Jeffs Drop 3-2 Thriller to Comeback Camels

Contact: Matthew Hart

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AMHERST, Mass. – Lizze Ahern ’16 tallied 22 kills and Nicole Carter ’16 dished out 45 assists but it wasn’t enough as the Amherst College volleyball team dropped a five-set thriller to Connecticut College at LeFrak Gym. After the Jeffs took the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-22, the Camels came roaring back, scoring wins of 25-20, 25-17, and 15-10 for the 3-2 victory.

The setback drops Amherst to 7-5 (3-3 NESCAC), while Conn. College continues its strong season, improving to 14-2 (5-2 NESCAC).

A strong all-around effort from Rachel Schroff ’13 led the way for the Camels, as the senior co-captain recorded a match-high 26 kills to go with 20 digs. Katie Ketcham ’13 set her way to 52 assists and Caroline Martin ’16 was a force on the outside with 19 kills for Conn. College.

Amherst led early in the first set, but a Schroff kill drew the Camels even, 13-13. That’s when Ahern took over play, recording kills on two of the next three Amherst points as the Jeffs never trailed again in the set. The rookie standout hammered kills on the final two points of the period as well, as Amherst took the opener, 25-21.

The Jeffs would need a comeback to take set two, as Conn. College jumped to an 8-4 lead before Amherst head coach Sue Everden rallied her troops with a timeout. After a Lauren Antion ’15 kill and a Camel hitting error tied it at 11, Emily Waterhouse ’13 served up an ace to put the Jeffs on top. The visitors would tie it once more at 16, but Ahern was too much, notching kills on five of Amherst’s final nine points as the Jeffs took a seemingly strong 2-0 lead with the 25-22 triumph.

Set three began with the teams trading 6-0 runs as Conn. College started strong with help from a pair of Amherst errors. But the Jeffs fought back, evening the score at 6-6 on a block from Ahern and Abigail Hunter ’13. It was the Camels who made the decisive next run, however, shifting the match’s momentum with a 7-0 spurt that would carry the visitors to a 25-20 set win.

Conn. College started hot once again in the fourth set, racing to a 7-1 lead on a block from Martin and Andrea Mullaney ’16. But the Jeffs dug deep and chipped away at the deficit, with Antion’s ace eventually evening the score at 13. Amherst couldn’t continue the surge, however, as Martin punctuated a 6-1 Camel run with a kill that put the guests up 19-14 and eventually propelled Conn. College to a 25-17 triumph. The Camels hit a blazing .538 during the set to take control of the contest.

Play was tight to begin the final set, with Ahern’s kill off a Kristin Keeno ’13 assist knotting the score, 4-4. The Camels rattled off the next three points, however, prompting Everden to use another timeout. Things would not improve for the Jeffs, however, as Conn. College scored out of the break then tallied a disputed point around the net after the squads switched sides. Amherst battled, with a back-to-back kill and ace from Antion bringing the Jeffs within two at 10-8. Minutes later, Martin’s kill put the Camels up three at 12-9, but Waterhouse responded with a kill to make it 12-10. That was as close as Amherst would come, however, as the Camels scored the match's final three points, with kills from Cailyn Straubel ’14 and Schroff closing out the Conn. College victory.  

The teams were evenly matched for much of the contest, with both squads posting 12 aces and eight blocks. But it was the Camels who showed greater poise down the stretch, hitting .435 in the match’s final set compared to a .154 mark for Amherst.

Anelise Hohl ’15 notched 10 kills and an impressive .625 hitting percentage for the Camels, while Straubel also reached double figures with 10 kills. Carly Guiducci led the visitors' defensive effort with a match-high 21 digs. Carter was Amherst’s top defender with 17 digs, while Waterhouse posted a match-high five aces for the Jeffs.

Amherst returns to action on Wed. Oct. 10 with a 7 p.m. match at Westfield State University.