Middlebury Falls to Connecticut College in Three Sets

Hannah Blackburn handed out 29 assists on Friday, eclipsing the 2,000-assist plateau for her career (2,003).
Hannah Blackburn handed out 29 assists on Friday, eclipsing the 2,000-assist plateau for her career (2,003).

The Middlebury volleyball team fell in straight sets Friday evening inside Pepin Gymnasium to visiting Connecticut College in an NESCAC contest (27-25, 25-20, 28-26). Middlebury (16-6, 6-3) returns to the home court and concludes its regular-season schedule Saturday with a key NESCAC match against Tufts at 2:00 p.m., while Connecticut College (16-6, 5-4) is on the road at Hamilton.

In Friday's opening set, the Camels jumped out to an 11-7 advantage on a block assist from Katia Elisman and Ella Johnson. The Panthers responded with a 4-1 run, capped off on a service ace by Emily Kolodka and pulled to within one, 12-11. The visitors pushed the lead back to three (16-13) on a kill by Sam Hunter, but the teams traded points and small runs eventually knotting the set at 25-25. With the score tied, a Middlebury service error coupled with a kill by Jenny Kellogg gave the visitors the 1-0 lead.

The second set saw Connecticut College race out to a six-point lead (10-4) on a kill by Kellogg. Middlebury slowly chipped away, cutting the deficit to a single point (14-13) on a block assist from Sarah Staver and Becca Raffel. The teams exchanged points with Middlebury pulling back to within a point (17-16) on a Raffel kill. Connecticut College reeled off a 5-1 run and were never threatened taking a two-set edge.

The third set witnessed 12 ties over the first 32 points, as a kill by Ella Johnson for Connecticut College tied the score at 16-16. The visitors tallied the next three points and grabbed a 19-16 advantage, but Middlebury rattled off a 5-2 run and tied it at 21-21. The set was knotted at 22-22, 24-24, 25-25 and 26-26 before a kill by Johnson and a Panther attack error gave the Camels the set and the match.

Raffel led the Panthers 12 kills, while Gabi Rosenfeld and Alice Roberts each had six. Hannah Blackburn handed out 29 assists, giving her 2,003 helpers for her career, along with 17 digs for a double-double. Kolodka posted match-high total with 22 digs and three service aces, while Claire White-Dzuro chipped in with 11 digs. Blackburn and Staver added four block assists apiece.

Johnson finished with a match-best 14 kills for the Camels, while Hunter was also in double figures with 11. Elisman had a double-double of 39 assists and 10 digs, while Cailyn Straubel and Caroline Martin tallied 21 and 20 digs, respectively. Martin (2 BS), Andrea Mullaney (1 BS, 4 BA) and Elisman (4 BA) led the Camel presence at the net.