Panthers Open NESCAC Action With Sweep of Trinity

Alice Roberts recorded eight kills and four block assists in Friday's victory.
Alice Roberts recorded eight kills and four block assists in Friday's victory.

The Middlebury volleyball team opened NESCAC play with a three-set road sweep (25-20, 27-25, 25-20) of NESCAC foe Trinity Friday evening inside the Oosting Gymnasium. The Panthers (3-2, 1-0) return to the court Saturday when they stay in Connecticut for a 2:00 p.m. conference match against Wesleyan.

Middlebury got out to an early 10-6 lead in the first set, forcing Trinity (1-4, 0-1) to call a timeout. The Bantams kept the opening set close, cutting the deficit to 17-15. Hannah Engstrom tallied a kill for Trinity to make it a two-point deficit at 19-17, but the Panthers went on to close out the set by a 25-20 tally. 

In set two, Trinity held a 9-6 lead before a kill from Underwood forced Middlebury to burn a timeout. The two teams continued to trade points before a kill by Middlebury's Eliana Schaefer and a service ace from Emily Kolodka evened the score at 17-17. The Bantams went on a quick 3-0 run, but the Panthers came right back to tie the score at 20-20. Trinity had Middlebury on the ropes after a blast from Engstrom made it 23-21, but the Panthers scored the final two points for a 27-25 set win. 

The Panthers took a commanding 19-9 lead in the third set, but a 7-2 spurt from the home team made things interesting and forced Middlebury to call a timeout. The Panthers completed the sweep on a block by Alice Roberts for the 25-20 victory.

Kolodka had four of the team's seven service aces and added a team-high 15 digs, while Isabel Sessions posted an impressive .455 (6-1-11) hitting clip for the visitors. Schaefer led the offensive output with 11 kills, while Roberts had eight. Chellsa Ferdinand dished out a team-best 13 assists, while Melanie English paced the effort at the net for the Panthers with three block solos and three block assists.

Engstrom led Trinity with 15 kills, while Underwood flanked Engstrom on the Bantam offense with nine kills and 11 digs.