Panther Volleyball Edges Worcester State in Season Opener

Sarah Staver tallied a .706 hitting percentage (12-0-17) in Friday's three-set victory.
Sarah Staver tallied a .706 hitting percentage (12-0-17) in Friday's three-set victory.

The Middlebury women's volleyball team had a solid opening night to the 2018 season, as the Panthers defeated Worcester State on Friday at the Wheaton Invitational. The Panthers were victorious by scores of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-19. Middlebury (1-0) is right back on the court tomorrow, facing Farmingdale State at 11:00 a.m. followed by a match against the host Lyons at approximately 1:00 p.m.

The opening set saw the Lancers (1-4) move out to a 9-4 lead on a kill from Amari King. The Panthers eased their way back into the set with six-straight points for a 10-9 edge. With the score knotted at 14-14, Worcester State tallied five of the next seven points for a 19-16 lead. Middlebury recorded nine of the final 10 points of the set, including three kills from Sarah Staver, for a 25-20 victory.

With Middlebury clinging to a 9-7 edge, the Panthers reeled off a 7-2 run, capped by a kill from Shea Golden, for a 16-9 advantage. Worcester State slowly chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to three at 23-20. After a Middlebury timeout, the Panthers scored the last two points on a Lancer service error and a service ace by Isabel Sessions for a two-set lead.

The final set saw Middlebury jump out to a 6-2 lead. Worcester State put together a 9-3 run, concluded on a kill by Natalie Gillis, for an 11-9 advantage. Maintaining a 17-16 edge, the Panthers slowly pulled away for the 25-19 win, capped by a kill from Golden for the sweep.

Staver paced the balanced Middlebury offense, finishing with 12 kills on 17 attempts and no errors for a .706 hitting percentage. That mark is the second-highest single-match percentage in the program's history. Golden also recorded 12 kills, while Sessions chipped in with nine and 12 digs. Chellsa Ferdinand handed out a match-high 34 assists to go along with seven kills, seven digs and a match-best four service aces. Gigi Alper tallied a team-best 22 digs, while Claire White-Dzuro dug up 19 balls.

Worcester State was led by King with 11 kills to go along with 11 digs, while Stephanie Chapin tacked on eight kills. Allie Nolan tallied a team-high 25 assists for the Lancers, while Megan Leavens posted 22 digs.