Volleyball Follows Close Losses With Dominant Win

After incredibly tight losses to Springfield College and Tufts earlier in the week, the Mammoths bounced back with a 3-0 win against UMass Boston.

Volleyball Follows Close Losses With Dominant Win
Carly Cooper ’24, who leads the Mammoths in assists, sets up her teammate in a game earlier in the year. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

Amherst women’s volleyball took on a trio of teams from Massachusetts this past week. After narrowly losing in close games against Springfield College and Tufts, the Mammoths bounced back with a three-set sweep against UMass Boston.

First up was a contest with Springfield College on Thursday, Oct. 13, where the Firedogs were bested in a close four-set match. In the first set, neither team led by more than two until the Pride scored four straight points to take a three-point lead. Responding fiercely, the Mammoths scored three straight points to tie the match again. It would stay close until seniors Sam Underwood ’23 and Jacqueline Kortekaas ’23 hit crucial kills to take the first set.

The second set was much the same. The two teams stayed within two points of each other until Springfield scored the final five points of the set to win 25-22, tying the game at one set apiece.

Starting strong in the third set, the Mammoths took a 9-2 lead with seven straight service points from Kortekaas. The Pride responded, however, putting up eight points to tie the set at 10-10. Another seven-point run placed Springfield up 22-17 and, despite the Mammoths fighting back to get within one, Springfield gutted out a 25-22 win.

In the decisive fourth set, Amherst was determined to come out strong, taking an early 4-0 lead, but fell behind once again late in the set. A kill from senior Caroline Tilton ’23 tied the match at 25-25, but Springfield scored the final two points to take the set 27-25 and close out the match with a 3-1 victory.

The team’s next contest was against NESCAC rival Tufts two days later. Amherst took control early in the first set, amassing a 9-4 lead. And while Tufts came firing back to even the score at 12, the Mammoths notched seven consecutive points to take control back and went on to win the set 25-17.

However, the Jumbos stormed back, taking both sets two and three by scores of 25-15 and 25-11. There were bright spots, though, as spectacular efforts by sophomores Anaya Thomas ’25 and Lizzie Papalia ’25 kept the Mammoths’ momentum going into the fourth set.

The Firedogs came up strong in the fourth set, taking a 21-8 lead behind senior Lani Uyeno ’23, who served 10 of those points. They went on to beat the Jumbos 25-11 and sent the game into a first-to-15 fifth set. In the winner-takes-all final set, Jumbos took an 11-5 lead, but the Mammoths remained steadfast and closed the gap to 14-13 before the Jumbos ended the set — and the match — at 15-13.

“The past two games were both super close, and I think our team grew a lot from them,” Papalia said. “We learned a lot about playing close games and are working on being a better closing team. I believe these losses will prepare us very well for the next couple of games, and, more importantly, the NESCAC tournament. I am very excited for the competition coming up and think we are set up to do well.”

And with excitement, the Mammoths took on UMass Boston on Tuesday, Oct. 18, handily defeating the Beacons in three straight sets. After a relatively close first set that the Mammoths closed out by a score of 25-17, the Mammoths took control of the match, winning the next two sets 25-11 and 25-8 to shut the door. In a game in which almost every member of the team saw the floor, Charlotte Rasmussen ’26 led the way with 12 kills, while Kortekaas added 11 assists.

The Mammoths will play next on Saturday, Oct. 22, in LeFrak Gymnasium at 2 p.m. against Emerson College, when they will celebrate Senior Day and the fantastic contributions of their four seniors.