Amherst Picks up 3-0 Win Over Keene State in Home Opener

Photo by Charlie Quigg
Junior Sara Heller racked up 32 assists, nine service aces and eight digs.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College volleyball team moved to 4-0 (0-0 NESCAC) on the season with a 3-0 win over Keene State College at LeFrak Gymnasium. The Lord Jeffs open up their NESCAC slate Friday when they travel to Tufts University for an 8 p.m. match with Hamilton College.

Junior Sara Heller (La Canada, CA) gave Amherst some early momentum, as the Jeffs earned a point on each of her first six serves and jumped out to a 6-0 lead, forcing the Owls to call a timeout. The visitors gathered their composure and stormed back into the game with five unanswered points, but Amherst got right back to work and took an 18-7 lead. Keene State prolonged the first game by going on a small run, as it trailed 29-22 and forced Amherst to call its first timeout, but the Jeffs came out of the break and took care of business to earn the 30-22 win.

The Owls trailed 11-3 in the second frame and once again found themselves in an early hole, but were able to slowly climb back and make things interesting, as the Jeffs held a slim 25-22 advantage late in the game. After Keene State once again cut its deficit to just three points at 28-25, Amherst senior tri-captain Jaclyn DeMais (Hillsdale, NJ) pounded a booming spike that the Owl defense couldn’t handle, handing the momentum right back to the Jeffs, who held on for the 30-25 victory.

Amherst could not put the Owls away early in game three, as the teams battled back and forth to tie the score four times before the Jeffs built up a 10-7 lead. Trailing 12-10, Keene State scored five unanswered points only to have Amherst go on a five-point run of its own to take a 17-15 lead. The teams notched up once again at 21-21 and the Owls remained in the game until the end, trailing 28-26, but the Jeffs scored the next two points to claim their fourth win of the season.

DeMais led the Amherst attack by finishing with 13 kills, adding nine digs, five total blocks and a pair of service aces, while Heller racked up 32 assists, nine service aces and eight digs. First-year Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA), sophomore Bethany Belisle (Austin, TX) and senior tri-captain Julie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) each had 10 digs and combined for 14 service aces. First-year Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) made her presence felt on the net, as she assisted on four blocks to bring her season total to a team-best 13.

Keene State junior Brittany O'Bryant led the Owls with 17 kills, while senior tri-captain Kelly Yankowski finished with 12 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore Jordan Pokryfki picked up 33 assists, adding six service aces on the night.