Williamstown, MA-- Volleyball looked to bounce back from their midweek setback to NESCAC rival Middlebury as they took on Bates in their home NESCAC opener. Playing in front of a loud and boisterous home crowd the Ephs were fired up throughout the match, coming away with a well deserved 3-0 (25-13, 28-26, 25-21) victory. With the win Williams moves to 8-5 on the year (3-1 in NESCAC) while Bates drops to 7-7 (0-2 in NESCAC). The Ephs dedicated the match to La Jolla native Karleigh Ash, a friend of the program, who is battling lymphoma at home in California. Inspired to action Williams would slam home 39 "Kills for Karleigh" on the evening, one of their best offensive performances of the season so far.
The visiting Bobcats kept it close through the opening few points, keeping the match tied at 5-5. A 6-0 serving run by sophomore libero Emily O'Day, however, would spark the Ephs to an 11-5 lead, necessitating a Bates timeout. Coming out of the break, though, the Bobcats still found it tough going. First year middle hitter Catherine Egan patrolled the net with a vengeance, registering five of her team leading six blocks in the first set. Williams would roll to an insurmountable 17-7 lead as they took the first set handily 25-13.
In the second set Bates jumped out to an early lead 7-3, requiring an Eph timeout. A block by Egan narrowed the gap to two points down 6-8, but Bates would respond to take the lead to 10-7. The Bobcats would maintain a three point lead up to 14-11, although a 3-0 serving run by senior defensive specialist Lauren Agoubi tied the score at 14-14. After a Bates timeout they dug out a 2-0 run to take the lead 16-14. A kill by sophomore outside hitter Claire Miller tied the score at 17-17 but the Bobcats would again rebound to take a 19-17 lead. Senior co-captain Haley Eagon slammed down an overpass to tie the score at 19-19, requiring a second time out from Bates. The Bobcats would respond with a 3-1 run, flipping the score to 22-20, prompting a Williams timeout. Kills by junior co-captain Emily Doll and junior outside hitter Emily Baratta tied the score at 24. A 2-0 run by Bates put the Ephs on the brink, although another kill by Doll tied the score at 24-24 and a kill by Baratta made it 26-25. Digging deep Williams would close out the set 28-26.
The junior tandem of Doll and Baratta provided much of the firepower for the Ephs, as they had 9 and 11 kills respectively in the match. Doll would lead the team in hitting percentage with .444 while Miller had an additional 7 kills while hitting .385. After a narrow escape in set 2 the Ephs would leave no doubt to start the third set. Two blocks by Haley Eagon helped Williams get out to a 4-0. The Ephs maintained a 4 point lead at 8-4, although the Bobcats would claw their way back into the set at 9-10. Williams would respond, taking a three point lead at 15-12. A Baratta kill would push the lead to 16-12. With the lead up to five at 18-13 Bates called a timeout, although it would not prove enough in the short term as Williams was able to maintain their lead. Down 18-23 the Bobcats launched one final rally to close to within 21-23, but a service error would leave them stranded with Williams at match point and little room for recompense. A kill by first year middle hitter Katherine Lane would emphatically end things for the Ephs as they garnered their third conference win on the year.
Williams saw marked improvement in the match over their performance versus Middlebury. The Ephs threw back twelve total balls with their blocking, seven more than on Wednesday night. Egan would lead the team with six total blocks while classmate Katherine Lane would add in an additional four. First year setter Ryan Farley had three blocks to go along with a team leading 30 assists. In the defensive back court Emily O'Day had 10 digs, while Doll was second on the team with 7. If there was one point of issue for the Ephs it was their serving, as they had 12 errors as opposed to only one service ace.
The win marks an important conference victory for Williams, as they move to 3-1 on the year in conference, leaving them tied for second in the current conference standings. The Ephs will now turn around to face the Mules of Colby College tomorrow afternoon in Chandler Gymnasium.