Amherst Dominates Rivalry Match at Williams; Wins 3-1
Seniors Sara Heller (left, facing away) and Hannah Wirth (#14)
helped lead Amherst to a 3-1 win at Williams.
The Lord Jeffs exploded to an impressive 25-16 win in the opening set, riding a strong performance across the court. Despite playing their largest rival at home, Williams looked slow to start.
In the second set, Amherst took a quick 10-3 lead, grabbing a memorable point on a kill down the line by first-year outside hitter Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, CA). Moments later, Amherst denied a would-be Williams kill as senior quad-captains Sara Heller (La Canada, CA) and Hannah Wirth (Pacific Palisades, CA) combined for a block on the right side of the net.
The strong play by both rookies and veterans allowed Amherst to rally for a 25-20 win, and take a two games to none lead. The Lord Jeffs could not relax though, as just Saturday at the NESCAC quad at Amherst, Williams rallied from a 2-0 hole against top-ranked Tufts University to force a five set marathon.
Williams looked to do that once again this evening, going neck and neck with the Lord Jeffs throughout the third set. Williams took a 21-19 lead, before Amherst picked up a kill off the hands of an Eph defender. On the ensuing serve, Williams took a side out before closing out the set 25-21.
The two archrivals started a decisive fourth set, and Amherst returned to its early form, doubling up the Ephs 16-8. Amherst increased its lead to 20-10 on a service ace by Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA), before a blocking violation gave the Jeffs another point.
With the Lord Jeffs up 22-12, Wirth and first-year Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, CA) combined for another block. The Ephs took a point, before Amherst grabbed a side out on another Meier smash.
Williams stayed alive facing match point with a quick run of points to close the gap to 24-18. The rally was too little, too late, as Amherst took the 25-18 win on a massive kill down the left sideline by Kanoff.
Leading the way for Amherst was Meier with a career-high 20 kills and four blocks, Kanoff with 15 kills and Wirth with seven kills. Sophomores Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA) and Erin Camp (Santa Monica, CA) had 28 and 15 digs, respectively. Heller was a playmaker once again for the Jeffs with 51 assists in the win.