Volleyball Splits on Second Day of New England Challenge

Becca Raffel was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts with 35 kills and 26 digs.
Becca Raffel was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts with 35 kills and 26 digs.

The Middlebury volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday during the final day of the New England Challenge hosted by MIT. In the day's first contest, the Panthers (16-5) cruised past Babson in three sets, but fell in their second match to Wellesley, 3-1. The Panthers conclude their NESCAC regular-season schedule next weekend when they host Connecticut College on Friday at 8:00 p.m., followed on Saturday with a match against Tufts at 2:00 p.m.

For her efforts, Becca Raffel was named to the all-tournament team. In three matches, the second-year Panther racked up 35 kills against just seven errors and a .272 hitting percentage. She also posted totals of 26 digs and a combined seven block assists.

Against the Beavers (20-8), the Panthers earned the three-set sweep by scores of 25-19, 25-18 and 25-22.

Raffel led the Middlebury attack with 14 kills, while Isabel Sessions also finished in double figures with 10 and Eliana Schaefer chipped in with eight. Hannah Blackburn handed out 34 assists, while Charlotte Devine and Raffel each recorded a pair of service aces.

Defensively, Emily Kolodka paced the Panther effort with a match-high 21 digs, while Blackburn and Raffel both finished with nine. Melanie English had a block solo and a pair of block assists, while Raffel also had a pair of block assists.

In the final match against Wellesley (14-12), the Blue jumped out to an early lead with a 25-22 opening-set victory before Middlebury evened the match at 1-1 with a 25-17 win. However, Wellesley took the third and fourth sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-23 for the four-set win.

Sessions recorded a team-best 14 kills in the match, while Schaefer concluded the tournament with 10 putdowns. Blackburn racked up 30 assists and tied a career high with 18 digs, while Kolodka tied for match-high honors with four service aces. English ended the match with a block solo and three block assists, and Raffel posted three block assists.