Jeffs Open Weekend with Two Wins at Amherst Classic

Mary Reiser '12 hit at a .371 clip with 16 kills in Amherst's two wins.

AMHERST, MA – The host Lord Jeffs opened their weekend Friday night in LeFrak Gymnasium with a pair of wins in day one of the 2010 Amherst College Volleyball Classic. After defeating Brandeis University in straight sets, Amherst earned a 3-1 come-from-behind victory against Westfield State University.  

Amherst—ranked ninth in the most recent New England Women’s Volleyball Association Regional Poll—increased its winning streak to four matches and improved to 7-1 on the season. The Jeffs have defeated Brandeis (8-4)—ranked sixth in the region heading into the weekend—in three consecutive meetings, and are 22-0 against Westfield State (8-6) since 1999.

In the night’s first match, the Judges scored the first three points of the opening set, but a Brandeis service error led to a 6-1 Amherst run. The Jeffs maintained a lead until the visitors broke a 12-12 tie after a long rally, and Brandeis soon held a 17-13 advantage thanks to a four-point spurt. Amherst hit its stride and regained the lead at 20-19 after a service ace by Devin Pence ’14 (Los Angeles, CA), closing out the first set on an 11-3 run for the 25-21 win.

Brandeis controlled the second set before some sluggish play allowed Amherst to creep back into it. The Jeffs were finally able to take the lead at 19-18 and soon closed out the 25-22 win on a kill from Laura Hyman ’11 (Glencoe, IL). The final set was much of the same, with the Judges looking sharp early only to have Amherst pull away down the stretch. The Jeffs led by as many as eight points before closing out the match with a 25-19 result.

Less than an hour later Amherst returned to the court to face Westfield State. Neither team could pull away in the back-and-forth first set, but it was the Owls who struck first with an impressive 26-24 win. The Jeffs had the visitors against the ropes at 24-22, but an un-returnable kill from Rachel Ryan ’11, a service ace by Kayleigh Shea ’14 and a pair of miscues by Amherst gave Westfield State the final four points of the set.

Devin Pence '14 totaled 19 digs on Friday.

After dropping a set to Westfield State for the first time in more than 10 years, Amherst responded by jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the second frame. The Owls scored three consecutive points but were countered by a 12-2 run, calling a timeout after the hosts took a 16-5 lead. Amherst pulled to within a point of victory after outstanding defensive plays by Rachel Yorke ’11 (Los Angeles, CA) and Abigail Hunter ’13 (Kentfield, CA), as the Jeffs came out on the winning end of a 25-14 result.

The Jeffs controlled the third set until some strong serving by Ryan cut Westfield’s deficit to two points at 19-17. A powerful kill by Hunter gave Amherst its 20th point and a much needed spark, as the hosts fended off the Owls’ comeback attempt and hung on for the 25-23 victory after Hyman provided the final point on a clutch kill.

In the fourth set Amherst broke a 14-14 tie by scoring the next seven points, as Mary Reiser ’12 (New York, NY) led the charge with a pair of kills and some strong play at the net. Westfield State was unable to recover, giving the Jeffs the match with a 25-20 finish.  

Callie Nielson ’13 (Escondido, CA) combined for 74 assists on the night to pace the Amherst attack. Yorke led the team in digs in each match, finishing with 13 against Brandeis and 15 against Westfield State. Pence added a total of 19 digs, Hyman had 16 kills and five blocks, and Cristy Meier ’12 (San Anselmo, CA) chipped in with 21 kills and five blocks. Reiser hit at an impressive .371 clip with 16 kills in the two matches.

Amherst has now won 17 of its past 18 matches in the Amherst Classic, with the only setback during that stretch coming last year at the hands of Middlebury. In Friday’s other action, the United States Coast Guard Academy—ranked 11th in New England—improved to 9-3 with a 3-1 win over 10th-ranked Middlebury (7-2), snapping the Panthers’ winning streak at six.

Saturday’s matches will begin at 11 a.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium.