Jeffs Earn Impressive 3-0 Win Over Emerson to Stay Perfect

Callie Neilson '13 had 31 assists and nine digs.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College volleyball team continued to roll with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-22) win over Emerson College Tuesday night in LeFrak Gymnasium. The visiting Lions entered the match ranked seventh in the New England Women’s Volleyball Association  Division III Regional Poll—their highest ranking ever—but struggled against the fifth-ranked Lord Jeffs.

Amherst improves to 3-0 and has yet to lose a set on the young season, while Emerson drops to 7-2. The Lord Jeffs have now won 14 consecutive home openers by a 3-0 margin and have swept the Lions in each of the past five years.

Reigning GNAC Player of the Week Lauren Zaniboni ’11 opened the first set with a kill for Emerson, but Amherst would quickly go ahead 2-1 and never relinquish the lead. The difference maker in the opening set was an 8-1 spurt that gave the hosts 21-12 lead. The Lions would cut the deficit to five, but sophomore Callie Neilson (Escondido, CA) wrapped up the 25-18 win with a service ace. Zaniboni recorded eight digs in the set, while Mary Reiser ’12 (New York, NY) and Cristy Meier ’12 (San Anselmo, CA) each had four kills for the Jeffs.

Amherst scored the first six points of the second set, but the Lions chipped away at the lead until they trailed by only two at 11-9. The Jeffs pushed right back with a 9-2 run and never looked back, leading wire-to-wire for the 25-17 victory. Meier and Zaniboni paced their respective teams with four kills apiece in the set.

Megan Kaplon ’12 helped Emerson jump out to a 5-0 lead in the third set by winning the first point on a powerful kill. The Lions would lead by as many as six, but Amherst battled back and went on an impressive 10-1 run en route to a 15-12 advantage. The Jeffs’ lead hovered between two and four until an Emerson block by Zaniboni and Alexa Krakowiak ’13 made it 21-20, but Amherst would hang on for the 25-22 win, wrapping things up on a kill from tri-captain Jackie Berkley ’11 (Fullerton, CA).

Neilson dished out 31 assists and had nine digs for Amherst, while Reiser and tri-captain Laura Hyman ’11 (Glencoe, IL) had six block assists apiece as a dominant force at the net. Reiser also had seven kills, with Meier adding 10 of her own. Erin Camp ’12 (Santa Monica, CA) and tri-captain Rachel Yorke ’11 (Los Angeles, CA) had 13 and 14 digs, respectively, while Kristin Keeno ’13 (Honolulu, HI) had three service aces to round out Amherst’s top performers.

Zaniboni led the team in kills (8) and digs (12), also registering four total blocks. Maddie Breeland ’12 and Krakowiak added five kills apiece, Kelsey Scanlon ’13 had 11 digs, and Erin Moriarty ’13 recorded seven total blocks (3 solo). Juniors Jessica Drumright and Katie Bailey set up the offense with 13 and 11 assists, respectively.

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Friday, Sept. 17, when they travel to Middlebury College to open the NESCAC slate with a 7 p.m. match against the Panthers. The Lions will take on Babson College Thursday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. in their home opener.