Panthers Ease Past Colby-Sawyer in Home Opener

Corley Doyle had eight kills on just 12 attempts in Wednesday's win.
Corley Doyle had eight kills on just 12 attempts in Wednesday's win.

The Middlebury volleyball team opened the home portion of its 2019 schedule with a three-set sweep (25-19, 25-19, 25-18) of Colby-Sawyer on Wednesday in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (5-2) return to the court Friday when they jump back into NESCAC play with an 8:00 p.m. road tilt at Colby, while Colby-Sawyer (7-7) plays St. Joseph's (Maine) and Husson on Saturday.

Tied at 4-4 in the opening set, Middlebury rattled off a 7-0 spurt for an 11-4 advantage on a Charger attack error. Colby-Sawyer chipped into the deficit, moving to within 13-9 on a service ace from Olivia Goodrich. The Panthers pushed the advantage back to 22-15 on a kill by Maggie Wise, before the visitors tallied four-straight points to pull within three. Middlebury ended the set with a trio of points, including a set-clinching kill by Jane Nelson.

The second set saw the Panthers grab a 10-5 lead on a kill by Shea Golden, but the Chargers tied the set at 12-12 via a kill from Sam Mohammed. Both teams traded small leads until the score was 18-18, as Middlebury posted seven of the final eight points of the set to take a 2-0 lead.

The final set saw the hosts claim a 10-4 lead on a kill by Wise. The Chargers cut it to four (12-8) on a kill by Naarah Cox, but point-scoring swings by Jaime Donnelly and Nelson made the score 14-8 in favor of Middlebury. The Panthers maintained between a five and eight-point lead over the remainder of the set to earn the sweep.

Nelson and Wise paced the balanced Middlebury offense with 10 kills apiece, while Corley Doyle had eight on just 12 attempts with no errors. Chellsa Ferdinand dished out a match-best 19 assists to go with a pair of service aces, while Emma Walsh finished with 15 assists. Gigi Alper tallied 10 digs, while Wise had seven.

Colby-Sawyer was led by Mohammed with eight kills, while Cox added seven. Anna Allen posted 18 assists and seven digs, while Morgan Flynn tallied a team-best 13 digs.