SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team used several key rallies and a dominant effort on offense to defeat Westfield State University and UMass-Dartmouth by scores of 3-0 each in tri-match action at Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium on Saturday. The middle match of the day saw Westfield State take a 3-0 victory over UMass-Dartmouth.
With the win, the Lyons move to 8-0 on the season, while the Owls of Westfield State move to 5-4 overall. The Corsairs slip to 1-6 on the year.
Game one saw the Lyons in a tough battle with the Owls right from the start as the visitors jumped out to a 6-2 advantage with senior outside hitter Lindsey Rescott (Northport, N.Y./Northport) recording three of the points. The Lyons tied it at 6-all and it remained a back-and-forth game until late in the set when MHC rallied for five points in a row to take a 23-16 lead. A pair of kills from sophomore outside hitter Emma Sweeting (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y./Hastings) sealed the 25-17 first set win.
Mount Holyoke went on to capture the second set by a 25-22 margin and jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the third set. The Owls came back, tying it at 13-all on an ace by first year outside hitter Kelsey Reilly (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) but the Lyons pulled away late on four straight points, including two straight aces by junior setter Stephany Yang (Glen Allen, Va./Henrico) to go up 21-18. MHC closed out the set for the match win on a kill by senior middle hitter Kristina Weld (Warwick, Mass./Pioneer Valley Regional).
For the match, Westfield State was led by senior outside hitter Julia Warner (Lee, Mass./Lee), who recorded 11 kills and a game-best 13 digs, while junior outside hitter Carolyn Cote (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) had a game-high 26. For the Lyons, junior defensive specialist Kaleen Iwema (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township) had a match-high 14 kills with 10 digs, while Sweeting added 11 kills. First year setter Natalie Lyon (Oakton, Va./Flint Hill School) added 19 assists.
In the middle match, Westfield battled with UMass-Dartmouth to a 25-23 opening set victory. In the second set, it remained tight until the Owls record four points to the Corsairs one to take a 19-15 lead. Westfield State makes it a 23-17 advantage, including a key kill by Warner, but UMass-Dartmouth battles back to make it a three-point game (24-21) with an ace by first year setter Christina Spinazola (Medway, Mass./Medway). The Owls closed out the set with a kill by Warner for the 25-21 win.
The third set saw the Owls dominate, jumping out to an 11-5 advantage. UMass-Dartmouth pulled it to within four (13-9), including two kills from senior outside hitter Kelly Lyons (Bourne, Mass./Mass. Maritime), but it was enough as Westfield State pulled out once again and sealed the match with a 25-15.
Leading the way for Westfield State was Warner, who posted 14 kills and a team-high nine digs. Rescott chipped in with 11 kills, while Cote added a game-best 32 assists. For the Corsairs, sophomore outside hitter Brianna Perry (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) had nine kills and 10 digs, while Spinazola chipped in with 19 assists.
The first set of the days final match between Mount Holyoke and UMass-Dartmouth saw the Lyons down 19-13, but they battled back to tie it at 21-all. After taking a 23-22 lead on an ace by Iwema, MHC closed it out for a 25-23 win.
The second set saw MHC take charge, going up 11-5 to get things going. Another kill from Iwema pushed it to 15-6, but UMass-Dartmouth battled back, taking advantage of a Martina Kneifel (Oro Valley, Ariz./Canyon del Oro) error to pull to within 23-20. Mount Holyoke held strong and went on to win it 25-21. The teams opened the third set with a very back-and-forth effort, but the Lyons pulled away and made it 13-10 on a kill from Sweeting.
Mount Holyoke made it a 20-15 score on a kill from Weld and despite UMD pulling to within two (21-19), the Lyons were able to rattle off four straight points, including two aces from first year libero Athena Donta (Hadley, Mass./Amherst Regional) for the victory.
Sweeting posted 10 kills to lead the Lyons effort, while Iwema added 16 digs and five aces. Kneifel chipped in with eight kills and 10 digs and Yang added 17 assists and 12 digs. For UMass-Dartmouth, junior middle hitter Madison Shea (Millis, Mass./Millis) had seven kills, while Spinazola added 22 assists and 16 digs. Sophomore middle hitter Eliza Bowes (West Yarmouth, Mass./Dennis Yarmouth) posted a game-best six aces and sophomore libero Carina Filosa (Milford, Mass./Milford) had a match-high 20 digs.
Mount Holyoke opens its NEWMAC schedule on Tuesday, when it hosts Babson College for a match beginning at 7:00 p.m. UMass-Dartmouth returns to play on Thursday when it hosts Bridgewater State at 7:00pm. Westfield State will also face Bridgewater State, hosting their MASCAC-rival on Tuesday at 7:00pm.