Panther Win Streak Stops at Seven With Loss at Wesleyan

Corley Doyle had five kills and five total blocks in Saturday's contest.
Corley Doyle had five kills and five total blocks in Saturday's contest.

Middlebury had its seven-match winning streak snapped in a four-set loss at Wesleyan (25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 25-18) on Saturday in Silloway Gymnasium. The Panthers (10-3, 4-2) return to the court at Skidmore beginning at 7:00 p.m., while the Cardinals (11-2, 6-0) host Colby on Friday at 8:00 p.m.

With the opening set tied at 8-8, Wesleyan put together a 9-2 run, highlighted by three kills from Madeleine Lundberg, for a 17-10 lead. The visitors clawed their way back to within two (23-21) on a kill by Sarah Staver, but the Cardinals tallied two of the last three points for the set victory.

Wesleyan jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the second set, including a pair of kills by Mia Hogan for the Cardinals. Middlebury chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to 9-7 on a Wesleyan ball-handling error. Wesleyan tallied eight of the next 10 points, grabbing a 17-9 advantage on a Panther attacking error. The visitors recorded the next four points to pull to within four (17-13). The Cardinals answered with five-straight tallies, highlighted by three kills from Hogan, and gained a two-set advantage.

In the back-and-forth third set, Middlebury had a set point at 24-20 on a kill from Staver. The Cardinals tallied the next four points to knot the set at 24-24. After the teams traded the ensuing two points, kills from Corley Doyle and Isabel Sessions pulled the Panthers to within a set.

With the final set deadlocked at 8-8, the Cardinals posted the next five points for a 13-8 advantage. Middlebury moved back to within a pair at 18-16 on a kill from Doyle, but Wesleyan strung together six-straight points and claimed the set and the win.

Sessions led the Middlebury attack with 17 kills to go along with 12 digs for her seventh double-double of the season, while Staver had 12 kills and Maggie Wise chipped in with 11. Chellsa Ferdinand dished out 43 assists and tallied 18 digs, while Gigi Alper also had 18 digs. Claire White-Dzuro chipped in with 12. Doyle led the Panthers with five total blocks.

Wesleyan was paced by Hogan and Stasie Litinsky with 16 kills apiece. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson recorded 34 assists for the Cardinals, while Phia Bellizzi dug up a match-best 29 balls. Lundberg and Mia Jago each had five total blocks for the hosts.