Jeffs Go 1-1 on Day Two of Amherst Classic
First-year Callie Nielson had 21 assists in Amherst's win over Westfield State.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College volleyball team went 1-1 on day two of the Amherst Classic to move to 8-2 on the season. The Lord Jeffs opened play in LeFrak Gymnasium with a 3-1 loss to Middlebury College (25-22, 25-27, 25-21, 25-23) before defeating Westfield State in the afternoon match, 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-22).
The Lord Jeffs’ setback snapped a string of 14 consecutive victories in Amherst Classic competition, as Amherst had not suffered a loss since falling to Middlebury in 2005. The loss also snapped the Jeffs’ overall winning streak of five matches.
Amherst and Middlebury will meet again Saturday, Oct. 3 at Williams for a conference match. The Jeffs will have a rematch against Westfield State Wednesday, Oct. 14 back in LeFrak Gymnasium.
In Saturday’s other matches, Brandeis defeated Westfield State by a 3-0 margin (25-17, 26-24, 25-14) before taking care of Middlebury in a five-set thriller (21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 15-12).
The first set of the Amherst-Middlebury match opened with kills from Middlebury’s Whitney Bean and Jane Handel, but Amherst responded with four straight points. After the teams were notched at 8-8, the Panthers took control with a six-point run and never relinquished the lead. The Jeffs would close the gap to one point, but the visitors held on for the 25-22 win.
The second set provided plenty of action and suspense. Amherst did not take its first lead until Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) delivered a kill from the right side to make it 10-9, but the Panthers would respond with an 8-2 run to take a 17-12 lead. The Jeffs tied things up at 17 and at 19 but would face set point with Middlebury leading 24-23. Sophomore Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, CA) and first-year Emily Waterhouse (Sherman Oaks, CA) came through with timely kills to tie things up at 24-24 and 25-25, respectively, with a Berkley service ace finally handing the lead over to Amherst. Sophomore Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, CA) provided the winning hit to give the Jeffs a nail-biting 27-25 victory.
The Jeffs jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third set, but the Panthers came out of a timeout on a 7-0 run and soon led 16-10. Amherst cut it to 18-16, but Middlebury once again responded and took a 23-18 lead on blocks by Bean and Handel. The hosts cut their deficit to two points but committed a hitting error to seal the 25-21 loss.
Middlebury controlled the fourth set until a Berkley ace tied things up at 17-17. The Panthers started to pull away until Berkley once again evened the score, this time on a kill. An early deficit proved to be too much for Amherst to overcome, as Middlebury won the fourth set to take the match.
Meier led Amherst with 20 kills and four block assists, with Kanoff adding 16 kills and 11 digs. Katherine Jordan (Los Altos Hills, CA) had 51 assists and 12 digs, Bethany Belisle (Austin, TX) and Erin Camp (Santa Monica, CA) had 26 and 17 digs, respectively, and Laura Hyman (Glencoe, IL) added five block assists.
Amherst rebounded nicely by earning a convincing 3-0 victory over Westfield State. The Owls trailed 20-10 in the third set before rattling off six straight points, but their comeback attempt fell just short as the Jeffs held on for the 25-22 win.
Meier once again led Amherst with 12 kills, while Kanoff finished with 11kills and 10 digs. First-year Kristin Keeno (Honolulu, HI) and Belisle had 14 and 11 digs, respectively, with first-year Callie Nielson (Escondito, CA) recording 21 assists. Camp added another four service aces in the win.
The Lord Jeffs return to action Friday, Oct. 2 when they travel to Williams College for a crucial 6 p.m. NESCAC showdown with the Ephs.