Panthers Cruise Past St. Lawrence to Cap Perfect Weekend

Melanie English had five kills and lead the Panthers with five block assists during Saturday's victory.
Melanie English had five kills and lead the Panthers with five block assists during Saturday's victory.

Middlebury capped off a perfect 2-0 home weekend with a three-set sweep (25-23, 25-19, 25-15) of St. Lawrence Saturday in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (6-3) have won three-straight matches and return to action when they travel Tuesday to Colby-Sawyer for a 7:00 p.m. match, while St. Lawrence hosts Potsdam on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

Middlebury raced to an 8-3 lead in the opening set, but the Saints (5-10) cut the Panther advantage to three at 9-6 on a service ace by Masha Kolesnikova. The hosts responded with a quick four points, but St. Lawrence slowly chipped away and gained a 23-22 lead via a kill by Marissa Parker. The Panthers fought back, taking the first set on kills by Emily Kolodka and Becca Raffel as well as a service ace from Chellsa Ferdinand for the two-point victory.

The second set played out like the first when the Panthers scored garnered a 6-2 lead, highlighted by three kills from Melanie English. The Saints closed the Panther lead to one at 8-7, but the hosts tallied four of the next five points for a 12-8 edge. The teams went back and forth, as the visitors cut the deficit to three on a setting miscue at 13-10. Middlebury quickly came back with a 5-2 run and weren't challenged again in the set for a 2-0 lead.

The final set saw the Panthers record the initial five points of the set, but St. Lawrence put together a 5-2, making the score 7-5 on a block assist from Parker and Mac Barnes. Middlebury rattled off six of the next seven points, cruising to the straight-set triumph.

Isabel Sessions paced the balanced Middlebury offense, finishing with a match-best total of 15 kills. Sarah Staver added a career-best seven kills on 12 attempts with two errors for a .417 hitting percentage, while Eliana Schaefer chipped in with six kills and four block assists. Ferdinand posted match-best totals with 36 assists and three service aces. Gigi Alper tallied a match-high 16 digs, while Claire White-Dzuro had nine digs. English tacked on five kills and five block assists.

St. Lawrence was paced by Kolesnikova with 14 kills to go with eight digs. Maddy Bishop dished out 19 assists for the Saints as well as five digs, while Ally Good tallied 15 digs.