The Middlebury volleyball team opened the home portion of its schedule with a narrow 3-1 setback to visiting Union by scores of 26-24, 18-25, 25-23 and 25-23. The Panthers return to the court on Saturday when it plays host to Bates at 3:00 p.m., while Union plays Kean and Baptist Bible in a tri-match on the same day.
In the opening set, Union raced out to a 7-4 lead. The Dutchwomen advantage grew to as many as seven at 19-12, however the hosts rattled off a 9-2 run and tied the opening set at 21-21. Union scored five of the next eight points, including for a 26-24 set victory.
During the second set, Middlebury jumped out to a 10-4 edge capped off via a kill by Emily Kolodka. However, the visitors chipped away and pulled to within one at 16-15 on a service ace by Kelley White. With the Panthers possessing a two-point edge at 19-17, the hosts reeled off a 6-1 run finished off by an E. Kolodka kill for the set win.
The third set saw each team produce large runs. The Dutchwomen jumped out scoring nine of the first 12 points (9-3), and eventually extending the advantage to nine at 18-9. Middlebury battled back with a 13-4 run capped off by a kill from Melanie English on an assist from Hannah Blackburn and knotted the set at 22-22. However, kills by Lauren Woods, White and Morgan Clark gave the visitors the set win.
The final set played out similar to the third. Union grabbed a 14-7 lead on a kill from Clark. Not done yet, Middlebury answered with a 9-1 run of its own for a slight 16-15 lead on a kill from Olivia Kolodka. The teams traded points and with the set tied at 23-23, a kill from Rachel Wyman coupled with a Middlebury hitting error sealed the set and the match.
Offensively, Alice Roberts led a balanced attack with 16 kills, while O. Kolodka finished with 15. Piper Underbrink had nine, while English and E. Kolodka both had eight, respectively. English hit a team-best .368 for the match with eight kills and just one error on 19 attempts. Blackburn handed out 46 assists, while Lizzy Reed paced three Panthers in double figures with 23 digs.
White spearheaded the Union attack with 15 kills, while Rajpreet Dhaliwal chipped in with 10. Amanda Price dished out 26 assists, while Abigail Salamone had 15. Defensively, Kat Moeller racked up a game-high 29 digs, while Lauren Gibson had 13.