The volleyball team came away from their Maine road trip this weekend with an unblemished NESCAC record, despite two difficult matches against Colby and Bates.
The weekend kicked off Friday night in Lewiston, where the Firedogs battled Bates. Bates and Amherst were both undefeated six games into the season, and the Mammoths had only dropped a single set all season in an earlier win over Emerson College.
Bates, from the opening serve, however, challenged the Firedogs. Although the Mammoths won the first set 25-21, Amherst then rallied from a 10-0 deficit in the second set to win 25-21. Bates took the third set after Amherst struggled to put together back-to-back points, leaving the Bobcats in a do-or-die fourth set to protect their perfect record. Bates came out of the gate quickly, making a seven-point run early in the set and preserving their lead to force overtime.
The Firedogs, despite smooth sailing so far this season, were prepared for the fifth set. Amherst took seven of the first nine points of the set, and the Firedogs ended victorious on a kill by Emily Kolsky ’20 set by Charlotte Duran ’20.
The Firedogs then had a quick turnaround, as they traveled 50 miles down east to Waterville the next morning to face Colby and Endicott in a tri-match.
Amherst made light work of Colby, which only finished within 10 points of Amherst in the first set when they lost 25-17. Sophie Launsbach ’22 and Jamie Dailey ’21 both had 13 kills each and Duran had 34 assists.
Amherst’s match against Endicott, however, proved to be more difficult. Heading into the matchup, the Gulls were ranked No. 6 in the New England Women’s Volleyball Association Regional Poll to Amherst’s ninth.
The Firedogs won the first set 25-22 after Cameron Hendricks ’20 killed the ball for the final point. In the second set, Amherst continued to dominate, and it appeared that the higher-ranked Gulls were folding under the might of the Firedogs, as numerous Endicott handling errors led to a 25-10 scoreline in favor of Amherst. Amherst, now in a sizeable lead, had to take just one of the following three sets, but the Gulls showed great tenacity and took the match, handing Amherst its first loss of the season.
As Amherst looks to battle toward its second NESCAC Final — in just as many years after a 10-year drought — it will need to prepare a strong resume in conference play. Playing Endicott, however, certainly may prove a valuable experience for head coach Sue Everden’s squad as they move forward and learn to respond to difficult opponents. Amherst’s next matchup is against NESCAC heavyweights Middlebury on Friday, Sept. 25 in LeFrak Gym at 7 p.m.
Correction: The Student erroneously reported the order of results in Amherst’s match against Bates. The Firedogs won the first, second and fifth sets against Bates.