Bowdoin Rallies to Defeat Middlebury; Sessions Eclipses 1,000 Kills  

Isabel Sessions smashes her 1,000th career kill in Saturday's first set against Bowdoin. (photo by Will Costello)
Isabel Sessions smashes her 1,000th career kill in Saturday's first set against Bowdoin. (photo by Will Costello)

The Middlebury volleyball team grabbed a 2-1 lead, but visiting Bowdoin rallied to win the last two sets Saturday for a 3-2 win (25-22, 16-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-9) over the Panthers in Pepin Gymnasium. In the setback, Middlebury's Isabel Sessions became just the sixth player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career kills. The Panthers (12-4, 5-3) return to play Friday when they travel to Babson for a 7:00 p.m. match, while the Polar Bears (18-1, 8-0) host Bates on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

In the opening set, Bowdoin garnered a 10-5 lead on a kill by Ashley Williams. The hosts clawed their way back into the stanza, securing a 20-17 advantage on a kill by Maggie Wise. The Polar Bears tallied the next three points, knotting the set at 20-20 on a kill by Sophia Paul. Trading the next four points, the visitors rattled off the final three for a 25-22 victory.

Tied at 3-3 in the second set, the Panthers put together a 13-4 run for a 16-7 lead. Bowdoin cut the deficit to six at 20-14 on a Middlebury attack error, but a kill from Wise for the hosts evened the match at a set apiece.

During a back-and-forth third set that had eight ties, the Panthers turned a 21-21 score into a 25-23 victory, capped by a kill from Sarah Staver for a 2-1 lead.

Clinging to a 10-7 edge in the fourth set, Bowdoin rattled off 11 of the next 14 points, highlighted by kills from five different players for a 25-12 win and leveled the match at two sets apiece.

In the decisive fifth set, Bowdoin led 8-6 and reeled off five-consecutive points for a 13-6 advantage, easing to the 15-9 set win and the 3-2 victory.

Staver and Sessions led the Middlebury offensive output with 14 kills each, while Wise added 10. Chellsa Ferdinand dished out 42 assists, moving into eighth place in the career ranks by herself with 1,226 after tying Kathryn Haderlein '14 (1,184) during last night's win. Gigi Alper ended the match with a team-best 20 digs, while Ferdinand added 17 and Claire White-Dzuro had 12. Shea Golden produced a match-best four service aces for the hosts.

Bowdoin had three players with double-figure kill totals, as Ashley Williams and Caroline Flaharty both had 11, while Sydney Salle added 10. Kate Kiser recorded a match-high 46 assists for the Polar Bears, while Lisa Sheldon dug up 32 balls and Flaharty tallied 16. Cori Gray recorded two solo blocks and seven block assists to go along with nine kills.