SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Senior outside hitter Alyssa Thorne posted a game-best 18 kills to help Emerson College battle to a 3-2 victory over Mount Holyoke College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Saturday. With the victory – its first as a member of the NEWMAC – the Lions move to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in conference. MHC is now 8-2 and slips to 0-2 in the NEWMAC.
The homestanding Lyons battled back from a deficit in the first set to win by a score of 25-23. Trailing by 6-5 margin, sophomore outside hitter Emma Sweeting (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y./Hastings) laid down back-to-back kills to push MHC ahead, 7-6. A pair of attack errors against Emerson pushed Mount Holyoke to a 9-6 lead, but the visitors mounted a comeback following a timeout.
It remained close in the opening set, neither team leading by more than a point until the late going as a service ace from first year libero Athena Donta (Hadley, Mass./Amherst Regional) and a kill from junior captain Kaleen Iwema (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township) closed things out for the win.
Emerson once again battled back from a deficit in the second set, but took a 13-11 lead following consecutive errors by the Lyons. It was a lead the visitors would not relinquish down the stretch as a pair of kills from junior middle blocker Kat Rice (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) helped make it a 19-14 game. A service ace from Sweeting ended up tying the score at 20-all, but a timely kill from Thorne, who also scored the final point of the set, swung the momentum back for Emerson.
The homestanding Lyons grabbed a 5-3 lead to open the third set, but Emerson would tie it at 9-all on a kill from Thorne. Consecutive kills from senior outside hitter Martina Kneifel (Oro Valley, Ariz./Canyon del Oro) and Iwema quickly pushed the Lyons ahead and the home team capitalized on a number of errors on the visitors to lead 18-13. Kills down the stretch from Kneifel and senior captain Kristina Weld (Warwick, Mass./Pioneer Valley Regional) closed out the set in MHC's favor, 25-18.
Kneifel went on to help Mount Holyoke to a 10-4 lead to get the fourth set going, but the Lions answered as a kill from sophomore outside hitter Kat Westbrook (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Bishop England) cut the deficit to 19-18, followed by a tie game (19-19) after an attacking error by Mount Holyoke.
Momentum shifted to Emerson as several attacking errors by the home Lyons made it a 21-19 advantage for the visitors, who closed out the fourth set (25-22) and forced a deciding game after a kill by first year middle blocker Jules Augustine (Skaneateles, N.Y./Skaneateles).
Emerson made quick work of the match in the final set, aided by four kills from Thorne, who also laid down the final point for the 15-5 win.
Thorne also posted 11 digs for Emerson, which saw both Augustine and Rice add 11 kills each. Senior defensive specialist Jamie Morgan (Maple Glen, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy) had a game-best 18 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Giuli Frendak (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South) had a match-high 45 assists.
For Mount Holyoke, Kneifel finished with 15 kills, while Weld added 11 kills. Sweeting had 10 kills, 10 digs and a game-best three service aces, while Donta and first year setter Natalie Lyon (Oakton, Va./Flint Hill School) had team-highs in digs (14) and assists (25), respectively.
Mount Holyoke returns to action on Tuesday when it travels to MIT for a 7pm conference match. Emerson hosts NEWMAC-rival WPI, also on Tuesday at 7pm.