Panthers Ease Past Colby-Sawyer in Home-Opening Match

Isabel Sessions hit a sparkling .833 (10-0-12) during Wednesday's win over Colby-Sawyer.
Isabel Sessions hit a sparkling .833 (10-0-12) during Wednesday's win over Colby-Sawyer.

The Middlebury volleyball team opened the home portion of its 2017 schedule with a three-set home sweep (25-9, 25-14, 25-12) of Colby-Sawyer on Wednesday evening in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (9-2), winners of seven-straight matches, return to the court Friday when they jump back into NESCAC play with a 7:00 p.m. home conference tilt against Bates, while Colby-Sawyer (4-12) plays Castleton and Green Mountain on Saturday.

Middlebury raced to a 7-1 lead in the opening set and was never threatened during the 25-9 victory. Isabel Sessions produced five kills in the first set for the hosts.

In the second set, the visitors claimed a 7-4 advantage on a service ace by Olivia Goodrich. Middlebury scored the ensuing six points, taking a 10-7 lead on a Charger attack error. Clinging to a 13-10 edge, the Panthers scored 10 of the next 13 points, capped off by a kill from Shea Golden, for a 23-13 advantage. Kills from Jaime Donnelly and Becca Raffel closed out the set for the hosts and a 2-0 lead.

The final set saw Colby-Sawyer claim an 8-4 lead on a Panther setting error, but Middlebury rattled off a 9-1 run for a 13-9 advantage. The Chargers cut it to three on a kill by Nicole Matcheski, but Middlebury scored 12 of the last 14 points of the match for the 25-12 triumph.

Sessions paced the balanced Middlebury offense, finishing with a match-best total of 10 kills and a sparkling .833 hitting percentage (10-0-12). Eliana Schaefer ended her night adding eight kills on 14 attempts with one error for a .500 hitting percentage, while Raffel chipped in with five kills and eight digs. Emma Walsh handed out a match-high 28 assists to go along three service aces. Emily Kolodka dug up seven balls and also had three service aces, while Gigi Alper tallied a match-high 16 digs. Beth Neal recorded three service aces for the Panthers, while Schaefer, Walsh, Alice Roberts and Sarah Staver each had three block assists.

Colby-Sawyer was paced by Courtney Murray and Alli Lahiff with eight kills apiece. Rebecca Straubel led the Chargers with 10 digs, while Olivia Goodrich tallied a team-high 13 assists to go along with eight digs.