-13, but Middlebury came back and regained the lead at 15-14. The two teams were tied nine times from 13-13 to 21-21. Amherst scored the final four points of the set to force a fifth and decisive set.
The Panthers assumed the lead to begin the fifth set and were in control late at 13-11, but the Lord Jeffs were resilient and tallied four points in a row once again, and won the fifth set 15-13.
On the Middlebury side, sophomore Jane Handel (Evanston, Ill.) had a match-high 23 kills, while sophomore Caroline Cordle (Atlanta, Ga.) backed her up with 15. Both had two of the Panthers' nine aces. They were also the leaders of Middlebury's defense, with 27 digs from Cordle and four blocks by Handel. Senior tri-captain Natalie DuPre (Louisville, Ky.) had 18 digs for the Panthers.