The 2022 season for volleyball started off on the right foot on Wednesday, Sept. 7, as the team dominated Westfield State University en route to a win in straight sets. The Mammoths got great contributions from a variety of players, both rookie and veteran alike: Anaya Thomas ’25 and Alexandra Trofort ’26 put down eight kills each, while Caroline Tilton ’23 and Charlotte Rasmussen ’26 racked up six apiece. But the Mammoths didn’t only get noteworthy performances from their front-line players. Eleven digs from libero Katelyn Hamasaki ’24 led the team defensively and helped the Mammoths put together a strong showing in their home- and season-opening game.
After handling their business in their first home game, Amherst traveled down to New York to play a three-game tournament this past weekend at New York University. Their first match of the weekend came against DeSales University on Friday, Sept. 9. Though the location changed from LeFrak Gymnasium to the courts at NYU, the Mammoths carried their momentum from their first game into this contest. They came out strong, and were able to use their chemistry to best DeSales 25-21 in the first set. A ball-handling error by the Bulldogs allowed Sam Underwood ’23 to take full advantage and notch the kill that won the set for the Mammoths.
Their dominance wouldn’t stop there, though, as they continued their success on the court in the second set, winning 25-20. The second frame was capped off by a kill from Thomas off a beautiful assist from senior setter Jaqueline Kortekaas ’23. The Mammoths finished off DeSales shortly thereafter, as the Bulldogs went out with a whimper — the Mammoths won the match via an attack error — suffering a 25-15 defeat in the last set to lose the game 3-0. Tilton led the charge with 10 kills. Having not yet dropped a set on the season, Amherst headed into their next game at 2-0.
Their next matchup was against Wheaton College, and unlike their first two games of the week, this one would be a grueling, back-and-forth match. It didn’t start out great for the Mammoths, as they went down two sets to zero. However, with their backs against the wall, the Mammoths came roaring back to take the third and fourth sets 25-13 and 25-22 and force a winner-take-all fifth set. However, despite a hard-fought battle in the final set, Wheaton pulled away to win the set 15-8, sealing the match and handing the Mammoths their first loss of the season. Tilton again led the Mammoths offensively with 13 kills, and Trofort recorded 11 kills of her own.
To close out the weekend, the Mammoths faced their most challenging opponent yet in No. 8 NYU. After a lopsided first set, the Mammoths tightened the gap in the following two, but the Violets proved too much in this contest, as they beat the Mammoths in straight sets 25-13, 25-22, 25-20. Chloe Chanren ’24 led the Mammoths with seven kills, followed by Tilton and Trofort with five apiece.
With their record standing at 2-2 on the season, the Mammoths will face Hamilton in a 7 p.m. start at home, looking to start their conference schedule on the right foot.