Coming into the weekend, the women’s volleyball team was 11-1, having only fallen to Middlebury in a tough 3-2 loss three weeks ago. This past weekend, the team faced two tough NESCAC opponents — Tufts and Bowdoin — and the results did not go in favor of the Mammoths.
“Our team worked hard against both teams, but we simply had two off days,” Lizzie Papalia ’25 said. “Tufts and Bowdoin also played extremely well against us.”
The Jumbos, who had a record of 13-4 heading into Friday’s match, dominated the Mammoths, winning 3-0. Tufts won the first two sets in decisive fashion, as Amherst fell 18-25 and 16-25. However, the Mammoths battled to the finish, with Tufts squeaking out the third set, by a score of 22-25. The Jumbos were able to secure the tempo of the match from the first set, as they won in the match by taking three consecutive sets.
Offensively, the Mammoths were led by right side Caroline Tilton ’23, middle hitter Sophie Launsbach ’22, and outside hitter Jamie Dailey ’22. Tilton and Dailey dominated the game for the Mammoths, as Tilton recorded 12 kills and two blocks in the match, and Dailey finished with nine kills, 10 digs and three service aces. Dailey has been a huge asset to the team this fall, as she currently leads the NESCAC in kills per set at 4.02.
Despite fighting to the finish, Amherst suffered another tough loss the following day against Bowdoin. The Polar Bears also presented a challenge for the Mammoths, beating Amherst by a score of 3-0. Bowdoin entered the competition with a 13-3 record, with a 6-1 NESCAC record. All three sets were hard fought by both teams, with the Polar Bears winning the first set by only two points, and the second set by only three.
Late in the first set, Amherst led 22-21, but Bowdoin capitalized on a series of errors, winning 25-23. Amherst bounced back, started the second set strong, jumping out to a 6-1 lead. The rest of the set was extremely close, and up until the end, with neither leading by more than two points. The third set, once again, started evenly matched, but the final score was 25-18 in Bowdoin’s favor.
The Mammoths were again led by Launsback, Dailey and Tilton, with a combined 25 kills.
This season, Launsbach has been a constantly stellar player for the Mammoths, finishing with 11 kills and one block in this game. Dailey also added 14 digs in the match, while Sami Underwood ’23 notched six kills and eight digs. Papalia also made an impressive contribution, recording 16 digs on Saturday.
Despite a tough weekend, the Mammoths are optimistic about their post season chances. “We are looking forward to the NESCAC tournament and hopefully making the NCAA tournament,” Papalia said. “We believe we have a good chance at winning our conference, so we are using our practices and matches leading up to the conference tournament to prepare to play as best as we possibly can.”
Amherst is hosting a double header at LeFrak Gymnasium this coming weekend, competing against Wellesley on Friday Oct. 22 at 6:00p.m. and Westfield State on Saturday Oct. 23 at 1:00p.m., where they hope to rebound from this past weekend.