Volleyball’s Best Start Since 2007 Halted by Wesleyan and Endicott
A dominating team performance on Friday night against Conn. College pushed the volleyball team’s record to a decade-best 10-0 and 3-0 in the NESCAC. The momentum was not enough to carry the team through the rest of the weekend, however, as Amherst dropped both matches on Saturday to rival Wesleyan and non-conference opponent Endicott College, giving the Mammoths their first two losses of the year.
On Friday, Sept. 28, the Firedogs hosted the Camels, who entered the match 1-2 in league play. Amherst ran away with the first set of the night, taking the lead early and never looking back. Captain Hayes Honea ’19 had three service aces in the first set, culminating in a 25-10 win. In the second, the Camels took an early 5-4 lead, but Amherst responded with a 9-3 run, and eventually a 25-15 set win. In the third and final set, Amherst jumped out to a 10-4 lead and held off a Camel run that closed the gap to as close as 11-9. The Firedogs easily rebounded though to win the set 25-17. Emily Kolsky ’20 led all players with 18 kills, Skyleur Savage ’22 contributed 18 digs and Charlotte Duran ’20 finished with 41 assists. Jamie Dailey ’21 and Claire Dennis ’20 each had four blocks to pace Amherst.
Amherst hosted Wesleyan and Endicott in a round-robin the next day, Saturday, Sept. 29. In the highly-anticipated first match, Amherst sought to deal reigning NESCAC champion Wesleyan its first conference loss of the season. However, Wesleyan’s class and experience shone through, as the Cardinals walked away with a comfortable straight-set win. The Cardinals jumped out to an early first-set lead and, though the Firedogs kept it close, won 25-21. The second set was the most competitive of the match as Amherst fended off three straight set-points to tie the Cardinals at 24, but Wesleyan took over to win two straight points and the set, 26-24. After the heart-breaking loss in the second, it seemed Amherst’s spirit dropped, as the Cardinal easily took the third set, 25-13. Dailey and Kolsky each had 11 kills and Sophie Launsbach ’22 added seven kills in the match. Duran led Amherst with 35 assists and Candace Chung ’20 contributed 8 digs in the match.
In its second match of the day, Amherst looked to avenge its first loss of the season, but the Mammoths were slow out the gates. It was all Endicott in the first set, with the Gulls powering their way to a competitive 25-21 set victory. Amherst responded with an impressive 25-14 second set win to even the match at one apiece. The Firedogs missed several opportunities to take the lead from the Gulls in the third and dropped the frame 25-23. In the fourth, another missed opportunity to take the lead resulted in a 26-24 set loss and, in turn, a 3-1 match loss. First years led the way for Amherst, as Launsbach finished with 15 kills and Savage led with 17 digs. Dennis also contributed five blocks for Amherst.
The Firedogs’ next match will be on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium against Westfield State University. Amherst will then hit the road to take on conference opponents Tufts on Friday night and Bowdoin on Saturday afternoon.