The Middlebury volleyball team eased past host Skidmore on Wednesday evening inside the Williamson Center by scores of 25-20, 25-17 and 25-20. The Panthers (5-7) return to the court Friday evening when they play host to NESCAC foe Bowdoin at 8:00 p.m., followed by a 2:00 p.m. Saturday home match with Colby.
The Thoroughbreds (3-16) hung tough in the first set against Middlebury, battling back from a 22-14 deficit with five-straight points to cut the Panthers' edge to 22-19. Middlebury stopped the streak and held on for the 25-20 win. Kalle Fox served four-straight points during the Skidmore run that started with a kill by Rachel Licata.
Clinging to a 14-13 lead, Middlebury closed out the second set with an 11-4 run for the 25-17 win.
Skidmore jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third set, but the Panthers whittled away at the lead, using a 7-2 run to open an 18-14 advantage. The Thoroughbreds pulled to within one, 19-18. Middlebury scored the next three points and edged away for the 25-20 win.
Becca Raffel and Olivia Kolodka each had double-doubles for the Panthers. Raffel was credited with a team-high 13 kills to go along with 10 digs, while Kolodka contributed 11 kills and 10 digs. Kathryn Haderlein handed out 23 assists, while Hannah Blackburn had 16.
Skidmore was paced by Fox who ended the match with 23 assists, one ace, a block, and four digs. Aria Goodman played well defensively with 17 digs and a block to go along with eight kills. Clara Jones had eight kills.
As a team, Middlebury produced a season-best .281 hitting percentage, including a .414 mark in the second set.
The two teams played back on September 27 during the Skidmore Classic with a similar 3-0 result in favor of Middlebury.