Middlebury Edges Williams In Five-Set Thriller

Maggie Wise posted a team-best 17 kills in Friday's win.
Maggie Wise posted a team-best 17 kills in Friday's win.

The Middlebury volleyball team won the opening two sets, lost the next two and edged Williams (14-9, 5-4) in the decisive frame for a 3-2 road victory (25-16, 25-23, 26-28, 22-25, 17-15) in Chandler Gymnasium. The Panthers (13-9, 5-4) conclude their regular-season schedule Saturday with a 2:00 p.m. conference match at Hamilton.

Ahead 11-9 in the first set, the Panthers rattled off an 11-3 run for a 22-12 lead, capped by a kill from Shea Golden. Maggie Wise had three kills during the spurt for Middlebury. The Ephs cut the deficit to 23-16 on a kill from Lydia Kurtz, before a scoring hit by Middlebury's Jaime Donnelly and a Williams ball-handling error gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

The second set saw Middlebury move out to a 14-8 edge on an Eph attack error. Williams pulled within 18-17 on a Panther hitting miscue, before Middlebury reeled off four-straight points. Williams again came within one (24-23) on a Panther hitting error, before an Eph attack error gave Middlebury a two-set lead.

In a back-and-forth third set that saw five ties early on, the Panthers grabbed their biggest lead of the stanza (17-13) on a kill from Wise. Williams slowly clawed back into the set, knotting it at 22-22 on a block assist from Erin Denham and Anna Tosolini. After trading the next few points and tied at 26-26, a kill by Kurtz and a solo block by Olivia Hindy gave the hosts the set.

The fourth set saw Williams grab a 15-11 edge on a Middlebury setting error. The Panthers rattled off a 6-1 run for a 17-16 advantage and eventually took a 22-19 lead on a kill from Wise. The Ephs tallied the final six points of the set and leveled the match at 2-2.

Williams secured leads of 10-7 and 14-11 in the final set, before the Panthers fought back and tied the score at 14-14 on a kill by Corley Doyle. After a kill from Kurtz gave the Ephs another match point, a pair of hitting miscues by Williams and a kill from Wise gave the Panthers the hard-fought five-set win.

Wise led a balanced Middlebury attack with 17 kills and recorded 16 digs, while Doyle added 12 kills. Chellsa Ferdinand handed out 30 assists to go along with 16 digs, while Gigi Alper had a match-high 28 digs. Emma Walsh had 16 assists and a match-best three service aces, while Doyle finished the contest with four block assists.

Williams was paced by Erin Denham with 22 kills, while Kurtz had 19 and Christina Conforti posted 12. Alexandra Newton recorded 48 assists and 11 digs for the Ephs, while Daiana Takashima dug up 26 balls. Hindy recorded two block solos and three block assists for the hosts.