Courtesy of Amherst Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. – Third-seeded Amherst earned a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-14) victory over sixth-seeded Wesleyan in NESCAC Quarterfinal action at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of top-seeded Tufts Friday evening.
With the win, Amherst improves to 17-8 overall, and advances to the semifinals of the NESCAC Championship for the fourth year in a row. The Purple & White will take on Middlebury (16-8) in semifinal play at 3:30 p.m. Wesleyan finishes its season with a 15-8 overall record.
In the opening set, Amherst jumped out to an early 8-2 lead and extended the advantage to 19-12 on a service ace by Charlotte Duran. An attack error by Wesleyan's Madeleine Lundberg pushed the lead to 23-15. The Cardinals rallied to pull to within five (23-18) on the strength of a kill by Nicole Hilton, and a pair of Purple & White attack errors. Another kill by Hilton, and a mishit by Amherst helped narrow the deficit to 24-20, but a Nicole Gould kill sealed the set one victory as Amherst took a 1-0 lead in the contest.
The second stanza saw Amherst open up an early, 13-6 lead. A kill by Audrey Konow pulled Wesleyan to within four (16-12), but the Purple & White were able to score five of the next eight points to run their lead back to seven at 21-14, capped by a Gould kill. After a service error, Amherst scored three straight as Gould downed a kill and served up an ace, while Annika Reczek added a kill to set the score at 24-15. Maggie Danner closed out the frame with a kill to give Amherst a 2-0 lead in the match.
Amherst once again raced out to a comfortable lead in the third set, notching a 16-7 cushion following a kill by Danner. With a 16-9 lead, a 5-0 run that featured kills by Reczek, Danner and Marialexa Natsis helped the Purple & White earn a 21-9 lead. Wesleyan was able to pull to within 10 three times, with the last coming on a solo block by Gabby Bennett to make it 24-14, before Emily Kolsky completed the sweep with a kill.
- Danner led all hitters with 15 kills and registered a .316 hitting percentage, while Gould followed with 10 kills. Reczek and Natsis added six kills each, while Duran led the Purple & White with 21 assists. Kate Bres followed with 19 helpers.
- Defensively, Hayes Honea turned in 22 digs, while Kelci Keeno chipped in eight kills. Natsis and Reczek added two assisted blocks in the winning effort.
- Wesleyan received seven kills from Hilton, while Swenson and Bennett followed with six and five kills respectively. Kaira Muaoka-Robertson dished out 18 assists, while Olivia Guidotti finished with 15 digs.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Friday's victory over Wesleyan was the second for Amherst over the Cardinals in as many matches. The Purple & White closed out the regular season with a 3-2 win over Wesleyan on Oct. 29 at LeFrak Gymnasium.
- Amherst fell to Middlebury, 3-1 on Oct. 14 in Middlebury, Vt. earlier this season.